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, 1 April 2015

Qataris invest in Epeigné-les-Bois: new church-mosque to be built

Flash actualité - Dernière minute: 

Qataris investissent dans Epeigné-les-Bois: nouvelle église-mosquée sera construite !

An early prototype of part of the proposed Eglise-Mosque
 inspired, in part, by the Shard in London 

The news broke very late last night that a group of wealthy investors from Qatar have bought land in the small commune of Epeigné-les-Bois at the eastern limit of Indre-et-Loire with the intention of building the first Eglise-Mosque in the Loire Valley. This will be part of a ground-breaking multi-cultural centre including exhibition spaces and restaurants and, perhaps, an hotel – but this is still very early days. 

Sandra Turbot, the group's spokesperson said: "We are very excited by the potential of Epeigné-les-Bois, which is so close to the world famous Château de Chenonceau – one of the most popular tourist attractions in France. I'm sure a lot of people will be surprised by our choice but our investors have a vision that will surely be realised and will attract visitors from all over the world. 

"A sole, small group of Qatari investors has just purchased land in the commune of Epeigné-les-Bois. It is close to but above the village so that our eglise-mosque can be seen from a significant distance – just like the Shard in London is widely visible and can be seen from many parts of the city. 

Our new eglise-mosque won't be as high as the Shard, which is 284.7 metres. The main tower will be 120.4 metres high.  

"We understand that the existing church needs urgent repairs. The Qatari investors may be help but as yet nothing has been agreed.   

"Unfortunately at this early stage there is very little more detail that I can reveal. Our representative in France, Pregado Brochet, has done a great job in these lengthy and delicate negotiations. He will be available for interview later on Wednesday."  
À suivre !
The existing church in Epeigné
(aboev and below)

 The Shard at night in London 

Light striking the Shard

The Shard under construction (November 2010)
from London Bridge Station

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

France 2 in Epeigné-les-Bois

 The broadcasters 
(above and below) 

Yesterday France 2 were in Epeigné-les-Bois to follow up progress on the restoration of the village's church, which is badly in need of repairs with leaks in the roof. 

Left to right: Serge Morisset, Philippe Gallet 
and Jacky Marchaux

Setting the scene

Pierre Tourlier arrives 
(above and below)

Filming with Pierre with Serge, Philippe and Jacky 

Pierre Tourlier is well known as the chauffeur of former President François Mitterand. With Philippe Gallet he is on Epeigné's Conseil Municipal. During the filming Pierre explained how he had contacted Président François Hollande and Fleur Pelleri, the Minister of Culture, is an effort to move the file on reclassifiying Epeigné's église up the pile. Apparently there was an attempt to get the village's church reclassified way back in 1948. Although this was unsuccessful the file remained in the state archives and I understand was recently reactivated. Apparently the reclassification dossier has now been discussed but to waht avail is yet to be known.

Then Philippe explained how he had become a friend of Pierre's and that now they had a ritual of meeting every day of the week (except Monday when our bar/restaurant is closed) round 8.30am at Le Lézard Vert for breakfast.  

Sign on the dotted line please!
The participants signing over 
their worldly goods to France 2....
Philippe hopes that he hasn't signed away 
his fishing rod which would rule out 
trout fishing visits to Lozère.
Equally trout might cease to be an 
endangered species there! 

Nacer Maghissene (Le Lézard Vert) with the TV crew 
(above and below)

Le Lézard Vert (2009)

 More to follow in further posts.

Monday, 30 March 2015

More photos from 2015 Vinaviva – Saturday 28th March

The Sales des Fêtes @ Saint-Etienne de Chigny
Claude Aupetitgendre, Domaine de Montoray
Montlouis and Touraine

I was impressed by Claude's Bulles de Chenin non dosé, Montlouis (9.30€)  – very clean and well made – and also the 2013 Libreval sec Montlouis (8€) with its attractive texture. This was the only still cuvée they made in 2013.

Guillaume Reynouard, Manoir de la Tête Rouge, Saumur
(above and below) 

Best wines 2010 Chapitre Saumur Blanc + 
2010 L'Enchentoir, Saumur Notre-Dame (12€)

Vincent Chauvelot, Châteaumeillant
My best wine from Vincent was 2012 La Vignonnerie
90% Pinot Noir, 10% Gamay (8€)

Quentin Bourse, Azay le Rideau
(above and below)

I first met Quentin Bourse, albeit very briefly, at La Levée de la Loire at the Salon des Vins de Loire. He is based in Azay-le-Rideau, and taking over the vines of Pascal Pibleau. Pascal has decided that he want to concentrate on his sparkling wine business – carrying out the secondary fermentation process and aging on behalf of growers. Similar to Berger, for example, at Saint-Martin-le-Beau. 

I tasted the 2013s from Pascal and then the 2014s from Quentin. This is an interesting development, worth following to see how it develops. I do, however, wonder about the price increase from Pascal to Quentin. The 2013 L'héritage d'Aziaum (Pascal), a blend of 55% Côt, 25% Cabernet Franc and 20% Gamay is 8.30€ for a single bottle. The youthful 2014 Aziaum (Quentin) – 70% Côt and 30% Cabernet Franc is 25€ a bottle. I can think of many of bottles from excellent Loire producers which are substantially cheaper than this.

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Some photos from 2015 Vinaviva – Saturday 28th March

 The stars who help to make the event happen

i/c car parking

Yesterday was my third visit to Vinaviva – a small consumer Salon now in its sixth year. It is a simple two-day affair in the Salle des Fêtes of Saint-Etienne-de-Chigny – a village to the west of Tours on the north bank of the Loire.

I try to get there soon after the Salon starts, so that I can get in about two and a half hours of tasting before moving on to have lunch at the Café de la Promenade in Bourgueil with Ludo and Sophie Ragot.

 Tanguy Perrault

Anne-Cécile Jadaud

I was delighted to discover a new to me and very exciting producer in Vouvray: Tanguy Perrault  and Anne-Cécile Jadaud of Domaine Perrault-Jadaud. I was very impressed with their range of Vouvrays – sparkling, dry through to a lovely sweet 2011. They started in 2008 and had just 2.5 hectares of vines in various different parcels until 2013 when they expanded to four hectares. Some of their vines are on the première côte above Vouvray. 

Also from La Roche Bleue

I was also impressed by Sébastien Cornille of La Roche Bleue, Jasnières, especially his very fine 2013 Clos des Molières, Jasnières which has concentration as well as being beautifully clean and precise.  

Alain Couillaud

Alain Couillaud of Le Haut Planty in Le Landreau in Muscadet was another interesting discovery as I don't recall tasting his wines before. I liked his 2013 Haut Planty (Vin de France) and the 2013 Vieilles Vignes Yonnières, Muscadet de Sèvre et Maine. The domaine is in its final year of conversion to organic viticulture. 

More photos from Vinaviva tomorrow.