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

Wednesday, 18 March 2020

Michael Broadbent MW: 2.5.1927-17.3. 2020

Michael RIP

Michael Broadbent MW, who was a major influence on the development of the fine wine trade, died yesterday at 92. My thoughts are with his family and many friends.


Michael with Dorothy, his first wife who died in 2015, and Luca Paschina
(winemaker @ Barboursville, Virginia). December 2011
Michael remarried last year at the age of 91.
on 25 April 2019, in London, he married Valerie Smallwood, widow of Simon Smallwood, MW.

Tuesday, 17 March 2020

A few notices relating to the lockdown in Indre-et-Loire

From midday today France has been in lockdown. You have to have good reason to leave your home – essential shopping, medical assistance, exercise  etc. You have to carry a self-signed document explaining why you have left your home temporarily.

Cycling for exercise but not as an organised group is one permissible activity. This afternoon I went for a ride both for exercise and to see what was open in Bléré, our nearest significant town in Indre-et-Loire. The roads were incredibly quiet, so cycling was even more of a pleasure than normal in comparison to London. Bléré was close to being a ghost town.

Notice @L'Empad (home for the elderly in Bléré) banning visitors 

Quite a large range of shops can be open – including garden centres.
Here Vive Le Jardin but limiting the number of 
people in the store to 15 at anyone time.
This morning the Intermarche were limiting the number 
of people allowed in.  

 Announcement: Château de Chenonceau 
closed – a rare occurence!

Closing cafés and restaurants undoubtedly 
causes them cash flow problems
especially those like the Le Relais de Francueil
that has just changed ownership.
Fortunately they can still offer takeaways
Details on  

Monday, 16 March 2020

A creative response to Covid-19 + 1992 M de Marionnet

Prowein cancelled
Prowein 2020 was initially postponed but has now been cancelled
The next edition will be in March 2021

Covid-19 or Coronavirus has brought chaos to the wine world with the cancellation of Prowein, Les Grands Jours de Bourgogne, RAW London along with the postponement of Vinitaly (now 14th-17th June – will it happen?) and Bordeaux's en primeur week (30th March - 2nd April). For the moment the London Wine Fair (18th-20th May) is still going ahead but this looks increasingly unlikely with a number of European countries closing their borders along with limits on the number of people who can gather together. 

In the absence of Prowein Adegga, the Portuguese company that organises consumer wine events and  other activities, has set up a live streamed two-day virtual trade event called Portugal Wine Week  on Monday 16th and Tuesday 17th March.

"In the aftermath of Prowein’s cancellation, we’re doing a live streamed two-day virtual trade event to help Portuguese wine producers present the wines they were going to bring to the international trade fair.

Aimed at you, the trade from around the world (importers, sommeliers, retailers, etc), the digital event consists of a series of interviews with dozens of wine producers, hosted by André Ribeirinho as a Portuguese wine correspondent and including some guest speakers."

Portugal Wine Week (on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook) is free to both producers and wine professionals. Registration is now open.

I continue to be impressed by the creativity and inventiveness of the trio that run Adegga. Portugal Week is such an example of thinking creatively and realising the positive possibilities of social media and the internet.

Yes the spread of Covid-19/coronavirus is a crisis but it is also presents an opportunity and incentive think differently and to look for and find alternative solutions.

I hope Portugal Week will be a success and will assist Portuguese producers, who will have missed out on the potential opportunities that Prowein 2020 would have offered.


Article by Richard Siddle on Portugal Wine Week in The Buyer.

Update: 16th March 2020
List here of the Portuguese producers involved.

Saúde !!

For the sake of transparency I am good friends with the three people who run Adegga – André Cid, André Ribeirinho and Daniel Matos – and have attended their Adegga Wine Market events without charge. Adegga has not requested that I write this post nor are they aware of this post. I have no commercial interest in Adegga.


M de Marionnet 1992
1992 M de Marionnet, AC Touraine 

Having cancelled my place at the Concours Mondial de Sauvignon Blanc, which was held in Blois in the latter part of last week, on Saturday night we tried an old bottle of Henry Marionnet's latish harvest M de Marionnet. 1992 was not a particularly auspicious vintage – large volume due to many vines having a year off due to the 1991 April frost and probably a number of producers not pruning hard in order to compensate for their losses the previous year. So I thought the 1992 might make an interesting apéro as we had friends coming to dinner.

As it happened Marionnet's 1992 had held up well with citric and honeyed aromas, good concentration of ripe fruit and some sweetness on the palate but with enough acidity in the finish to carry the richness off. We tried it again with the cheese by which time it had developed a slight mustiness, so the bottle wasn't finished. However, when we finished it on Sunday the slight mustiness had departed leaving a clean and enjoyable wine.

Nearly 28 years on, a demonstration that Loire Sauvignon Blanc has the potential to age – admittedly in this case from a later than customary harvest.

EU Flag


Sunday, 15 March 2020

Epeigné-les-Bois – results of 1st round of les élections municipales

Here are the results of the 1st Round of the municipal elections for Epeigné-les-Bois (Indre-et-Loire) held on Sunday 15th March 2020. 

It is clear that the list (highlighted in Yellow) headed by a trio – Jean Candiago, Dominique Hisbergue and Michèle Prieur – are the clear winners with ten candidates from their list elected on this first round. Six women and four men were elected to the Conseil on the 1st Round. 

No candidate from the list (highlighted in green) was elected on this 1st Round. 

There remains one more place on the Conseil, which will be decided on the 2nd Round to be held next Sunday 22nd March.

Listes des candidats

Jean-Marie THIREAU 44.21% Non  

Fabienne SOMMÉRIA 61.58% élue

Odeh RISHMAWI 40% Non

Michèle PRIEUR 53.68% élue

Aurore NIBAUDEAU 43.68 Non

Stéphanie MAGHISSENE 62.11% élue

Daniel LAUMONNIER (Maire-Adjoint)    45.26% Non

Julien LAMBERT  47.89% Non

Dominique HISBERGUE  49.47% Non

Ludovic GUILLON   49.47% Non

Fabrice FOUANON 41.05% Non

Viviane FÈVE  55.79% élue

Claire DUPRÉ 65.79% élue

Frédéric CHEVALIER 69.67% élu

Michel CARATY 61.05% élu

Jean CANDIAGO 63.68% élu

Amélie BORGNIET Conseiller  46.32%  Non

Amélie BOGUET 56.84% élue


Daniel LAUMONNIER (Mairie-Adjoint) and Amélie BORGNIET (Conseiller) were on the outgoing council. 

See my previous post on these elections.  

Results on the Internaute site. 

Update: 16.3.20
President Macron is due to address France this evening at 8pm (7pm UK time). It is expected that he will announce further restrictions – perhaps a virtual lock down. It looks increasingly unlikely that the 2nd Tour due on Sunday 22nd will be held. What happens to the elections including last night's results is unknown.  





Tuesday, 10 March 2020

Harrowing times @ Little Bedwyn

21 Years
On most occasions it is sad to say Goodbye and this is certainly the case with the closure on Saturday 28th March of the Michelin starred The Harrow restaurant in Little Bedwyn. The Harrow has been one of the UK's most exciting restaurants – great food and service and a remarkable wine list. After 21 great years Roger and Sue Jones will be moving on to new projects. Understandable that after 21 years it makes sense to turn the page, while you are still on top of your game but it is still of course a big loss.

With so many good memories we naturally had to go one last time and managed to secure a table for three last Friday (28th February) for lunch. An occasion to go the whole hog, so we went for the top menu @£85 for eight courses and selected two fine wines to form a partnership.

2018 The F*****g Marvellous Chenin, Ken Forrester
Ripe and finely concentrated
a top South African Chenin


Fine bread with delicate tasty hummus

Foie Gras and Salted Caramel Macaron

Cured Kinglas Salmon, Wasabi Pearls, Crème Fraiche

Welsh Beef Tartare, Indian Spices

Shrimp Burger, Foie Gras, Black Pudding, 1927 PX Caramel– an amazing dish(not yet available thru Burger King.....)

2015 Kupe Single Vineyard Pinot Noir, Martinborough
by Escarpment. Larry McKenna 


Having finished Ken's FMC it was time to move onto Larry McKenna's lovely, complex and delicious NZ Pinot Noir from the southernmost part of North Island New Zealand. As Sue Jones said 'a classic NZ Pinot Noir'. 

Wild Orkney Skrei Cod, Champagne Beurre Blanc, Spinach


Guineafowl Ravioli, White and Black Truffles, Artichoke

Optional dish: Five British cheeses

Harrow's signature dessert dish:
soft meringue with mango sauce

Raspberry soufflé

All in all worth every penny!!

EU Flag

Still European and hoping for
EU Associate Citizenship – svp M. Michel Barnier !! 

Saturday, 7 March 2020

La vignoble d'Epeigné-les-Bois: la taille et la mise en bouteille: 7.3.2020

Epeigné's community vineyard

Last April some 150 vines were planted on the coteau that overlooks the Route du Coteau on the D81 between the centre of Epeigné and the hamlet of Les Bergers. Today the vines were pruned for the first time under the watchful eyes of  Vincent Beaumont, the winemaker, and Lionel Truet of La Grande Foucaudière. A further 150 vines, which have already been ordered, will be planted later in the Spring. The plan is to plant a further 150 vines in 2021.

At the same time Epeigné's 2019 Sauvignon Blanc was racked and then bottled. These grapes from Jean-Marie's Domaine des Champs Gonneau by a community team last September and vinified by Vincent at Le Moulin du Bourg in Epeigné-les-Bois.   


The professionals gather early on Saturday morning

La pause café avant commencer

Vincent, Epeigné's stellar wine consultant (centre), 
outlines the day's programme....
No need to employ Michel Rolland!!

The 2020 recolte awaiting racking and la mise en bouteille 

Lionel Truet keeping a watchful eye on proceedings 

Cleaning the new bag-in-box before racking

Adding a small dose of SO2 before racking

Racking underway
(above and below)

 La taille
 (above and below)

Epeigné's chef de culture....

The bottling line

A corking wine!

Some of the bottled 2019 Sauvignon Blanc

A spectator sport! 

Such is the fame of Epeigné's wine that
it attracts visitors from Columbia.....!! 

(above and below)

A highly trained nose.....
un nez ideal pour la dégustation.... 

Vincent with two fans.....

Notre 2019 Sauvignon Blanc – Santé !!