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

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

2014 Cabernet Franc@Bourgueil – 14.9


Photos of 2014 Cabernet Franc grapes taken on Sunday 14th September in Bourgueil. The first were taken from vines planted on gravel. Then I took some from the clay limestone coteau. For the moment the grapes look promising and coming along nicely with no sign of rot. Picking is unlikely to start much before the 25th September, although on the gravels of Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil they may well start a little earlier. Apparently the skins are thin this year, so there could be problems if the weather changes to being wet, hot and humid.      




Grapes from vines planted on clay-limestone:

 argile calcaire

 argile calcaire

 argile calcaire

 argile calcaire

 argile calcaire

  Cabernet Franc leaf taking on autumnal colours

Day 1 cracked, but not the rider!

Early morning - low cloud and high winds
The view from our bedroom window this morning was most uninviting! Low cloud and blowing a gale. But Jim was not to be deterred! He disappeared into the mist up the hill towards La Source de La Loire.

 Jim at the start, looking rather anxious

By the time I caught up with him at La Source it was already raining. But he bravely took off his rain jacket to show off his Teenage Cancer Trust cycle jersey. After the foul start to the day, the weather gradually improved and by the time I saw Jim again, in the Gorges de La Loire (me cycling in the opposite direction from the end of the stage) it was warm and sunny. A complete contrast!

 Looking back at the clouds in the Ardèche mountains

 View of the Loire in rather better weather conditions

So day 1 to Retournac has been cracked relatively easily. Far from being cracked, Jim is in great form! All set for the next stage to Renaison tomorrow. The Ferme Equestre Les Revers is a lovely place to stay - comfortable and a beautiful and tranquil location above Retournac. Only downside was the 6km uphill grind to get here from the bridge over the Loire. But definitely worth it!

Here are the stages. If anyone is nearby, come and cheer him on!

Day 1 (Wed 17 Sept):  Gerbier de Jonc to Retournac (done!), staying at Ferme Equestre Les Revers
Day 2 (Thur 18 Sept):  Retournac to Renaison, staying at Hotel le Central
Day 3 (Fri 19 Sept): Renaison to Nevers, staying at Hotel de Clèves
Day 4 (Sat 20 Sept): Nevers to Chavignol (via Pouilly, the half-way point!), staying at Hotel Monts Damnées
Day 5 (Sun 21 Sept): Chavignol to Beaugency, staying at Hotel La Licorne
Day 6 (Mon 22 Sept): Beaugency to Bourgueil, staying at Café de la Promenade
Day 7 (Tues 23 Sept): Bourgueil to Ancenis, staying at Loire-Sejours
Day 8 (Wed 24 Sept): Ancenis to La Baule, staying at Hotel La Cloiserie

See the previous blog to find out how you can support Jim's efforts to raise funds for two cancer charities.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Monsieur Loire fait La Loire!

Yes! Jim Budd, Monsieur Loire himself, is about to embark on a huge challenge - cycling from the source of the Loire to the Atlantic. Starting tomorrow in the Ardèche, just below Le Mont Gerbier de Jonc, he will be covering about 1000 kilometres. And he is doing this to raise funds for two very worthwhile charities in memory of my niece, Esme Morris Macintyre, who died last year at the tender age or eighteen.

We've arrived at the nearest auberge, the Auberge de Bachasson, just 800m from Mont Gerbier de Jonc, to start this challenge.

Jim contemplating his route in the Auberge de Bachasson

As his supporter and partner, I'd like to make a special appeal to all of you who have followed Jim's Loire over the years and freely benefited from his intimate knowledge and understanding of the Loire and its wines. If each of you donated just €5, or even €10, he would easily surpass his target.

So, please, choose one of the charities, log on to Jim's page and give just a small amount.

For Teenage Cancer Trust in the UK:

For Fondation Gustave Roussy in France:

With anticipated thanks (and many thanks to those who have already contributed),



Monday, 15 September 2014

2014 Bourgueillothérapie (13.9): photos from Saint-Nicolas-de-B + Promenade

 Artists and producers in the recently renovated space in front of 
the church of Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil 

Artists and producers@Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil
As promised some photos from the most westerly group of Bourgueillothérapie artists and producers. From the wines tasted here I was most impressed with Domaine Amirault poured by Xavier Amirault and those of Gérard Vallée (Domaine de la Cotelleraie).   

 Musical duo

 Sandrine Duveau – her painting won a prize this year

 Valérie Herlin@work on her prize winning sculpture
in memory of Anne Graindorge who died 
with shocking suddenness in mid-March 2014

 An earlier sculpture from Valérie with and without leaf

A fresh bottle of Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil

The old bottle of Saint-Nicolas

Artists and a producer@Café de la Promenade

Loick Terquem, Domaine de la Folie Lucé
Dampierre-sur-la-Loire (Saumur-Champigny)