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, 23 April 2014

Two diary dates: Portes Ouvertes – P et B. Couly 3.5.14 + Paire family 11.5.14

Bertrand Couly

Pierre and Bertrand Couly (Chinon): Portes Ouvertes Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th May 9am-6pm. Where: 1 Rond Point des Closeaux, 37500 Chinon, Centre, France

 The winery of Pierre and Bertrand Couly: a brave statement 
or decidedly garish depending on your point of view 
– either way not easily missed!


Sunday 11th May – Paire family (Denise, Georges et Romain: Domaine des Pothiers (Côte Roannaise) starting at 15.00h

Plus assorted friends:

Domaine Coquelicot (Bergerac): Cécile et Grégoire Rousseau
Domaine Yannick Amirault (Bourgueil and Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil): Benoît Amirault
Mas Del Périé (Cahors): Fabien Jouves
Domaine Luneau-Papin (Muscadet Sèvre-et-Maine): Marie et Pierre Marie Luneau
Domaine des Marnes Blanches (Jura): Gérard Froment
Clos Saint Fiacre (Orléans): Bénédict et Hubert Piel
Domaine François Crochet (Sancerre): Carine et François Crochet
Domaine Saint Nicolas (Fiefs Vendéens): Thierry Michon
Les Arabesques (Roussillon): Saska Van der Horst
Château Canon Saint Michel (Fronsac): Christine et Jean-Yves Millaire


Romain Paire

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Hervé and Patricia Menard: 2010 Bourgueil

2010 La Vigne aux Alouettes, Bourgueil 

The first Saturday in April we stopped off mid-afternoon at Patricia and Hervé's Domaine Ménard, where they were having their Portes Ouvertes. The programme had promised a horse drawn ploughing demonstration but with the very real threat of frost due to the very early bud-break this had been cancelled. 

I had first tasted Domaine Ménard's wines at the Fête des Vins de Bourgueil at Tours in March and had been impressed, so was keen to go back and try them again. There were nine wines to try – of those still on sale I particularly liked the ripe and textured 2010 La Vigne aux Alouettes but with good balancing acidity. Not flashly but an honest, good drink and not expensive@7.40€ a bottle. Sadly it is probably all now sold out as Hervé said they were down to their last few cases. The 2013 Alouettes was also attractive with nicely soft tannins for the vintage. The 2012 also had good texture, though with some bitterness in the finish, while the 2011 was more angular and less impressive. The 2011 Grand Clos had good concentration but quite grainy tannins in the finish. 

Hervé Menard explained that they had started to convert to organic viticulture in 2006 and had been associated with Christophe Chasle before Chasle sold off his vineyards including seven hectares in Saint-Patrice to Xavier Courant. Finding himself with 2.5 hectares Hervé soon concluded that the only economic way to cultivate his vineyards was to use a horse as a tractor with the necessary equipment just wasn't viable. "I'm the only person in Bourgueil who works with a horse in my vines." he claims.

The Ménard's wines ought to be stocked at the Café de la Promenade as Ludo Ragot is a fan but apparently Hervé hasn't got round to delivering them yet... Hopefully he will have done in the next time I go to the Promenade!    

Hervé Ménard


Monday, 21 April 2014

Misty London City: 21.4.2014

Early morning: the towers of a misty City of London 
after yesterday's rain

Sunday, 20 April 2014

VinaViva 2014: some photos from April 5th tasting

Two of the organisers 

VinaViva is an annual tasting put on by an organisation at Saint-Etienne de Chigny, a village on the north bank of the Loire between Tours and Langeais.
 Putting theory into practice

 Brendan Tracey (Vendômois): "Of course I'm a big fan of the Ramones!"

Claude Aupetitgendre: Montlouis and Touraine

Géraldine Pialoux from the Roannaise

Marie Thibault-Cabrit: Azay-le-Rideau

 Matthieu Coste: Coteaux du Giennoise (above and below)

 Pascal Pibaleau: Azay-le-Rideau

Vincent Chauvelot: Châteaumeillant

The 2015 edition of VinaViva will be on 28th and 29th March 2015.