Awards and citations:

1997: Le Prix du Champagne Lanson Noble Cuvée Award for investigations into Champagne for the Millennium investment scams

2001: Le Prix Champagne Lanson Ivory Award for

2011: Vindic d'Or MMXI – 'Meilleur blog anti-1855'

2011: Robert M. Parker, Jnr: ‘This blogger...’:

2012: Born Digital Wine Awards: No Pay No Jay – best investigative wine story

2012: International Wine Challenge – Personality of the Year Award

Monday, 26 November 2018

Montrichard: Festival des vins de Touraine - how was it?

Lionel Gosseaume, vice-president of l’ODG Touraine
'OGD: organisation de gestion et de défense de' 

For 33 years Montrichard, a small town in the Cher Valley, hosted a Touraine Primeur (Gamay) celebration every November when the new wine was released. Unfortunately I never caught one of these events as for some reason I am never in Touraine in mid-November. This June is was announced that this event would not be run this year. Instead there would be a new event at Montrichard involving wine and food with the focus on the range of Touraine wines rather than just Gamay Primeur.  

From La Nouvelle République  (2nd June 2018)
La manifestation montrichardaise ne sera pas reconduite. Tout au moins pas sous la même forme. Une aventure trentenaire s’achève. Non sans regrets.

Some local mayor were sad to see a popular event go after 33 years. However, as Lionel Gosseaume explains below in another article in La Nouvelle République, Touraijne Gamay Primeur was no longer enhancing the reputation of the wines of Touraine. Its sales only represent 0.4% of the appellation's production. It has become an ultra-marginal product, so continuing to spend 10% of Appellation Touraine's promotional budget on the annual two-day Touraine doesn't make any sense.  

Explanation by Lionel Gosseaume in the NR: 21.11.18 
Décider de ne plus communiquer sur le touraine primeur n’a jamais autant fait parler du touraine primeur ! Le paradoxe fait sourire Lionel Gosseaume, mais pour le vigneron de Choussy, responsable de la stratégie de communication de l’AOC touraine, il n’y a aucune ambiguïté. « Le touraine primeur est devenu une production ultra-marginale, à peine 0,4 % de la production, et on mettait près de 10 % de notre budget dessus. En début d’année, le nouveau conseil d’administration a voté à une très large majorité l’abandon de cette action, pour s’engager dans une nouvelle stratégie de valorisation de toute l’appellation touraine. »
Instead Appellation Touraine decided to hold last weekend their first Festival des Vins de Touraine in Montrichard. It featured 35 local Touraine producers included a number of top Touraine vignerons as well as a top chef Rémy Giraud, chef de cuisine des Hauts de Loire à Onzain to head up their food offer.

35 Vignerons who showed their wines:
Cave des Producteurs de Montlouis-sur-Loire
Divin Loire
Domaine Château de Fontenay
Domaine de la Chaise
Domaine de la Chapinière
Domaine de Marcé
Domaine des Caillots
Domaine des Chezelles
Domaine des Echardières
Domaine des Pierrettes
Domaine Desroches
Domaine du Clos Roussely
Domaine du Colombier
Domaine Jean-Christophe Mandard

Domaine Jean-Marie Penet
Domaine Jeremy Villemaine
Domaine Joël Delaunay
Domaine Josselin Ragot
Domaine Laurent Le Bihan
Domaine les Vaucorneilles
Domaine Lionel Gosseaume
Domaine Mérieau
Domaine Mesliand
Domaine Raphaël Midoir
Domaine Sauvète
Domaine Xavier Frissant
Le Cellier de Beaujardin
Les Caves du Père Auguste
Les Pierres d’Aurèle
Les Vignerons des Côteaux Romanais
Manoir de la Vignière
Was the Festival a success? As I wasn't there I will rely on a Scottish couple, who live a good part of the year near to Montrichard, for their view on the first edition of this new festival. My grateful thanks to them: 

Photo by Martha and David McCorkindale
'Happy to give our impressions of the Festival des Vins which took place at the weekend in Montrichard.

Saturday turned into a bright sunny day, so we decided to go into Montrichard mid-afternoon - the guingette with live music was under way at the place next to the Mairie, under a large clear tent, with a dance floor.  They had a selection of different kinds of music, all good, but not many people there. This was also the case in rue Porte aux Rois and the caves under the donjon where the vignerons had their stalls (I attach a photo taken late Saturday afternoon).  There was an opportunity to collect any wine bought round the corner off place General du Gaulle, which meant the exhibitors didn't have to keep their stock beside their stalls. As usual the vignerons were happy to talk about their wines and it was a great opportunity to sample local produce.  We passed l'hotel Effiat where again there were ateliers culinaires (including ones for children) with samples of produits du terroir and experts happy to share their knowledge.

We thought it was a very well organised event, but disappointing that so few people appeared to be there (at least while we were there).  Unfortunately yesterday was dull and very wet, hope that word had got round and numbers had increased.

If you have been to any of the Montrichard Touraine Primeur events in previous years (33 in total apparently), you'll know that it was difficult to move through the streets because of the large number of people. Not sure if the reduction in attendance is because it's a new/separate event, with different organisers.  The link to an article in the local paper possibly gives an explanation as to the reason:

This is a report from La Nouvelle Republique on the inauguration of the event on Saturday morning, which appears to have been better attended:

We hope the event will continue to be held in future years, in whatever format, because it really does give local producers an opportunity to market their wines and food to a wider audience, and for a relatively small town, Montrichard is really excellent at hosting external events throughout the year.'
Any new event is likely to take time to establish itself. Hopefully, if there is a second edition there will be more publicity prior to the event. I was unaware that it was happening until the day before the event. Is late November the best time? There are lots of other competing wine events on at this time? Would it be worth considering another season when there are more visitors in Montrichard?

The Cher@ Montrichard

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