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 investdrinks.org

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, 29 August 2014

2010 Saumur-Champigny, Château de Villeneuve + 2014 – prospects?

2010 Saumur-Champigny, Château de Villeneuve 

August is rapidly disappearing with September just around the corner, so my thoughts are naturally turning to the impending 2014 Loire vintage. After the difficult years of 2012 and 2013 and 2011 not always that easy with plenty rot about, will 2014 produce wines as good as those from 2010 – certainly my pick for the best Loire year of the second decade. The 2010 Saumur-Champigny (the straight domaine) from Château de Villeneuve is drinking beautifully now  – its concentrated and richly textured black fruits well balanced with acidity in the finish.

To date (fingers firmly crossed) the Loire has escaped catastrophes in 2014 – no frost, no reports of bad hail damage – although Vouvray wasn't far off being hit for a second consecutive year in early June. The flowering passed off quickly and successfully. September tends to be the crucial month for the Loire but what of August 2014?

Climate stats from two Loire met stations – Tours and Beaucouze (just to the west of Angers) – show that this August has to date been cooler, wetter and with less sunshine than the average (1981-2010). Stats for 2014 only go up to 28.8.2014 for the final figures will be a little different.

Beaucouze:
2014: average maximum temperature – 22.8 C
2014: highest maximum temp – 26.9C
Average (1981-2010): 25.4

2014: 154.3 sunshine hours without a day with strong sunshine 
Average (1981-2010): 223.7 hours with 7.9 days of strong sunshine

2014: 110.9mm of rain
Average (1981-2010): 41.3mm

Tours:
2014: average maximum temperature – 23.1C
2014: highest maximum temp – 28.2C
Average (1981-2010): 25.4C

2014: 166.2 sunshine hours with one day with strong sunshine 
Average (1981-2010): 236.4 hours with 8.85 days of strong sunshine

2014: 78.1mm of rain
Average (1981-2010): 42.5mm

A cooler wetter August may suggest that the harvest could start a little later than initially thought. It will have thrown up its own challenges. Although at Tours the 2014 rainfall (78.1mm) is well below the record 169.5mm in 1963, the figures in Anjou are rather closer: 110.9mm this year against 134.5mm in 1965.

Given that we talk about weather being so much more unpredictable today, it is interesting to note that at Tours the driest August has been 1961 with just 0.8mm for the month, while two years later – 1963 – has the record for being the wettest. 

Here's to a drier September!  





  

Thursday, 28 August 2014

2014 Festivini – exceptional tasting of Coteaux de Saumur@Abbaye de Fontevraud


 2008 vintage: Régis Neau (Domaine de Nerleux): 
with his Chenin ready soon to make Coteaux de Saumur



Here is a rare opportunity to taste a vertical of Coteaux de Saumur going back to at least 1973. Although some of the leading producers from this small appellation are not included in the tasting, it should be a fascinating evening.   

Message from Festivini:

'Soirée découverte de Millésimes d'exception: 

Les COTEAUX DE SAUMUR, grands vins moelleux et confidentiels élaborés à base de Chenin, vous invitent à un voyage à la découverte des arômes extraordinaires qu’un grand vin développe au fil du temps.

Initiation à la dégustation de millésimes d'exception, découverte des particularités des millésimes sélectionnés et rencontre avec les vignerons et un expert des terroirs viticoles.

2009  Château de Parnay    
2007 Domaine de la Bonnelière à Varrains    
2006 Château de Berrye à Berrie    
2005 Domaine de la Bonnelière
2005 Château de Berrye, Cuvée marguerite 
2004 Domaine Annivy à Souzay-Champigny      
2003 Domaine de l’Epinay à Pouançay    
2003 Domaine Lavigne à Varrains      
1997 Domaine de l’Epinay 
1995 Domaine de La Guillotterie à Varrains        
1990 Domaine des Frémonclairs à Turquant       
1990 Domaine Michel Suire à Berrie    
1989 Domaine de la FUYE à Sanziers   
1973 Domaine des Menais à Varrains  
& ..... Le dernier Millésime est un secret bien gardé que vous découvrirez à l'abbaye de Fontevraud le Lundi 8 septembre...



Informations pratiques :

·         Date : lundi 8 septembre

·         Horaire : 20h

·         Lieu : Aliénor Café - Abbaye de Fontevraud.

·         Tarif : 45€/personne ( Vins & Accords inclus)

·         Places limitées,

·         Sur réservation à l’OT de Saumur ou par mail à :  contact@festivini.com 




 


Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Jean-Luc Colombo: three new wines

2013 Picpoul de Pinet Les Girelles £9.99
 

Details of UK stockists for the Picpoul

Recently I was sent three new wines from Jean-Luc Colombo. Although he is based in Cornas these come from further south. There is a red and white Côtes du Rhône sourced from the southern Rhône and a Picpoul de Pinet. 

2013 Picpoul de Pinet Les Girelles
This is quite rich and weighty for a Picpoul with light acidity with some floral notes. It was good with Scottish haddock plainly baked with a little milk and butter.



 2013 Les Abeilles, Côtes du Rhône


 
Details of UK stockists 

2013 Les Abeilles, Côtes du Rhône Blanc £9.99
This is a blend of 80% Clairette and 20% Roussanne sourced from vineyards in the communes of Cairanne, Rasteau and Vacqueyras. The 2013 is attractively floral and quite richly textured.    



2012 Les Abeilles, Côtes du Rhône  


Details of UK stockists 

2013 Les Abeilles, Côtes du Rhône Rouge £9.99
This is a blend of 60% Grenache, 30% Syrah and 10% Mourvèdre sourced from vineyards in the communes of Cairanne, Rasteau and Vacqueyras. Rich, easy drinking, richly textured, damson and other black fruits.


Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Birthday meal@Three Chimneys on Skye





I enjoyed an excellent birthday meal last week@The Three Chimneys on Skye.

 View from the restaurant to the west of Dunvegan

Our three course menu with two wee tastes extra included


 Very decent sherry selection – we chose the 
Faraon Oloroso from Hildalgo

 Wee taste: pickled herring

 2012 Abadia Albarino

After our glass of Oloroso we went for halves. Firstly the 2012 Abadia Albarino, which was a very good match with the seafood platter. Initially I had chosen the 2013 Pouilly Fumé from Jonathan Pabiot but a discerning customer had drunk the last bottle at lunchtime. 


 Best dish of the evening: seafood platter including 
brilliant oysters, mussels and a crab salad



 Après moi – le débris!

 My grouse

 Carole's salmon with squid


A half of 2013 Crasto (Douro) – served slightly too warm with the main course. Better when we got some ice and water to chill it down a tad.
 


Curiously the only Loire red listed is a Gamay from Domaine Levin. Does the Three Chimneys really think this is the best the Loire can offer?

Second wee taste – a pre-dessert

 My chocolate dessert - nice to see it served on an Edinbane pottery plate

 ... partially demolished

 Warm marmalade pudding with Drambuie custard


I finished with a glass of 30 Year Old Pedro Ximenez from Dandelion Vineyards in the Barossa.