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

Saturday, 3 October 2015

#2015Loire – Clos Chossay, Epeigné-les-Bois 'Grand Cru' Vin de France

The elite team of pickers head to the vines.
The weather was still a little damp
but rain had stopped sometime earlier
so the helicopters to dry the fruit
were stood down
Netting to protect the best of the grapes from predatory birds

Le Patron gives his instructions 

Treasured grapes lovingly harvested  

Colour co-ordinated expertise....

Lifting the netting 
Checking grape maturity
Completely focused vendangeurs 

Pickers motors parked on road outside

#2015Loire – Saumur-Champigny 30th September (part 2) inc 'Factory Frères Foucault'

Thierry Germain, Domaine des Roches Neuves, 
tasting 2015 Saumur 
(above and below) 

After dropping in on Domaine Filliatreau (see here) we headed to Varrains to see Thierry Germain and Michel Chevre at Domaine des Roches Neuves. Thierry: We started on the reds last Thursday – 12.6˚ potential and 5.5-5.6 acidity. The grapes we picked this morning were at 13.4˚. The fruit is well balanced and I want to avoid high alcohols. We still have 50% of the white to pick but I expect we will finish by next Tuesday."  

2015 Cabernet Franc macerating

Sorting table@Roches Neuves 

Michel Chevre looks on 

The now almost obligatory amphore
 Domaine Frères Foucault

The Frères Foucault's new winery at Chacé – a disused factory building on the edge of Varrains and Chacé. There was no-one there when we passed. Later Antoine Sanzay told me that the Foucaults were due to start tomorrow (Thursday). Although the new premises may lack some of the charm of their old cellars the new premises will doubtless be much more practical and easy to work in. Apparently everything inside is by gravity feed.

In Italy, Spain or Chile a producer with the fame and high reputation of Charly and Nady would build a modern day cathedral to the ego. Instead they have opted for something more modest, which is entirely in keeping!

Entrance to the chai


Antoine Sanzay (right) at work by his sorting table

After seeing the exterior of the Foucault's new winery our last visit of the day was to Antoine Sanzay (Varrains). Antoine:  'Initially I thought we would be picking our Cabernet Franc much earlier than last year. However, that is not the way it has turned out. Last year we started on 4th September – this year the 30th September, so only slightly earlier. We picked some of the Chenin Blanc last Wednesday and Thursday."  

Prior to Antoine Sanzay I had stopped by at the Le Petit Saint Vincent (12ha) Dominique Joseph (known as Pelo). Pelo: "We started the Cabernet at the beginning of this week. Our Chenin is coming in at 12.5˚, while the Cabernet ranges from 12.6˚ to 13.2˚ and the acidity from 3.6 to 4.2. I expect with our team of 24 pickers we will finish at the beginning of next week."      

Friday, 2 October 2015

#2015Loire – Vin de France de Jacky Blot dans le terroir de Vouvray

Jacky Blot, Domaine de la Taille aux Loups 
(photo: CRM) 

Is this good enough for Vin de France or 
should it be declassified to appellation? 
(photo: CRM) 

Yesterday morning we were across in Noizay to see Jacky Blot (Domaine de la Taille aux Loups) do a selective picking of the Clos de la Bretonnière. On the Premières Côtes and classified within the Appellation but because of the insanity of the 2009 Vouvray decrét this will have to be, for the moment, sold as Vin de France since it makes no economic sense for Jacky to build a winery in AC Vouvray.

For details of this absurd and petty situation click here. A continuation of the long-standing conflict between Vouvray and Montlouis! 

About two months ago Jacky sent a letter detailing the background to this dispute to the director of the INAO. I understand that Jacky hasn't even had an acknowledgement. Perhaps the director is stumped for something to say!!
It seems highly likely that this interdiction to vinifying Vouvray in the neighbouring commune of Vouvray will be resolved either way by Jacky Blot and François Chidaine challenging the 2009 decrét before the Conseil d'Etat. Where given the law and the unlimited permission the INAO granted to Jacky Blot in 1999 to vinify his Vouvray in the commune of Montlouis it is difficult to imagine how François and Jacky could lose. 
The top 'Vouvray' from Domaine de la Taille aux Loups is 2014 Le Clos de Venise – sorry Venise!, Vin de France. It retails from the domaine at 24€ TTC. Looking at wine-searcher there are very few 2014 Vouvrays that sell at this price or above. Echoes of Vino da Tavola Super Tuscans from the 1970s and 1980s!          

 Table de tri for Vin de France 

Not good enough for Vin de France....