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, 30 April 2014

Decanter World Wine Awards: Day One for Loire

Chris Kissack

The Loire panel had a good day yesterday@the Decanter World Wine Awards 2014 starting with some sparkling wines, then onto Muscadet before progressing to a range of Sauvignon Blancs. The Sauvignons ranging from IGPs through Touraine to Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé. We ended with a short flight of various reds mainly Pinot Noir based. Although we didn't award any golds, we found a number of silver, bronze and commended wines. We quickly got to grips with our iPads with only the occasional technical fault holding us up.

Unfortunately Nigel Wilkinson is ill, so his place on the panel was taken by Stephen Skelton MW.  Chris Kissack and Stephen Skelton MW will be on today's panel along with Chris Hardy from Majestic.   

Rebecca Palmer 

Stephen Skelton MW

Chris Hardy

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Decanter World Wine Awards: 2014 – first day of judging

Tobacco Dock

Decanter World Wine Awards: Loire judging starts today
Off to Tobacco Dock, the new home for the Decanter World Wine Awards, this morning for the first day of judging this year's Loire entries. Overall more than 15,000 wines have been entered for 2014 DWWA. Fortunately the journey from Forest Hill to Wapping is on the Overground, which is not affected by the Tube strike.

As well as the change of venue another big innovation this year is that all the scores and tasting notes will be entered by judges using iPads.

On my distingished panel today are:

  Nigel Wilkinson (RSJ Restaurant, Waterloo, London)

Monday, 28 April 2014

Date for the diary: Fête de la nature Sunday 25th May – Bourgueil

Dégustation le dimanche 25 mai 2014 de 10h à 13h 50 vignerons bios de 37,41 et 49
Place des Halles
37140 Bourgueil

Some Details here.

Sunday, 27 April 2014

News update on 1855 – the frauds appear to continue!

Domaine de Chevalier, Pessac-Léognan 

Ordered: 1 bouteille Domaine de Chevalier 2007 – Pessac Léognan rouge : 39,95 € 

A very recent article in Que Choisir demonstrated clearly that the difficulties and frauds associated with 1855 continue even though the company is in administration. Through an intermediary Que Choisir placed an order for wine that should have been delivered within 24 hours – the wine was supposed to be in stock and available. However, a month later they were still waiting delivery of their wines. Impossible, of course, to contact anyone at 1855.

Hardly surprising as serial fraudsters Emeric Sauty de Chalon (Président du conseil d'administration) and Fabien Hyon (Directeur général) have been retained to run the company despite the very long litany of complaints and a host of legal actions against 1855! Friends in high places?  

Que choisir article:


La coupe est pleine

Que Choisir alerte régulièrement ses lecteurs sur les pratiques commerciales douteuses de Malgré plusieurs procédures en cours (dont une plainte déposée par l’UFC-Que Choisir), ce site de vente de vin en ligne est toujours en droit de poursuivre son activité. Actuellement en redressement judiciaire, la société est en période d’observation. Honore-t-elle pour autant ses commandes ? Pas vraiment.'

Curiously within ten hours of this article appearing on line three of the four wines ordered were delivered. I suspect if it wasn't for the article the person who had ordered the wines would still be waiting for them to be delivered. In any case 1855 – Hyon and and de Chalon – were only able to cobble together three of four wines ordered – all, of which, were supposed in stock. Arnaque toujours! 

The other news is that finally a preliminary investigation into the 1855 fraud has been set up. I don't hold up much hope that both Emeric Sauty de Chalon and Fabien Hyon will be brought to justice as I suspect they still have well-connected friends in high places providing them with protection. 

There is also an interesting interview here with Hélène Poulou, the Bordeaux lawyer who represents some 300 fleeced clients. Also here there are further reflections on the persuasive charm of fraudster Emeric Sauty de Chailon.

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Rosie and Richard's wedding: 25th April 2014


The vows: Richard promises to share 
the last drop of his favourite wine with Rosie

Earlier: waiting for the bride – 
"Are you sure she put the right date in the diary?" – Registrar

1926 Roller

 Richard and Rosie with Richard's grandfather, 
who was also celebrating his 95th birthday

 Seating plan

 Richard's father 

Rosie's mum with hat ...

... and without 
Richard's mother

Rosie's father

 The best man laying it on the line ....

Three candles to mark 95 years


Time for dancing ......

 The confetti waltz....

Is the Groom's father having second thoughts?

"Go west young man!" – advice from Richard's sister and his best man 

Friday, 25 April 2014

Dudley Craig Wines: some bottles

Blaxsta Apple Icewine 2011 Sweden (trade prices: £25.95 375ml)

On Wednesday I went to the Dudley Craig tasting and had time to taste a selection before heading home for a delivery, so unfortunately didn't make the Hallowed Ground tasting of Australian and New Zealand wines on the same day. The most unusual 'wine' I tasted was the 2011 Blaxsta Apple Icewine from Sweden with strong, complex apple flavours and concentration – certainly intriguingly different.

The soft, ripe 2012 white Menetou-Salon, Domaine Philippe Gilbert showed well with just enough acidity in the finish to provide balance. This was one of the best wines of the tasting and showing that this is currently one of the top Menetou-Salon domaines.  

2012 Menetou-Salon white, Domaine Philippe Gilbert (£12.95)

2010 Coteaux du Layon-Beaulieu, Château du Breuil (£16.95 50cl)

Richard Dudley Craig has recently started importing Château du Breuil in the Layon Valley. Like many 2010s their 2010 Coteaux du Layon-Beaulieu is attractively textured with very clean honey and apricot flavours with a fresh finish.         

2011 Anjou Rouge, Château du Breuil (70% Cabernet Franc, 
30% Cabernet Sauvignon) £8.95

Soft juicy, easy drinking red Anjou from Château du Breuil.

Impressive Alsace 2011 Pinot Noir, Chemin de Pierres, 
Domaine Jean, Louis and Fabien Mann (£21.95)

2007 Jura Blanc, Savagnin, Cave Jean Bourdy (£17.95)
Marked oxidation, clean fino style with tannins in finish

2007 L'Extrait, Rivesaltes Grenat, Vaquer 
Attractive plummy flavours