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

Friday, 25 July 2014

2014 Tour de France: Ramunas Navardauskas' fine solo win in rain

Ramunas Navardauskas and his Garmin Sharp team earned a finely crafted victory in Bergerac this afternoon. Navardauskas attacked on the Côte de Monbazillac catching his team mate Tom Slagter, the only survivor from the day's break. The Lithuanian time trial champion then sped away opening a gap on his chasers of around 20-25 seconds.

The race was run in foul conditions – heavy rain and plenty of standing water on the roads. This gave Navardauskas an advantage over his chasers in the difficult, technical finish – as it easier to negotiate wet corners alone than with a group. His cause was further assisted by a crash in the front of the peloton inside the last three kilometres, which took out a number of riders including Peter Sagan who looked to have targetted this stage as one he could win. 

On the line Navardauskas managed to hold off the small group of chasers led by John Degenkolb, Alexander Kristoff and Mark Renshaw by seven seconds for his first individual Tour de France stage win. Navardauskas already had a Team Time Trial stage win with Garmin in 2011 – see amended overall list of stage winners. He also won a stage in the 2013 Giro.     

Although the crash delayed some riders by a good number of minutes, there was no change overall as the crash happened within the last 3 kilometres of the stage, so all the riders, except Navardauskas, were given the same time for this stage. Fortunately the forecast tomorrow is dry and sunny, so hopefully everyone will have an equal chance in the time trial, which will indeed be the race of truth for those with ambitions for the podium.       

Loire: two September dates for your diary – Vignes, Vins, Randos + Festivini

Les samedi 6 et dimanche 7 septembre 2014
Vignes, Vins, Randos, 11e édition,

Rentrée festive : randonnez et dégustez au milieu des vignes
Événement incontournable de l’oenotourisme en Val de Loire, “Vignes, Vins, Randos” ont 15 randonnées vigneronnes hautes en couleur ! 

Les appellations du Val de Loire se mobilisent pour vous faire découvrir leur terroir sur fond de paysages inscrits au patrimoine mondial de l’humanité par l’Unesco et de bonheurs partagés. 

Château de Saumur

Festivini, le festival du vin – 5e édition
Du 6 au 14 septembre 2014 à Saumur

Culture du vin et gourmandise :  l’événement phare en région pays de la Loire
Du 6 au 14 septembre, le vin fait son festival à Saumur avec Festivini.

Chaque jour, un événement aborde le vin et sa culture sous toutes ses facettes (gastronomie, cinéma, sport, musique, dégustations et débats...). 

Un programme qui fait la part belle au goût et à la convivialité pour (re)découvrir les vins du Val de Loire au départ du saumurois.

Details here.

2014 Tour de France: Stage 19 bunch sprint in Bergerac?

Stage 19: Maubourguet to Bergerac 208.5 kms

After three days in the Pyrénées this stage that takes the riders north to Bergerac will seem pan flat to the riders. Actaully the middle section is very flat but the start and the finish are more undulating. Just 10 kilometres from the finish there is a Cat 4 climb (1.3km@7%) – the Côte de Monbazillac – preceded by a few lumps. Although it is likely that this stage will finish in a bunch sprint the lumpy finish may knock out some of the sprinters like Marcel Kittel. The other possibility is that a breakaway manages to stay away. Today it will be down to the sprinters to control the break, while the rest of the peloton looks for a quiet day unless one of the GC contenders has a problem at the end, when it could get frantic as every second counts in the fight for a podium place. 

Weatherwise it is unlikely to be a quiet day as storms with the possibility of hail are forecast for this afternoon with an warning (vigilance orange) in place. 

Vines are a theme today as the race passes through the Armagnac region, Buzet and finishes at Bergerac having climbed up to Monbazillac.  

See detailed review of Stage here.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Domaine FL move from Bordeaux to Burgundy appointing Kyriakos Kynigopoulos

Julien Fournier (i/c Domaine FL)@Millésime Bio January 2013

Domaine FL, based in Rochefort sur Loire, has just announced that it has changed its consultant: ceasing to work with Bordeaux based Stéphane Derencourt and instead will be working with Kyriakos Kynigopoulos of Burgundia Oenologie, which is based in Burgundy's Beaune. The estate will be starting its conversion to biodynamics next year. 

FL's new winery above Rochefort early October 2009
showing the typical October weather of that vintage