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

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Remembering the 2009 Loire vintage – Le Pays Nantais

Chereau-Carré (Muscadet Sèvre-et-Maine) – offices  

Chereau-Carré (Muscadet Sèvre-et-Maine)

Melon de Bourgogne grapes from the 100 year old vines 
(above and below)

 Bernard Chereau

Bernard with the 2009 juice 

Melon de Bourgogne 

 The pigeonnier 

Domaine Pierre Luneau-Papin 

Pierre Luneau with a sample of Muscadet

2009 Muscadet, Domaine Pierre Luneau-Papin

Domaine des Herbauges (Muscadet Côtes de Grandlieu) 

 Jérôme Choblet and his family

Luc Choblet – Jérôme's dad

Monday, 22 August 2016

Hugh Johnson's Pocket Wine Book 2017 – 40th anniversary edition

Hugh introduces the 40th edition (Mitchell Beazley, 356 pages, £11.99) thus: 

'Everyone asks what to look for next – what country or region is on the rise? They all are: I can't think of a kind of wine that is getting worse - or any not getting better. My counter-question is does it really matter? Are you desperate to be the first in a new trend, or just to get a good bottle at a good price? Pat a premium for a famous name, of course, or something irrationally fashionable, but find a taste you really like: that's the object.


'The first edition of this bulging little book 40 years ago was something more modest. I eschewed the word 'encyclopaedic', or even 'guide', it was simply my Pocket Wine Book, in which I wrote the briefest-possible notes on all the wines I could think of that enjoyed any international recognition. They took up 144 pages, with lots of stylish white space around the type. The idea was that it fitted in your pocket like a diary: indeed, we had to go to a diary-binder to have such a lightweight book nicely bound.

That was in 1977. I was faintly surprised when my publisher asked for an updated version for 1978: that required much more work and research. I t only dawned on my then that I had stumbled on a subject with a built-in need for an annual revision. Built-in obsolescence, in fact – the marketer's dream.'      

Sarah Ahmed, Helen Baker, Amanda Barnes, Nicolas Belfrage MW, Jim Budd, Michael Cooper, Michael Edwards, Sarah Jane Evans MW, Rosemary George MW, Caroline Gilby MW, Anthony Gismondi, Anne Krebiehl MW, James Lawther MW, Konstantinos Lazarakis MW, John Livingstone-Learmonth, Wes Marshall, Campbell Mattinson, Adam Montefiore, Jasper Morris MW, Ch'ng Poh Tiong, Margaret Rand, Ulrich Sautter, Eleonora Scholes, Stephen Skelton MW, Paul Strang, Sean Sullivan, Marguerite Thomas, Larry Walker, Gal Zohar, Philip van Zyl.

Hugh Johnson's Pocket Wine Book 2017 will be published on 8th September. Also to be published by Mitchell Beazley on 8th is Hugh Johnson on Wine Good Bits from 55 years of scribbling (£20). 

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Eating well in Scotland: The Evening Flower – eve of birthday celebration

Last night we celebrated the eve of my birthday at The Evening Flower – the café in Newtonmore that is The Wild Flour during the day. The Evening Flower runs on Friday and Saturday and is really excellent with the great advantage that you can bring your own wine, beer etc.

We were a party of 16 – family and friends. Our wine choices were not fancy but instead assured value. Freixenet Cordon Negro Cava as the celebratory apéro.    
First courses: 
 Excellent seared Orkney king scallops, 
asparagus, garlic butter & capers 

 Seared wood pigeon breast, Stornaway black pudding, 
raspberry & balsamic dressing, pine nuts

Goats' cheese, toasted walnuts, red onion marmalade

2014 Muscadet Sèvre et Maine sur lie, 
Domaine de la Tourmaline, Gadais Père et fils


Lamb cutlets, creamy rosemary mash, mint & balsamic sauce

 Sage, apricot & garlic pork chop, 
apple & fennel seed sauce, new potatoes

Ribeye steak, roast tomato, flat mushroom, new potaoes
pea shoots, red wine & caramelised onion gravy

2015 Combe aux Jacques, Beaujolais Villages
Louis Jadot

 Chocolate and walnut torte

 Vanilla crème brulée with strawberries 

 Celebratory chocolate brownie with candles 
and a scoop of chocolate ice cream 

Not sure that he asked permission but was happy to share my birthday with Usain Bolt.....