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, 1 July 2015

1855 (aka Heracles) under French fraud investigation

Le Parisien devotes a full page today 
to these 'crooks' – Chalon and Hyon

Le Parisien is reporting that and fraudsters Emeric Sauty de Chalon and Fabien Hyon may finally be facing French justice with the Paris Public Prosecution looking into how Chalon and Hyon ran companies that owed 40M€, had 11,000 disappointed clients and failed to deliver a large percentage of the wines its clients ordered.  

Philippe Blanchetier, lawyer for 1855's management, 'the accusations of fraud are entirely wrong, that they were victims of the Bordeaux establishment who disapproved of 1855's approach and set out to undermine the company. Chalon and Hyon are now penniless.'

Is the English translation of 'Blanchetier' perhaps whitewash?    

Decidedly good news, although very belated, if Le Parisien is correct.

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Farewell Alastair Mackenzie: teacher and wine writer

I am very sorry to learn that wine writer and long-time member of the Circle of Wine Writers, Alastair Mackenzie, died last night. He had been suffering from Parkinson’s Disease for some time.

He was a teacher by profession and taught English and Latin for many years at St Paul’s, an independent school beside the Thames in Barnes (London). Alastair wrote his first article on wine in 1970 and passed the Wine and Spirit Education Trust's Diploma Examination, with honours, in 1974.

Although until he retired wine writing was a part-time activity, Alastair nevertheless produced an impressive body of work. With fellow Circle member, Jeffrey Benson, he wrote two books: Sauternes: A study of the great sweet wines of Bordeaux (1984) and The Wines of Saint-Emilion and Pomerol (1979). Alastair’s Daumas Gassac: The Birth of a Grand Cru appeared in 1995.

A CWW Honorary Life Member, Alastair was a very keen supporter of the Circle. He served on the Committee and was a frequent attender at our AGMs, tastings and dinners. Alastair had a great and scholarly interest in wine without in anyway being stuffy.  

My sincere condolences to Alastair’s wife and family. 

Alastair with Freddy Price (2006)

Monday, 29 June 2015

Farewell Pierrot Brinet – one of Epeigné's great characters

 Pierrot@the 8th May 2011 parade to  
commemorate the end of the 2nd World War

Very sad and sorry to hear that Pierrot Brinet, one of Epeigné-les-Bois' great characters, died suddenly yesterday morning. Pierrot had a great zest for life and sense of fun. He was a keen fisherman – often down at our lake and always ready with a warm and cheery greeting. He will be greatly missed. Our sincere condolences to Pierrot's family. 

I remember when the village had a band – sadly now long gone – he played the cymbals. It was clear that his contributions were strictly rationed. He and his fellow player were only allowed to join in on one or two tunes during a concert!    

 Pierrot@the 8th May 2011 parade to  
commemorate the end of the 2nd World War

Pierrot at the Répas des anciens: October 2014 

Sunday, 28 June 2015

European Terroir Wine Festival: Belém – Friday 3rd/ Saturday 4th July

Vinho ao Vivo

Report from a warm Lisbon evening:
Hardly had I settled in early this afternoon than I had a message from Pedro Marques - Vale da Capucha inviting me to the sixth edition of Vinho ao Vivo on this coming Friday and Saturday – 3rd and 4th July. This wine festival is held at the Restaurant Á Margem, Belém, Lisbon. This restaurant, right on the Tagus, is between the memorial to Vasco da Gama and the delightful, bijou Torre de Belém. It should be a stunning occasion with wine and music as the forecast is good but not too hot. Any #winelovers coming for the Adegga fair on Saturday, Vinho ao Vivo allows you to get a double dose of tasting in!

I have to confess that this is the first I have heard of this festival but am looking forward to going on Friday as Saturday will be reserved for the Summer edition of the Adegga wine fair in the centre of Lisbon.  

Further details from Pedro Marques below + more background here.

European Terroir Wine Festival:

40 wine european wine producers

July 3rd and 4th, 2015 from 19h00 to 24h00

Restaurant Á Margem, Belém, Lisbon 

Vinho ao Vivo is back, with a high concentration of authentic European wine producers. Wine meets music along the Tagus riverbanks: a major event in celebration of genuine wine!

During this 6th edition of the European Terroir Wine Festival, we will bring together 40​ independent producers from Portugal, Spain, France, Italy and Austria, who will make you discover their goliardic wines. Wines with tipicity, audacity, perfection. The event will take place in the stunning outdoor setting of the river Tagus, in “À Margem” located in Belém. Jazz, classic and world music will be part of the event. The wines tasted will be for sale at the event, and can be delivered at your home in Lisbon.

An exceptional and unique selection of authentic wines to taste and purchase.​

Videos of previous editions:

Participating producers (this may change):
Adega Reg. de Colares / Viúva Gomes (Colares)
Vale da Capucha (Lisboa)
Quinta da Serradinha (Lisboa, Leiria)
Humus (Lisboa, Óbidos)
Quinta do Mouro (Alentejo)
Bageiras (Bairrada)
Campolargo-Tiago Teles (Bairrada)
Caves São João (Bairrada)
Quinta da Boavista (Dão)
Quinta da Pellada (Dão)
Lagar da Darei (Dão)
Aphros (Vinho Verde)
Dorado (Minho)
Mateus Nicolau de Almeida (Douro)
Quinta do Infantado (Douro)
Quinta do Romeu (Douro)
Rita Ferreira, Conceito (Douro)
Vale de Pios (Douro)
Val da Figueira (Douro)
Fraga Alta (Douro)

Rinaldi (Piemonte, Barolo)
Roagna (Piemonte, Barbaresco / Barolo)
Cantina Giardino (Campania) 
Bera (Piemonte)
Fattorie Romeo del Castello (Sicilia)

Domaine Labet (Jura)
La Pépière (Loire, Muscadet)
Eric Texier (Rhône)
Domaine La Cadette (Bourgogne)
Tribouley (Roussillon)
Domaine Chamonard (Morgon)
Meyer-Fonné (Alsace)
Eric Bordelet (Normandie, Poiré)
Clos des Grillons (Rhône)


JL Mateo/ Quinta da Muradella (Galiza/Monterrei)
Alberto Nanclares (Rias Baixas)

Everything you need to know:
How is it going to happen? Each participant will receive a glass to taste the wines offered by each producer.

When? July 3 an​d​ 4 (Friday and Saturday) from 7pm to 12pm.
Where? In Belém, Lisbon, in À Margem an esplanade by the river Tagus, in an outdoor setting. 

How much will it cost? 20 euros a day, 30€ for two days. Until the 23rd of June, 25% reduction.

Why two days? Tasting 200 wines takes a few hours. The live concerts on Friday and on Saturday are different.

What's included? The tasting of 200 (excellent) wines and live music.

Will there be food? Yes. À Margem will provide a special menu with different options from the light informal to more traditional sitting down meals. And also live cooking!

Can I buy any of the wines? Yes. Each participant will receive a list of the wine prices and, when leaving, arrangements can be made for ordering and delivering according to your wishes. Free delivery orders over 50 euros in Lisbon. Special requests will be considered on a case by case basis. 

Where can I get a ticket?

1 - On-line at Tickets on-line or Facebook Is Goliardos

2 - At À Margem, before or on the day of the event ( 

Sílvia Mourão Bastos: (+) 351 96 888 15 30 
FACEBOOK : vinhoaovivo
Twitter: Vinhoaovivofest
Nadir Bensmail: (+) 351 96 20 22 24 2'

Not forgetting the Adegga Wine Market on Saturday: