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, 30 June 2013

Handyman spotted in Central London

Handyman van spotted in St Martin's Lane, Central London yesterday. 

Looks to be a well balanced chap!

Tour de France: all time list of stage winners now complete

 Le Tour de France@Pauillac 2010

The complete listing of all stage winners of the Tour de France through the 100 editions is now complete here. Bang up to date it includes Jan Bakelants fine win this afternoon with just enough of advance over Peter Sagan to claim the Yellow Jersey. Most of the winners are linked to their profile on Wikipedia – the rest will be shortly. Perhaps not surprisingly there are a very large number of riders who have won one stage and even some of the greats have only won three or four stages during their careers.  

#TDF13: Kittel wins Stage 1 – a lottery indeed!

As I feared the much anticipated big sprint didn't happen yesterday due to a big crash in the peloton just before the three kilometre mark. This took out Mark Cavendish as the person who went down first was just behind Mark, Peter Sagan was also brought down and suffered some injuries but fortunately nothing major. André Griepel missed the crash but soon after had a puncture, which took him out of the running. This left Marcel Kittel in a great position, which he took convincingly winning his first ever Tour de France stage. It will be surprising if this proves to be his last.

There was confusion over the Orica-GreenEdge bus getting stuck under a banner at the finish line. Initially the finish line was moved to three kilometres from the original line and then when they eventually got the bus clear the finish was moved back to its intended place. A nightmare for the organisers. Cavendish blamed the crashes on the confusion and concern in the peloton over where the finish would actually be. Certainly this has continued Mark's running of bad luck in the Tour getting caught up in crashes in stages where he has a good chance of winning. This happened to him twice in last year's Tour. 

Today's stage across the island from Bastia to Ajaccio is decidedly hilly with three - 3rd Category climbs and a 2nd Category. After the 2nd Category climb there is 65 kilometres to the finish, so it will be interesting to see if any of the sprinters manage to get back on before the finish, although the last climb (3rd Cat) is only 12 kilometres from the finish. Peter Sagan ought to be a good bet for this stage but will have to see what effect yesterday's tumble will have had. 

Unfortunately Tony Martin had a bad crash yesterday. Apparently he is starting today, which may not be wise. 

Saturday, 29 June 2013

2013 Tour de France: Mark Cavendish is yellow tonight? But 1st stage a lottery?

Sky@Evans, Waterloo

Just a few hours now before the 2013 Tour de France starts in Corsica. Will Mark Cavendish be in Yellow tonight? It would be great if he does win in Bastia but the first stage, although flat, could well be turn to be a lottery with some fairly narrow roads with some street furniture, especially at the entries and exits to villages. Unfortunately there are likely to be crashes in the first stage. Hopefully no-one will be badly injured but riders could easily be held up by crashes in any narrow sections, so a bunch sprint in Bastia with all the sprinters present may not happen. It is certain that there will be a lot of pressure to be close to the front of the peloton. Fortunately a lot of the road for the stage is broad and open. There are also a strong line up of other sprinters here this year, although interesting Tyler Farrar didn't make the Garmin team.

If Cav doesn't get the first stage there are plenty of other stages that look set up for the sprinters and it will be a real surprise if Mark doesn't win at least four or five stages this year. Equally it will be a surprise if Peter Sagan doesn't build on his impressive début last year, especially in the lumpier stages. If Cav does win five or more stages plus a good haul of intermediate sprint points then I think he will win the Green Jersey, if not then Sagan will win it for the second year in succession.


Friday, 28 June 2013

Ex Cellar (Paris): finally some good news for Simon Baile's employees

Rue des Ecoles, Paris (Google maps)

There is good news at last for Simon Baile's employees in France, who worked at his Ex-Cellar shop in Paris at 25 Rue des Ecoles: Ex Cellar (France) was put into liquidation on 28th May 2013 and its employees were made redundant on 11th June. This now means that they are able to look for a new job, while safeguarding their employment and social security rights.

A previous Jim's Loire post on Simon Baile's Paris shop here.

The UK arm of Ex Cellar Ltd (sole director: 45 year old Simon Edward John Baile – DOB: 9.8.1967) went into administration on 28th January 2013. The four Excellar shops still in operation are now owned by a Prebinvest Ltd. The company was formed on 4.10.12 and was initially called Baileco Ltd. The change of name to Prebinvest Ltd was on 14th November 2012. Its sole director is 43 year old Kathryn Baile (DOB: 13.5.1970). The registered office is 145-147 St John Street, London EC1V 4DU – a popular accommodation/virtual office address with mail forwarding facilities. 

Ex Cellar now has four shops: three in Surrey – Ashtead, Claygate and Surbition; and Fulham in London. On the Ex Cellar website Simon Baile is shown as the manager of the Claygate and Surbiton stores.  

Manager: Simon Baile

Simon has been in The Wine Trade since he was in nappies, and was largely weaned on wine courtesy of his father who is a Master of Wine.

Having spent his formative years working in various branches of Oddbins, from the age of 13, he spent his first few years in the wine trade after University garnering experience in wine retail and wholesale, wine importing and also a short stint in the distilleries of Scotland.

During this time his passion for small family wineries from around the world grew. He started Ex Cellar in 1998 in Ashtead, Surrey, and the company has steadily grown over the years. It now has 8 shops in London, Surrey and Paris.

Throughout this time, Simon's belief that the provenance of wine is paramount has remained steadfast. As the company continues to grow he still has a determination to discover new wine makers and bring his customers wines that are both great value and fantastic quality.’

It would appear that Simon Baile is being kept busy as he hasn't had time to update his profile recently – it is now 4 shops not 8 and there is no mention of the Oddbins debacle...  

Some of Simon Baile's creditors might wish that he had stayed 'in nappies'! 

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Two diary dates: Lamé Delisle Boucard (6th-7th July) + 51st Foire aux Vins de Vouvray (15th-18th August)

Part of the amazing cellars@Lamé Delisle Boucard

Portes Ouvertes@Lamé Delisle Boucard in Ingrandes-en-Touraine (AC Bourgueil)on Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th July. 


15th-18th August 51st August wine fair@Vouvray
Here is a great way to show your support for the producers of Vouvray severely hit by hail on Monday 17th June. Go and taste and buy some of their wines.  

Les vignerons de l’appellation Vouvray vous attendent dans les caves troglodytiques de la Bonne Dame pour vous faire déguster leurs vins les 15, 16, 17 et 18 août de 10h à 19h.

Salon incontournable de l’été dans le pays du Vouvray, organisé dans les caves de la Bonne-Dame les vignerons de l'appellation Vouvray vous feront découvrir leur production à travers différents millésimes. Sur place également, les visiteurs pourront déguster des spécialités gourmandes en accord avec les vins.

 C’est une façon originale de découvrir le vignoble de Vouvray, une balade insolite dans les galeries troglodytiques du XVème siècle des Caves de la Bonne Dame. La vie en Vouvray est toujours pleine de surprises, car Vouvray est à la fois unique et multiple.

 Avec ses quatre facettes : sec, demi-sec, moelleux, « fines bulles », le vin de Vouvray nous entraine toujours vers de nouvelles découvertes. Vous pouvez ainsi apprécier toutes les facettes d’un terroir millénaire en un seul lieu. Toute la diversité de l’Appellation Vouvray vous est présentée à travers différents styles et millésimes.

Restauration sur place.
Entrée libre- Prix du verre de dégustation 3 €

Benoît Lemercier@Centre d'art Bouvet-Ladubay

Starting tomorrow there is an exhibition of the works of Benoît Lemercier at the Centre d'art Bouvet-Ladubay. It will run through to the 27th October.  

Centre d'art Bouvet-Ladubay 
Saint Hilaire - Saint Florent 
49 400 SAUMUR 

Tel: 02 41 83 83 83 

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Nouveau World Wine/Finbow Wines trial: Rebecca McDonald@the stand

24th June 2013
Rebecca (Becky) McDonald gave evidence to her defence counsel: Steve Bailey. She had started on Friday - I was not present in court for this. 

Much of her evidence was taken up with going through invoices and payments made by Finbow Wines with Rebecca McDonald giving details of the various payments. I assume that a similar exercise had been conducted by her counsel with payments made during McDonald’s time with Nouveau World Wines. She started there in September 2008.  

McDonald explained that she was involved with accounts covering sales and clients but not after-sales. She had no way of knowing how much wine had been bought, not involved in buying wine and she had no influence over company decisions.

Among the invoices was one to Eurodirect in July 2009 for the purchase of 6000 leads to be used for the start up of Finbow Wines Ltd. 

Read the rest on investdrinks here

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

2013 Tour de France ..... and the winner will be ...?

Will it be Froome and Team Sky?

Chris Froome last year's runner up to Bradley Wiggins (now Sir Brad) is the clear favourite.

He has had an impressive first half of the season winning The Tour of Oman, the Tour of Romandie and most recently the Critérium du Dauphiné. Froome has only been beaten by Vincenzo Nibali in very cold conditions in the Tireno-Adriatico.  Nibali, clear winner of the Giro d'Italia and perhaps potential the biggest threat to Froome, will not be riding the Tour this year. Froome is a great all rounder – fine climber and excellent time triallist.

Of the leading contenders Froome has shown that he is the strongest time trialler. Although I expect that Tony Martin will win the first time trial he is not a contender for overall victory. Froome might well take the hilly 17th stage time trial in the Alps that has two category 2 climbs.

Alberto Contador is the other favourite. However, he was comfortably beaten by Froome in the Dauphiné. Contador appears to have lost some of that killer acceleration that he had previously in the 2009 Tour for example. Certainly he has lost his time trialling ability - this has been evident since 2011 both in the Dauphiné and the Tour that year. In the crucial final time trial that year from Bordeaux to Pauillac, Andy Schleck threatened for a time to take Tour victory from Contador, who in the end put enough seconds into Schleck to hold on. But it wasn't an impressive performance. In the event Contador was later disqualified and stripped of his victory as he failed a doping control with Schleck being declared the winner. Then this year in the Dauphiné Contador rode a stinker of a time trial. Fortunately for Contador there are 65km of individual time trialling this year compared to 110 last year.

It is possible, of course, that Contador will hit peak condition for the Tour. Impressive form in the Dauphiné is not necessarily replicated in the Tour as Iban Mayo and Lance Armstrong showed in 2004, when Mayo comfortably beat Armstrong on a time trial up Mont Ventoux but then disappointed in the Tour. In those days, of course, it may have been a question of ensuring that Armstrong's EPO treatment was designed to deliver him in top form for the Tour, and Mayo had misjudged his! Last year Wiggins won the Dauphiné and then went on to win the Tour, so perhaps with todays cleaner racing the Dauphiné is a better guide to Tour form than it was previously.

Some of the other contenders include Cadel Evans, who is a threat but I think at 36 is more likely to be a contender for a podium place rather than overall victory. His young team mate Tejay Van Garderen could be a winner, although it depends upon whether he has to support Evans rather than go for victory himself.

Ryder Hesjedal, the 2012 winner of the Giro, has had a difficult lead up to the Tour having to abandon both the Giro and the Tour of Switzerland. Jurgen Van den Broeck and Columbian Nairo Quintana should be discounted. Robert Gesink has frequently been cited as a potential Grand Tour winner but has yet to produce the goods when it matters. It will be a major surprise if Andy Schleck does more than finish in the top ten that already would be a triumph.

Stages 6 and 7 in the Pyrenees should be the first real indicator of who are actually the leading contenders this year. 

London: threatening skies

Canary Wharf enveloped in the gloom

Photos from last Friday afternoon when it looked like we might get a big storm but it seemed to come to nothing, although perhaps the rain all fell in east London. 

Aerial on top of Honor Oak

Horniman clock and looking to east London 

Central London 

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Nouveau World Wines/Finbow Wine Ltd: latest report on fraud trial

Label for 1999 Roeddfeldt Road, Shiraz, Barossa Valley
Thos case concerns the 2002 vintage
Label from

Dina Snelling: cross-examination on 19th June and 20th June with Jane Osborne prosecuting. 

Dina Snelling was asked when Nouveau World Wines Ltd started. Dina didn't recall when the company started. She explained that for much of 2006 she had been in hospital as she had a very difficult pregnancy. Nouveau World Wines started receiving money in the summer of 2007. Dina was not aware of the size of the company at that time or from where it was operating. 

When Dina joined Nouveau in March 2008 there were 10 people working there – three or four openers and two closers plus Daniel Snelling. Asked about Simon Jenkins, the finance director, Dina replied that he had left by the time she arrived. Dan Jackson was the business development manager. There was no finance director to replace Jenkins.

After a couple of months working as an opener, Dina moved to the back office to work with a Lucy Jones. When Lucy Jones left Dina took over managing the office and used Lucy Jones' name. Asked whether she got Lucy's permission to use her name, Dina said no she didn't think to ask. 

Read the rest here.

Benoit Courault: the excellent Le petit chemin

Benoit Courault: Le petit chemin, vin de france 

It may be a 'petit chemin' but this 2011 from Benoit Courault is a very attractive, fresh, clean, zippy and deliciously uncomplicated Chenin Blanc.  

Courault is based in Faye d'Anjou and is one of the emerging younger generation of vignerons. There is a fine detailed profile of Benoit here posted last year on Bertrand Celce's very impressive site.    

Supplier: Les Caves de Pyrène 

Saturday, 22 June 2013

2013 Tour de France – just a week to go!

Le Tour@Pauillac 2010

This time next week the 100th edition of Le Tour de France will be underway. For the first time ever the Tour starts in Corsica, where it spends the first three days before moving to Nice for the short 25 kilometre time trial.

There is a good chance that next Saturday evening will see Mark Cavendish in Yellow after winning the sprint for the first stage from Porto Vecchio north for 213 kms to Bastia. The stage is very flat and must be virtually certain to end in a bunch sprint. Mark will be determined to win the stage and wear the leader's Yellow Jersey for the first time in his career. If he succeeds he will have worn the leader's jersey in the three major Tours. Winning in Bastia would take his all time T de F stage wins to 24 – only 10 behind the legendary Eddy Merckx, the longtime holder of the most stage wins. Currently Mark needs just five more stage wins before he matches second placed Bernard Hainault.     

When Cav sets his sights on a win he normally makes it. However, the first stage of the Tour can be very nervous with the likelihood of crashes, so good positioning – certainly – and luck – possibly – may well play their part. At this year's Giro d'Italia Mark won five stages plus the Red Points Jersey, so he is just as fast as ever. But for the Tour the competition in the sprints is going to be intense. Among Mark challengers will be Tyler Farrar, Marcel Kittel, John Degenkolb, Peter Sagan, Nacer Bouhanni, Matthew Goss, Edvard Boassen Hagen and André Griepel. 

Can't wait for the off! Further Tour posts during this week.    

Follow the Tour on Steephill-TV also the Tour's official site.   

All time stage winners now complete from 1903 to 1975 plus most of the recent winners.  

Friday, 21 June 2013

Bourguel: Portes Ouvertes this weekend: 22nd-23rd June

Samedi 22 juin
Maison Audebert in the town of Bourgueil – just up from Café de la Promenade 
20, avenue Jean Causeret - 37140 Bourgueil   

Samedi 22 et dimanche 23 juin:
Domaine Nathalie et David Drussé 

1, impasse de la Villatte sur la D35
37140 Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil  

Domaine des Vienais 
Gérard et Marie-Christine Poupineau
3, rue des Lavandières – 37140 Benais  
Tel: 02 47 97 35 19