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

Sunday, 29 May 2016

Clos de Jeanne, Genillé – excellent annual Les HP lunch

Night time view of the Clos de Jeanne, Genillé

Today we held the annual lunch of Les Huîtres Pétillantes, the company we formed in order to buy the house in Epeigné-les-Bois back in 1987. This year we chose Le Clos de Jeanne in Genillé. We had an execllent meal and were very well looked after by Bernadette Auroy – the owner along with her husband Alain, who is the chef.   

For our apéro we chose the 2015 Noble Joué from Rémi Cosson. Made from three Pinots – Gris, Meunier and Noir – this delicately coloured rosé has attractive red fruits along with good, crisp acidity.   

Because we were a group of eight we understandably had a restricted choice of dishes, particularly as today was the Fête des Mers so the restaurant was busy. For our entrées we had a choice of asperges gratinés au parmesan et jambon cru italien or dariole de crabe, tomates-cerise, mesclun et crème ciboulette. Unfortunately I was hungry and forgot to take photos of these but my asparagus was very good. 

With this course we enjoyed the 2014 Les Choisilles, Montlouis Sec from François Chidaine. Beautifully balanced with rich complex fruit from this very good vintage – underlining the quality of Chidaine's wines.

Main course choices: Pièce de boeuf 'Angus', beurre au piment d'Espelette, mousseline de pommes de terre au paprika (above) or marmite de la mer à la sauce safranée, brunoise de légumes de saison. The marmite had salmon, cod and julienne. Both dishes were excellent. 

Our red option was the delicious 2014 Saumur-Champigny from Antoine Sanzay. Antoine has made several lovely cuvées in 2014 and this one is particularly impressive for being Antoine's straight domaine wine.   

We had the full choice of desserts:

Tarte aux pommes flambées au calvados 

Gâteau au chocolat, sauce au chocolat et 
glace chocolat noir suisse 'Frey'

Sablé breton aux fraises de saison et 
mascarpone sorbet fraise 'sengana' 

Nos profieteroles sauce au chocolat

Not much left of the profiteroles .....

Saturday, 28 May 2016

2016 VitiLoire – some good bottles

I spent a few hours at VitiLoire in the centre of Tours today having caught the train from Chenonceaux into Tours. Waiting for the train at Chenonceaux it was noticeable that many of the vines in the vineyard next to the railway looked as though they were still in the middle of winter with no sign of growth. 

Small selection of wines that impressed me at VitiLoire:       

Producer in Thore la Rochette with 25 hectares – 40% Pineau d'Aunis, 25% Chenin, 15% Cabernet Franc and 10% of a range of other grape varieties mainly used in the sparkling wine. 
 2015 Tradition – a gris made from 100% Pineau d'Aunis
AC Coteaux du Vendômois

 Méthod Trad Vin de France  – 50% Chenin, 50% Pineau d'Aunis 

Fabien Demois, Chinon

2015 L'âne Gris, Vin de France  
A white made from 100% Cabernet Franc

 2013 Vieilles Vignes, Chinon, Domaine de Doulaye 
An impressive 2013 Chinon from 
a difficult vintage

Xavier Frissant, Amboise

 2014 La Griffe d'Isa, 100% Fie Gris, Touraine, Xavier Frissant 

Bruno Curassier, Domaine de la Grange, Touraine

 2014 Touraine Chenonceaux, Domaine de la Grange 
Concentration of grassy fruit with good length

Caves du Père Auguste, Touraine

2014 Touraine Chenonceaux Blanc, Caves du Père Auguste
grassy gooseberry, texture and weight  

Domaine des Vallettes, St Nicolas de Bourgueil 


 2013 Un Coup de Breton, Bourgueil, Domaine des Vallettes  
New label from Domaine des Vallettes  
in St Nicolas de Bourgueil 

Domaine de Noiré, Jean-Max Manceau, Chinon 

 2015 Amphora, Domaine de Noiré
Chinon Blanc 
Vinified in Amphore – good concentration, 
texture and complexity   

Friday, 27 May 2016

Loire – a few recently enjoyed bottles

Last night we had our first meal at Le Lézard Vert (Epeigné-les-Bois) under the new ownership. We were favourably impressed by the food and happy with the limited choice of wine where the Closerie de Chanteloup in Touraine Amboise features strongly. I have long been impressed with these wines. We tried their 2014 Sauvignon Blanc that has good concentration of fruit along with ripe acidity – typical of good 2014. 

We were particularly impressed by the 2014 Cuvée François Touraine Amboise. All too often this Cuvée is light, weedy and of little interest. In contrast this example is very attractive with a long concentration of rich black fruits – just lovely to drink. 

 This evening we enjoyed a couple of wines from Château de Villeneuve starting with 2009 Les Cormiers, Saumur Blanc with rich evolved fruit showing the benefit of a few years in bottle as well from this ripe vintage. Ready to drink now but can certainly be kept for a number of years yet.  

We followed this with a couple of bottles of 2005 Vieilles Vignes, Saumur Champigny also from Château de Villeneuve. I loved the wonderfully textured, succulent black fruits and now very soft tannins. The 2005 VV went perfectly with a simple roasted Barbary Duck that we had bought this morning in Montrichard Market.