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, 25 January 2015

Portraits of some Outsiders in Montpellier tonite!

Le Trio du Clos du Serres –  Béatrice et Sébastien Fillon et Nicolas Mollard

A few portraits taken at the Outsiders' tasting this evening @La Panacée – mainly producers but not entirely.

Ken Payton (film-maker, photographer, writer)  

Ken Payton has a photo exhibition called Traces that opens tomorrow from 18h at Scrupule, 26 Rue du Faubourg Figuerolles, Montpellier. The exhibition runs until 14th February.  

Nearly a selfie – my camera but  Ken took the photo

Jan-Ailbe, Château Rives-Blanques 

Nina Schomakers (Domaine Jonathan Pabiot)
Jonathan Pabiot as a slightly concerned gunslinger from Northern France!
A true outsider in this company!

Trevor Gulliver, leading London restaurateur 
including St. John Restaurant

Daniel James, Domaine Saint-Hilaire

Jon Bowen, Domaine Sainte Croix

Elizabeth Bowen, Domaine Sainte Croix
Robin Williamson, Domaine de Saumarez

Nicolas Mollard, Le Clos du Serres

Angélique Grijseels
Château de Panéry 

Rutger Grijseels

 Caroline Henry concentrating hard

Cyril Bourgne, Domaine La Madura

 Nadia Bourgne, Domaine La Madura

Loire 2014 tasting with Philippa & Charles: some nascent 2014s selected

Chris Kissack (The Wine Doctor) @ this week's tasting

Just a follow on from Friday's post about this first look, since the vintage, at 2014 Loires. As I reported they are generally showing well but here are a few wines I picked out from the tasting. Not I hasten to add an exhaustive list and with these very largely being unbottled samples these are not finished wines.

Some 2014s I picked out:
Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie, Château du Cléray: Pierre Sauvion
Muscadet Côtes de Grandlieu, Château de la Pierre, Domaine des Herbauges
Touraine Sauvignon, Domaine de la Bergerie, Jacky Marteau
Menetou-Salon, Le Prieurie de Saint-Cérols, Pierre Jacolin
Reuilly Clos des Messieurs, Natalie and Claude Lafond
Pouilly-Fumé Boisfleury, Alain Cailbourdin
Chinon (Rouge) Domaine de la Roncée, Baudry-Dutour 
Chinon (Rouge) Domaine de la Noblaie, Jérôme Billard
Chinon (Blanc) Domaine de la Noblaie, Jérôme Billard
Fiefs Vendéens Mareuil (Chenin-Chardonnay), Jérémie Mourat
Fiefs Vendéens Le Moulin Blanc (Chenin-Chardonnay), Jérémie Mourat 
Sancerre Cuvées Clémence and Flores, Vincent Pinard
Vouvray Cuvée Silex, Domaine des Aubuisìeres (Bernard Fouquet)
Vouvray Cuvée Ammonite, Château Gaudrelle, Alexandre Monmousseau
Pouilly-Fumé, La Roche Blanche, Laporte
Coteaux de l'Aubance Tradition, Domaine des Rochelles, Jean-Hubert Lebreton
Coteaux du Layon, Clos de la Bergerie, Domaine de la Bergerie, Ann and Yves Guégniard
Coteaux du Layon St Aubin, Les Varennes, Domaine Philippe Cady
(The three sweet wines above are all in the lighter apéro style. Other more concentrated wines will doubtless appear later.
1er Cru Coteaux du Layon Chaume, Domaine des Forges, Séverine and Stéphane Branchereau  


Andrew Nielsen: Savigny-lès-Beaune (Part 2)

Andrew Nielsen

2013 Beaune Premier Cru Boucherottes, Le Grappin 

(This is the second part of my profile of Burgundy and Forest Hill garagiste: Andrew Nielsen. First part is here.)

Andrew aims to bring additional value to plots of vines in Savigny-Lès-Beaune. Many of Savigny's grapes are picked before they are fully ripe as the majority of the producers are more grape growers than wine-makers. Le Grappin does not own any vines instead oversees selected plots and picks the grapes. Andrew is invariably the latest to pick much to the bemusement of his neighbours.

Le Grappin was set up in 2011. Initially Andrew shared winemaking facilities before finding, in 2013,  an old armoury under the remparts of Beaune, which he finds ideal because of its humidity and constant temperature. In 2011 he had two plots of vines, five by 2013 and six by 2014. Andrew has plots on Aux Fourneaux, which is a Premier Cru and the vines are 60 years old. It gets its name from the ovens at the top of the plot that were used to make charcoal.

The lower part of the slope has the village appellation. Here the humidity tends to be high, so rot is a problem, growers pick the grapes early. However, through leaf plucking, opening up the canopy and getting rid of the rotten fruit Andrew is able to delay picking here for a week or more later than the other growers.

"The fruit is so different from each of the plots," explains Andrew. "I look for guys who think differently, who don't have the group think approach to vineyard management."

Unfortunately, like the other producers, Andrew's plots have been hit by hail in each of the last three years being hit particularly hard in 2013 with 85% loss for his Les Boucherottes red.

"I want to make wines that tell stories - that have finesse and elegance," he explains. "Texture is also very important. We sort the fruit by hand - berry by berry, which can take 14 hours." Andrew uses an old wooden basket press, which he thinks gives better results, in particular, clearer juice than an air-bag press. "With an airbag press the juice and the pressure exerted both travel in the same direction, whereas with a vertical press the pressure goes downward and the juice moves sideways." Andrew presses his grapes hard.

We started our tasting with the rare 2013 Savigny les Beaune Blanc, which is soft and richly textured balanced by good citric acidity in the long finish. Almost 100% Chardonnay this is a field blend with small amounts of other permitted varieties including Aligoté and Pinot Blanc that also happen to be planted in this plot.

Then we looked at two vintages of Les Boucherottes - 2013 and 2012. The 2013 is noticeably the lighter of the two years but with an attractive Pinot Noir nose and a velvety texture. My guess is that it will be ready to drink young. The 2012 is the riper vintage with noticeably more concentration  and structure than the 2013. Les Boucherottes is just underneath Le Clos des Mouches owned by Drouhin. 


Saturday, 24 January 2015

Now in Montpellier for the 2015 edition of Millésime Bio. The fair starts on Monday but will be going to the Outsiders tasting tomorrow evening. Now it is a question of relaxing after a few busy weeks, so I'm opting for a few very early 2015 firework pics from Newtonmore at the start of 2015. As the second part of Andrew Nielsen's Le Grappin was written on the train journey from London today will be added to the existing post tomorrow.