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

Friday, 23 June 2017

Wine tourism: les jeudis du vin de l'AOC Chinon from 13th July to 7th September

Press release from Vins de Chinon @Thursday tastings:

Forteresse royale et AOC Chinon, l'histoire en partage
Que peuvent avoir en commun la forteresse royale et les vins de Chinon ? Si la pierre tendre de tuffeau a permis de batir les plus beaux chateaux de la Loire, elle est aussi celle qui donne aux vins de Chinon un certain caractère. Un sous-sol et une histoire en héritage qui montrent que l'architecture et le vin sont bien affaire de patrimoine*. Un patrimoine vivant que les vignerons de Chinon partagent volontiers avec les visiteurs partis à l'assaut de la forteresse, chaque jeudi de l'été.

9 jeudis 9 vignerons pour découvrir les vins de Chinon avec ceux qui les font !

Du 13 juillet au 7 septembre 2017, chaque jeudi après-midi à la forteresse royale de Chinon
A l'image du Val de Loire, Chinon produit des vins raffinés, élégants, parfois aussi puissants que sa forteresse ! Une richesse que l'AOC Chinon propose de faire découvrir aux visiteurs pendant 9 jeudis avec 9 vignerons de Chinon qui se relaient autour de dégustations et d'échanges. Une facon de mieux appréhender un territoire avec ceux qui le font : rencontrer un vigneron, c'est toujours une aventure privilégiée ; un échange aussi fructifère que les cépages Cabernet Franc ou Chenin donnent une gamme variée de vins rouge, rosé ou blanc friands, légers ou au contraire structurés selon l'empreinte que le vigneron a voulu leur donner. 

Déguster du Chinon depuis la forteresse, c'est aussi, fouler les terres des rois Charles VII, Henri II Plantagenêt et aiguiser son palais dans un cadre royal, faire un premier pas vers l’esprit, si vivant, de la "Rabelaisie" en embrassant une vue à couper le souffle sur la ville et les paysages tant chéris par Rabelais, ce géant chinonais humaniste qui marqua à jamais ses nombreux héritiers littéraires. 

Boire du Chinon à la source, c'est enfin permettre aux 173 vignerons de l'appellation, de récolter pleinement le fruit de leur travail, de participer à une économie réelle et vivante qui emploie près de 800 personnes sur le chinonais et de maintenir 2400 hectares en production viticole.

* Reconnaissance du Sénat en 2014 : "le vin, produit de la vigne, et les terroirs viticoles font partie du patrimoine culturel, gastronomique et paysager de la France".

Informations pratiques : Syndicat des Vins de Chinon tél. 02 47 93 30 44 / 

Dégustation gratuite et vente des vins sur place et gourmandises dans l'enceinte de la forteresse Droit d'entrée à la forteresse : Plein tarif : 8,5 € / Tarif réduit : 6,5 € / Gratuit : enfant - 7ans 

 Part of the Château of Chinon

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Tim Stanley Clarke – Rest in Port

Very shocked and saddened to hear that Tim Stanley Clarke, one of the great characters of the UK wine trade and great Port lover and expert, died last night. Tim had a great sense of humour and enjoyed jolly japes. On a personal level he was very supportive of my exposure of wine investment frauds.

I have fond recollections of a memorable trip with Tim to visit Bouchard Père et Fils following its takeover by Henriot. We flew back from Dijon and it was some time before the ban on taking liquids on planes. Since our flight departed around lunchtime Tim had bought various patés etc plus at least two bottles of Bouchard Burgundy – a well chilled white and a red plus glasses – allowing us to have a very enjoyable lunch at the back of the plane!   

Here are a series of photos I took of Tim at the Circle of Wine Writers' Christmas Party in December 2013 hosed by Swiss Wine. I hope they capture some of the essence of TSC.  

Tim's bio on Linkedin 

News report in The Drinks Business

We will certainly miss you Tim!  

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Saumur Champigny's 60th anniversary celebrations: Les Grandes Tablées 2nd & 3rd August 2017

The 18th edition of Saumur Champigny's Les Grandes Tablées will be held on Wednesday 2nd August and Thursday 3rd August. This year there will be more than two kilometres of tables for the expected 6000 diners. 

This edition marks the 60th anniversary of the creation of the Saumur Champigny appellation or 'pour ses 3 fois 20 ans as the producers prefer to have it. The appellation came into force on 31st December 1957. 

The meal starts at 7pm and costs 13€ and an engraved tasting glass is a further 5€ (bought on the night). Meal reservations from the Saumur Tourist Office, Quai Carnot, 49400 Saumur. Tel or on line: 

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Left the Loire .... back in London

We left the Loire this morning and are now back in London  along with warnings of high levels of pollution tomorrow. To be fair there were already today warnings in Rouen of high levels of pollution and the need to take precautions. Please follow Sadiq Khan's advice to take care.

 Just cloud or a brown, grey cloud 
menacing the City of London?

Monday, 19 June 2017

Brexit: the lunatics set sail for Brussels

Today the UK started its divorce process from the European Union – the lunatics led by David Davis sailed into Brussels with a leaky boat. It is barely two weeks since Theresa's cynical attempt to grab a substantial majority by holding a quite unnecessary election failed spectacularly. May has been humiliated as much by the unbeliveably dreadful 

Not only, following the election, does David Davis and the UK Government have no mandate for any kind of Brexit but Davis appears to be incapable of negotiating his way out of a paper bag even with the benefit of SatNav. 

May and her Government appear not or are deliberately ignoring that the popular mood in the UK looks to be moving away from Brexit as the economic and other disadvantages become increasingly apparent. 

Both the French and Germany Governments have offered us a way out with the option for us to change our minds. I fear, however, for the moment our politicians – both Conservative and Labour – are too stupid and blinkered to grasp this gift horse with both hands. Jeremy Corbyn's – 'Brexit for the many' is as stupid as May's 'Brexit means Brexit'.

Hopefully in the time that remains between now and March 2019 when the divorce is due to be finalised, politicians will wake up and realise that the electorate is likely to severely punish fools and liars who set out to make them poorer long term. 

There is still time to own up and admit Brexit is a terrible idea and instead decide to stay within a thriving EU.       

Sunday, 18 June 2017

2017 Fête des Vins, Boulevard Napoléon, La Livinière, Minervois

 Trevor and Fergus – spud maestros

 Phew it's hot!
 John and Trevor: the quail gatherers

Some photos from yesterday's Fête des Vins @Boulevard Napoléon, La Livinière, Minervois. It was very hot and Fergus, John and Trevor did a sterling job looking after the barbecue despite the intense heat from both the sun and the fire. 

Delicious menu: brains on toast, barbecued quail, Cantal Salers and cherries accompanied by wines from Boulevard Napoléon and some other growers. The Boulevard Napoléon 2014 Grenache Gris and 2014 Bien Autre, the second wine in their red stable, were especially good.     


Fergus + Benji  – a tired and 
emotional part of the event....

Trevor + phone 

Sheathing the tongs

Chef John 

Winemakers Benji and Joseph
modelling their regulation blue shirts
 Daniel dealing with a persistent photographer 

... but unable to resist soon relents 

 Kitty – above and below

 Brains on toast

A table (above and below)


New York to the Minervois for a weekend 

Trevor and Nicky's neighbours in Homps
(above and below)


 The speeches were a tad long this year.......

Saturday, 17 June 2017

St John's Fête des Vins – Boulevard Napoleon: eve of fête paella

It was paella evening (Friday) on the eve of Boulevard Napoleon's annual Fête des Vins. Some photos from the event.

John serving up with Trevor as 
Mr Portion Control and i/c parsley

John – the paella king

Counting to five 

Fergus Henderson



 Bob + Lars 
 Derek finds the Minervois relaxing

Friday, 16 June 2017

Parkinson's grand cru fundraising ride: we crossed the finishing line

Riders and our helper with Fergus Henderson:
Jim, Lynda, Fergus, Carole and Max

Soon after 11am this morning we completed our fundraising ride for Parkinson's UK when we arrived at Ostal Cazes in La Livinière, Minervois. Although we actually started at Lafite, we rode past the entrance to Lynch Bages as well as the Hotel Cordeillan-Bages on our way out of Pauillac on Monday, so we essentially rode from Cazes to Cazes.

We set off a little after 9am from La Cité of Carcassonne. After a short ride on the busy main road from Carcassonne to Thébes, we enjoyed quiet roads through the Minervois passing by Laure-Minervois.

The fundraising total continues to rise – we are close to £5000 with gift and have crossed the £4K mark without the aid. Current total is £4075.00 and £4843.75 if you include gift aid. We are very grateful to our 98 donors! We are still aiming to reach £6000.

To donate please click here. Many thanks – together we make a difference.   

 Jim and Carole outsi Carcassonne  

 Lynda and Carole @La Cité