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, 24 May 2017

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

2017 VitiLoire, Tours – 28th & 29th May


The 2017 edition of VitiLoire is on this coming weekend – Saturday 27th and Sunday 29th May – in central Tours. This is the largest consumer Loire wine fair attracting producers (downloadable list here) from the Pays Nantais to Pouilly-Fumé/Coteaux du Giennois. Opening hours on Saturday are from 10.00 to 19.00 and on Sunday 10.00 to 18.00. Entry is free with just a small charge for a glass.
Vitiloire is right in the centre of Tours in front of the Tours mainline station, in the central alley of the Boulevard Heurteloup and the Jardin du Vinci.
As well as tasting wines they can be bought and there are porters that will carry your purchases to your car. Alternatively wines can be sent throughout France from as little as two cartons on six bottles.
There are also various food stalls mainly selling local specialities.
IMG_8464Vincent Simon
VitiLoire also involves 10 local top chefs such as Marie  (La Petite Cuisine, Tours ), Vincent Simon (Cuisinier de Campagne, Ingrandes de Touraine), Florent Martin (Au Martin Bleu, Tours), Olivier Loize, (La Mère Hamard, Semblançay) and Sébastien Leroy (patissier de l'Orangerie de Chenonceau), who give a programme of demonstrations over the two days.
There are guided bike rides, including one to Vouvray, as well as walks.
The first edition was in 2003 and VitiLoire has proved to be a great success. Last year's edition saw around 150 producers and 40,000 visitors over the two days. The weather forecast is for hot sunny weather with highs around 30˚C on both days.
Bruno Curassier, Domaine de la Grange, Touraine
Not a wedding but someone who 
will carry your wine purchases to your car
Catherine Dhoye Deruet, Domaine de la Fontainerie, Vouvray
LunchLunch in the shade
France remains on high alert

Tours mainline station

Monday, 22 May 2017

Parkinson's ride: les étapes, the stages: Monday 12th - Friday 16th June 2017

From one famous cru to another: Pauillac to La Livinière 
Our challenge is to cycle from Pauillac, close to the Atlantic coast, to La Livinière in the Minervois, not very far from Mediterranean – a distance of roughly 500 km, just over 300 miles!
Pauillac is the home of some of the most famous Bordeaux vineyards - Château Lafite Rothschild, Château Latour, Château Mouton Rothschild. Our destination is La Livinière where we will, hopefully, catch the Boulevard Napoléon Fête du Vin, celebrating the wine of Fergus Henderson and Trevor Gulliver, co-founders and co-owners of London’s St John Restaurant. The wine is made from their vineyards high up in the hills of the Minervois.
It was at last year’s wonderful Fete du Vin at La Livinière that we came up with the idea of doing a charity ride and Fergus, who has had Parkinson’s since 1998, was the inspiration for selecting Parkinson’s UK as our chosen charity. Fergus is a well-known and highly regarded British chef and author of The Whole Beast: Nose to tail eating, which explains his philosophy and provides some of his innovative recipes that make use of all parts of the animal.

Fergus Henderson 
Les étages/ the stages
Starting/finishing dates:
Monday 12th June to Friday 16th June

Monday 12th June
Stage 1: Pauillac to Sauternes 93.2 kilometres 64 miles (Approx 5h)
Confirmed participants: Carole and Jim
Support: Lynda Maple

Official start: D2 by Château Lafite-Rothschild

Tuesday 13th June
Stage 2: Sauternes to Agen 96 kilometres – 60 miles (Approx 5h)
Confirmed participants: Carole and Jim
Support: Lynda  
  Wednesday 14th June
Stage 3: Agen to Villaudric 94.2 kms  – 59 miles (Approx 5h)
Confirmed participants: Carole, Max Poynter Hall and Jim
Support: Lynda  
 Thursday 15th June
Stage 4: Villaudric to Castelnaudary 112 kms  – 70 miles (Approx 5h)
Confirmed participants: Carole and Jim 
Support: Lynda  
 Friday 16th June
Stage 5a: Castelnaudary to Bram: 17kms (1 hour)
Confirmed participants: Carole and Jim
Support: Lynda  
We would do the short ride from Castelnaudry to Bram to meet up with anyone, who fancies the final 32 kilometre stage to La Lavinière.

Stage 5b:  Bram to La Livinière 51 kms  – 32 miles (Approx 3h)
The final short leg to La Livinière
Confirmed participants: Carole and Jim
Possible participants: Kitty Cooper  + others we hope

Your opportunity to donate to help fight Parkinson's:

(Virgin Giving site – every donation makes a difference!

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Shanghai @ night with views across the Huangpu River

 Opened in 1994 the Purple Haze building was the first sizeable one in 
Pudong – extraordinary speed of development 

Some photos from Shanghai's waterfront showing the extraordinary that has transformed the Pudong district over the past 20 years or so. 

 Pudong – a forest of high buildings 
(above and below) 

 Flowers on the wall of the Bund 

Buildings close to the Bund on the Western Bank

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Netta – 93 years young @Fonab Castle, Pitlochry

Netta @93 years young

Special Macintyre day as Netta, Carole's mum celebrated her 93rd birthday with a special and excellent afternoon tea at Fonab Castle, Pitlochry

CRM and Netta


 Group – Netta, Ruaridh, Rowan and Susie

Susie and Rowan 
(above and below) 

 Rowan – 'young blue eyes'
Grandma Christine with Rowan


Sandeman Restaurant
James Payne, maître d' and sommelier 
at Fonab Castle with a bottle of 1982 Sandeman Vintage Port 

James Payne – Confrérie du Sabre d'Or

Wine storage @Fonab Castle  

 Original entrance to the castle
 – now a small reception room
(above and below)

.... with its selection of whisky

 View from Fonab Castle over the River Tummel

Friday, 19 May 2017

China – walled in!

 The wall snakes over the mountains

If in Beijing for the first time a visit to the Great Wall is obligatory even though it took us hours to get there because of the traffic. Despite the time spent in jams the Great Wall is spectacular and worth the effort. Parts of the wall are very steep, so the soldiers must have kept very fit! It is also an amazing feat of engineering but a certainly deadly one with as many as 400,000 perishing during its construction.

JB and CRM @the Wall

 CRM iFoning the wall

CRM on the steepest part 

CRM ... nearly there 

Local man relaxing on the wall