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, 21 September 2014

Loire ride for young cancer sufferers: Day 5 Chavignol (Sancerre) to Beaugency

Michel Mergot: deputy mayor of Epeigné-les-Bois 
will be riding part of the way tomorrow

Something must have gone seriously wrong with our calculations today – I'd thought it would be around 120 km from Chavignol, the leading commune of Sancerre to Beaugency. Instead it was the longest day so far with 166 kms ridden in 7 hours 48 minutes at an average 21.3 kmh. Only 189 metres climbed, which underlines how flat this part of the Loire is.

From riding mile after mile and seeing virtually no one and few habitations, you get a real sesne of how big France is in European terms. I was pleased with the way today went: for although it was long I still have the stamina to finish strongly. 

Tomorrow will be another longish day from here to Bourgueil (Café de la Promenade). I am delighted that Michel Mergot, the deputy mayor of Epeigné-les-Bois and previously mayor of the commune, will be joining me for part of the way tomorrow.

Delighted that donations are now steadily coming in: Gustave Roussy is now up to 775€ and Virgin Giving @£751 including gift aid. If you have already given to help care for and support young people with there is still time to do so.

Here's how you can donate:

For Teenage Cancer Trust in the UK:
For Fondation Gustave Roussy in France:
With anticipated thanks.

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Loire ride for young cancer sufferers: Day 4 Nevers to Sancerre

Threatening storm clouds around Sancerre

After Day 4 of my ride we are now in Sancerre, so just over halfway down the Loire. The mid-point comes at the bridge across the river at Pouilly-sur-Loire. I included a shorter ride day, so we would have a chance to look at the vines. Apparently a few vines have been picked but the main harvest is due to start from the middle of next week. 

After a glorious start to September the weather has become decidedly unsettled from Wednesday – probably my fault for starting the ride that day. Currently it is stormy and humid. Hopefully the weather will soon take a turn for the better. Certainly the forecast shows that tomorrow there will just be a few showers with no thunder storms forecast unlike tonight. Then Monday and Tuesday it should be sunny with a wind from the north east to dry the grapes. On a very quick look around today (should stress that it was a quick visit) the grapes largely looked healthy but there is a little bit of rot about which would become a concern if the humid, stormy weather was to continue.

 Pinot Noir with a small touch of rot – 
entirely manageable if the weather improves
and the producer uses a sorting table or has good pickers

 2014 Sancerre ripening Sauvignon

Tomorrow I head north to Orléans and then west to Beaugency. To date we have raised £726 for Teenage Cancer Trust and 555€ for Fondation Gustave Roussy. Huge thanks to all who have generously donated so far.

It would be great to raise a lot more for this really important cause – if lots of readers of Jim's Loire donated just 5€ each or £5 it would mount up rapidly and make such a difference! Retweets and Facebook likes are great, but a small donation would be even better and would benefit young cancer sufferers.

Here's how you can donate:

For Teenage Cancer Trust in the UK:
For Fondation Gustave Roussy in France:
With anticipated thanks.

Friday, 19 September 2014

Loire ride for young cancer sufferers: Day 3 – Renaison-Nevers

Charles Eric Pasquiers: on this year's Bordeaux-Paris

Now in Nevers after riding 164 kilometres from Renaison in the Côte Roannaise to here. Riding time was 7.17 minutes, climbing 302 metres (as anticiptated significantly less than the first two days) with an average speed of 22.5 km/h. As Pouilly-sur-Loire is the halfway point in the Loire's descent from the mountains of the Ardèche, I'm now close to 50% of the ride completed

Although much of the ride was pretty flat, I was pleased to complete over a 100 miles as it is a long time since I have ridden this distance in a day.

Yesterday I managed to largely miss the rain, but today I got completely soaked through in the second hour of riding with torrential rain turning the road into a stream. 

Tomorrow will be a bit of a rest day with just 60km from Nevers to Chavignol and a chance to see what is happening with the harvest there.

I'm delighted that Charles Eric Pasquiers, the commercial director of Domaine FL, will be joining the ride on Tuesday. I greatly appreciate him giving up time on the eve of the 2014 harvest.