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




Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Le 5 et 6 aoüt Les Grandes Tablées du Saumur Champigny – la version française


 Les Grands Tablées@Saumur (above and below)





'Un "gisant" de Richard III Plantagenêt pour Fontevraud annoncé aux Grandes Tablées du Saumur Champigny

Les vignerons du Saumur Champigny ont invité les 5 et 6 août prochains, les sujets de sa majesté Elisabeth II à leurs Grandes Tablées annuelles, un repas géant qui a lieu chaque année depuis 15 ans entre Loire et patrimoine, en cœur de ville de Saumur. Pour être à la hauteur de l'événement les vignerons on décidé d'offrir un gisant à Fontevraud pour le dernier des Plantagenêts dont le squelette a été retrouvé par hasard dans un parking en 2012, cinq siècles après sa mort. Après quelques années de tergiversation, Richard III a été inhumé à Leicester. Il est le dernier de la dynastie qui fut Comte d'Anjou et roi d’Angleterre. Avec l'Abbaye de Fontevraud, les vignerons ont décidé de confier à un artiste la réalisation d'un gisant pour que le souverain puisse rejoindre ses aïeux dans leur nécropole de l'Abbaye Royage de Fontevraud. Ils remercient en quelque sorte, les plantagenêts pour leur influence sur le vignoble. Un remerciement aux plantagenêts pour leur influence sur le développement du vignoble d'Anjou.

Le ministre français et la reine d'Angleterre
Le Ministre de l'agriculture et porte-parole du gouvernement, Stéphane Le Foll, a annoncé sa venue pour cette édition 2015. Une autre personnalité a été conviée pour participer au choix de l'artiste qui exécutera le gisant de Richard III... la reine Elisabeth II. Pour inviter tous ceux qui le souhaitent à soutenir l'opération, une plate-forme de crowdfunding sera présentée à l'occasion, permettant d'acquérir des bouteilles de la future cuvée Richard III de Fontevraud ou d'accéder à des séjours dédiés à Fontevraud l'Hôtel ****, award....

Depuis 15 ans, 6 000 repas en cœur de ville
6 000 repas, 3 000 convives chacune des deux soirées et 2 000 flâneurs ! La recette est efficace. Chaque été, Saumur se transforme en grand restaurant à ciel ouvert où la bonne humeur et la fête sont de rigueur. Une immense tablée est dressée au coeur de la ville, autour des produits du terroir et du Saumur Champigny, en compagnie des vignerons de l’appellation. Cette année, les 2km de tables seront installés devant l’hôtel de ville les mercredi 5 et jeudi 6 août !

Oui la gastronomie anglaise existe...
Chaque année, les vignerons de l'AOC Saumur-Champigny convie un hôte étranger. Après les Belges pour l'édition 2014, place aux voisins so British cette année. Et aux derniers qui pourraient en douter, les organisateurs vont avec les produits du terroir du Saumurois, prouver que la gastronomie anglaise existe : Mushroom pie, pork pie, légumes de la vallée, fromage de chèvre, red berry crumble... Les recettes traditionnelles anglaises vont être revisitées.

Musique pop
Les idoles de la pop anglaise ne seront pas présentes, mais les 5 formations qui se succéderont place de la République leur rendront un hommage appuyé. Programme à venir.'

  I can't help but feel that chosing to put a statute, albeit reclining, of Richard III at Fontrevaud is a glorious example of refined French humour....

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

2015 Les Grands Tablées de Saumur-Champigny: 5th and 6th August



2005 Grands Tablées  




I'm looking forward to going to Les Grands Tablées this year. I went once before as a guest of the Saumur-Champigny producers and it was a brilliant visit. Again 10 years on I have been kindly invited. The event has grown considerably over the past decade and now stretches over two days.
 
2005 turned out to be a good vintage and 2015 is looking promising, although drought is a problem and there is still a long way to go. 

Details of the event:   
5th and 6th August: 2km of tables and 6,000 meals – major food & wine feast in Saumur-Champigny



Les Grandes Tablées de Saumur-Champigny is a gastronomic and wine celebration in the heart of the Loire Valley where a meal for some 6,000 people is served to visitors over a two-day marathon festival in the centre of Saumur.  It is the place to be in the Loire in August if you love food, wine and merriment!



For each of the past fifteen years the winegrowers from Saumur-Champigny have played host to special guests from one specific export market. 2015 marks the turn of the British, and the event will include touches of Britishness, including British traditional dishes and popular music.



To accompany the meal, 4,000 bottles of Saumur-Champigny will be served from 20 stands around the Place de la République. The wine chosen for this occasion is called the ‘Cuvée des 100 Vignerons,’ (wine from one hundred growers) a bespoke wine for which the hundred or so local winemakers each contribute 15 kilos of grapes, to produce a special wine which reflects the vintage.  Four of these cuvées – recent ones as well as older – will be served to guests.  



The stats:

·         6,000 meals will be served throughout the two days of the festival

·         4,000 bottles of Saumur-Champigny will be opened

·         Over 10,000 people are expected to visit Saumur-Champigny during the festival


·         Local winemakers, in a nod to the Brits, will present a statue of Richard III to nearby Fontevraud Abbey (King Richard’s ancestors are buried in the Abbey)


·         If all the tables from the meal were put end to end they would reach 2km in length


·         French Minister of Agriculture Stéphane Le Foll will attend the event this year

·         A crowdfunding platform will be set up at the event, for people to acquire bottles of a future Richard III of Fontevraud cuvée or to access bespoke stays at the 4 star Fontevraud Hotel

 
Notes to editors:

Details: Wednesday 5th and Thursday 6th August 2015 from 7pm, Place de la République in Saumur.

Prices: Meal and an engraved tasting glass - €12.00. Tasting glass only - €5.00 (available on site)

Book : Saumur Tourist Office, quai Carnot, 49400 Saumur

www.ot-saumur.com – Tel: 02 41 40 20 60


Monday, 27 July 2015

#TDF2015: Chris Froome wins Tour for 2nd time – André Griepel wins in Paris

André Griepel wins for first time in Paris 

Chris Froome wins 2nd Tour de France 

Many congratulations to Chris Froome and to the Sky team on winning his second Tour de France. Also congratulations to André Griepel on winning on the Champs-Elysées yesterday. The first time he has won there and his fourth stage win in this 2015 edition of the Tour. 

I was out riding my bike along the Thames today to Dartford, so my look back at the Tour will appear tomorrow. 

Sunday, 26 July 2015

#TDF2015: winning Pinot on L'Alpe d'Huez, Froome wins Tour + Cav or Griepel today?

 Stage 20: the top 23 headed by Thibaut Pinot

Stage 20: Chris Froome wins 2015 Tour – the top 23 overall
Nairo Quintana 2nd, Alejandro Valverde 3rd


Yesterday was an exciting stage with Chris Froome really pushed by Nairo Quintana. Apparently Froome has been suffering from a chesty cold since the rest day in Gap, so the climb up to L'Alpe d'Huez trying to limit his time loss to Quintana was really hard. With a great attack Quintana managed to reduce his deficit to Froome to 1.12. He couldn't, however, prevent Chris Froome from winning the Tour for a second time as today's stage will be a procession into Paris with only the sprinters involved in a final gallop up the Avenue des Champs-Elysées. 

Thibaut Pinot rescued his Tour with a fine stage win on top of L'Alpe d'Huez to make up for his disappointing showing earlier on in the Tour. Vincenzo Nibali was very unlucky to get a puncture at the base of the climb up the Alpe, which meant that his chance to get on the podium in Paris disappeared.  

The other jersey competitions have also now been decided: 

Mountains – Polka Dot: Chris Froome 


There is one point available on Stage 21 into Paris but this will change nothing as Chris Froome leads Nairo Quintana by 11 points.   

Points – Green: Peter Sagan 


Peter Sagan has again dominated the Points Competition, especially in the latter stages of the race. He leads André Griepel by over 100 points and cannot be caught even if he scores no points today. 

Young Rider: Nairo Quintana 

Nairo Quintana has a comfortable lead of 14.48 over Romain Bardet, the leading French rider. Although overall the French riders have not finished as high up the General Classification as they did last year, there is hope for the future with three French riders in the top four of this competition albeit that Warren Barguil and Thibaut Pinot are over 37 minutes down on Quintana.  
 
Stage 21: Sèvres-Gpso to Paris Champs-Élysées 109.5 kms
   

Today's stage will be a procession until the peloton reaches the Champs-Élysées when the sprinters will come out to play. The question will be how much did the mountains take out of them?

Although both André Griepel and Mark Cavendish both have weakened lead out teams, I still expect it will be between these two for the victory. Although Cav has lost Mark Renshaw, his lead out man, Mark is adept at going freestyle and knows the finish well having won here four times. Furthermore he has won here before without Renshaw. Peter Sagan will be up there but it would be a major surprise if he manages to win in Paris.