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, 19 August 2017

A Scottish summer day – full of variety!

Today we drove down the A9 from Newtonmore to Pitlochry. Here are a series of photos taken over a short distance, on an iFone around Dalwhinnie showing how quickly the weather in the Highlands can change. 

 Mist on the hills 

 Looking through the windscreen!

 Now past Dalwhinnie – signs of clearing up 

 Dramatic sky and landscape

 Heading to the Drumochter Pass
(above and below)

Friday, 18 August 2017

2017 Loire vintage approaches

The 2017 vintage in the Loire will be relatively early, although not as early as originally thought as the weather recently has been fresher.

The initial predictions (published mid-July) by France's Ministry of Agriculture are that the 2017 Loire will be up on 2016 by 7%. However, 2016 was 25% down on a normal vintage, so the frost affected 2017 vintage will again be considerably down on a 'normal vintage'. 

Unfortunately 2017 will do little to replenish stocks that are now very low in parts of the Loire as there have been short vintages for many from 2012 onwards. Stocks of Muscadet are very low 160,000 hls at the end of July – normally they would be between 410,000 and 430,000 hls. The 2017 vintage in Muscadet is estimated to be between 200,000 and 280,000, while a normal harvest is now around 400,000 hls. Inevitably the 2017 Muscadet will not replenish the depleted stocks. 

Elsewhere stocks of Sancerre are not problematic following a serious of generally plentiful vintages, which have bucked the trend elsewhere in the Central Vineyards and the Loire as a whole. Pouilly-Fumé, by contrast, is short due to frost both last year and this. 

Staying with Sauvignon Blanc, there is just four months of stock of Touraine Sauvignon. Stocks of Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil are also very low – 50% of normal. Fortunately, redwise, there are reasonable levels of Chinon, Saumur-Champigny and Saunur. Vouvray has 14 months of stock, which is low due to the tradition of growers holding on to some stock before they sell.   

Picking in the Pays Nantais is likely to start in early September rather than in the last 10 days of August as was originally possible. In the Central Vineyards Benoît Roumet, director of the BIVC,  told me that picking Pinot Gris in Reuilly could start around 13th September with Sauvignon Blanc from 16th September. 

For the moment the grapes appear to be healthy and looking promising. Fingers crossed that this continues. 

More updates on the 2017 Loire vintage will be following.


Thursday, 17 August 2017

Edinburgh Fringe: Peter Pik – musician

Peter Pik on Rose Street, Edinburgh

We came across Peter Pik in Rose Street buying copies of of his two CDs that he had on sale. He is a talented guitarist from Sydney in Australia. Peter has been coming to Edinburgh during the fringe for the past five years. CRM met him last year. Pik is on Facebook.

Unfortunately this may be the last year that he comes. "There is so much red tape and bureaucracy this year." Pik is particularly exercised by the blanket ban on the use of an amplifier in a public street in Edinburgh. I play an electric guitar which needs amplification. I have already been warned twice. Next time it will be a £40 fine."

One can understand Edinburgh Council wanting to clamp down on buskers during the year who may play at very high levels. However, surely during the four weeks of the Fringe this rule could be relaxed with only musicians using excessive noise being penalised.