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Ce blog est né de l'heureux hasard d'une rencontre, en 2010, au Salon des Vins de Loire d'Angers, autour d'un verre de rosé de Bourgueil - celui de Pierre Jacques Druet. Il y avait là cinq "plumitifs" du vin. Le rosé aidant, l'idée a germé de créer un espace commun.
Parce qu'à cinq, on peut aborder plus de thèmes.
Parce qu'on peut débattre.
Parce qu'on peut partager. Des coups de coeur, des coups de gueule, de l'expérience.
Et qu'est-ce que le vin sinon une boisson de partage?
De ces cinq, certains sont déjà des blogueurs confirmés, d'autres non.
Comme il y a les 5 sens, il y  a maintenant les 5 du Vin.

Les 5 du Vin



David Cobbold (Eccevino) est le plus français des journalistes anglais du vin, ou vice versa. Il a reçu en 2011 le Wine Blog Trophy pour  son blog, More than Just Wine.

Jim Budd, sujet de sa Gracieuse Majesté, est journaliste pour diverses revues britanniques. Amoureux des vins de Loire, il leur consacre un blog, Jim's Loire, primé en 2009 du Wine Blog Trophy.

Hervé Lalau est un journaliste français écrivant pour diverses revues et sites français, belges, suisses et canadiens. Son blog "Chroniques Vineuses" lui a valu le Wine Blog Trophy en 2010.

Michel Smith, PourLeVin, est un journaliste français établi en Roussillon, travaillant pour diverses revues et guides en France. Il s'intitule lui-même "Journaliste en Vins et autres Plats de Résistance".

Marc Vanhellemont est un journaliste belge travaillant pour divers magazines en Belgique et en France. Incontournable, sauf par la face nord.


Le Calendrier des 5

Retrouvez vos chroniqueurs préférés grâce à notre fameux Calendrier

Lundi: Cobboldday
Mardi: Buddday
Mercredi: Lalauday
Jeudi: Smithday
Vendredi: Vanhellemontday


The Famous 5

Vous voulez-en savoir plus sur nous? Nos portraits se trouvent en rubrique The Famous 5.


Les textes signés n'engagent que leur auteur.


Sauf mention contraire, les textes et photos sont protégés par le Copyright de chaque auteur, individuellement pour les articles signés, ou collectivement pour les articles coopératifs des 5 du Vin.

Jim Budd's photographs are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 UK: Scotland License.
20 avril 2010 2 20 /04 /avril /2010 07:24

Real Wine?

There is nothing like making a bold statement:

Les Caves de Pyrène invites you to

“Real Wine”
A tasting of primarily biodynamic & organic wines’


A statement


So what exactly is real wine? Closely allied, I think, to the notion of ‘natural wines’ – another concept that also begs questions. When followed to the letter the “Hands off – I leave the wine to make itself” approach leads to vinegar and probably poor quality vinegar at that.

Of course if there is ‘real wine’ there must presumably be ‘unreal’ or ‘imaginary’ wine. I guess imaginary wine means conjuring up mythical bottles you can’t afford. “I suppose we had better open another bottle of ’47 Cheval Blanc with the cheese.” “Oh no! Not the 82 Petrus again...”  

Today was Les Caves ‘meet the growers’ tasting. However it actually turned out to be meet a few of the growers as a different type of reality intervened: out of the 60 growers due to be present, 35 were KO’ed by volcanic ash.

Despite their strident trumpeting of ‘real wine’ Les Caves de Pyrène do have an exciting stable of producers. It is always interesting tasting ‘real’ or ‘natural’ wines as they often challenge one’s prejudices. There does, however, come a point where a wine’s faults overcome its virtues and topples over the edge into the undrinkable.

-1-copie-6.jpg"Leave the wine to make itself..."

As is my wont I largely concentrated on the Loire and here with one notable exception the wines didn’t remotely cross the line to undrinkability – almost all were decidedly mainstream. There were the good 2008 Menetou-Salons from Domaine Pellé, the attractive Vouvray’s from Pierre and Catherine Breton – way better then their Bourgueils, which were easily eclipsed by a range from Domaine de la Chevalerie. Present also was Thierry Germain with his Saumur Blanc and range of Saumur-Champigny. I worry that Thierry in his pursuit of freshness and lower alcohol is flirting with picking too early. 

The best range of wines came from Frantz Saumon – both the Montlouis from his own vineyard and the new négociant business – Un Saumon dans La Loire, which includes a Menu Pineau and a Romorantin. Both showing the precision that is a mark of Frantz’s wines.

So the notable exception? The white Sancerres from Domaine Sébastien Riffault where the oxidation submerges both the grape variety and the terroir. It would be interesting to sit down and drink a glass or so of these wines but, despite what the label says, they are not Sancerre.

Riffault’s wines are, however, nothing like as bizarre as two 2005 wines (Equiss and Franc de Pied) from Julien Courtois that I tasted last week. Apparently ‘white’ they were the colour of dishwater – a greyish tinge of brown that would look truly appealing in your best Riedel glasses! Clearly this is a hue, which is difficult to achieve in a youngish wine as these two wines retail at £31.60 (36€) each.

Chapeau to Julien for managing to sell faulty wine at a decidedly high price!      

(c) Jim Budd 

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17 avril 2010 6 17 /04 /avril /2010 06:02

Over the last week or so, some of the colour has drained out of the UK’s General Election – we cast our votes on Thursday 6th May. Sadly the only man I know who has ever marketed pipes of Ruby Port (Vintage Character) as an investment has been dropped by his party – UKIP (the UK Independence Party) – because of various skeletons rattling about in his cupboard. 

Don’t worry, this is not really a political post.

The colourful character is Stephen Cleeve, who was selected by UKIP to stand in the London constituency of Kensington against Tory (Conservative) grandee Sir Malcolm Rifkind.

Back in the mid-1990s, Cleeve was involved in two drink investment companies – the Napier Spirit Company flogging barrels of malt whisky as an investment and then Forrester & Lamego Ltd selling pipes of Duff Gordon Ruby Port (Duff Gordon is the second label of Osborne) and Cattier Champagne, on the premise that the millennium party would drain the world of Champagne, so that anyone holding stocks of Champagne would make a fortune. Predictably all of these get rich drink schemes proved to be completely illusionary – at least as far as the investors were concerned.

-3.jpgMisty Port

I have followed Stephen Cleeve’s career since 1996 and I have to say that I think that he has not been given sufficient credit for a couple of strokes of genius.

Firstly, the company name – Forrester & Lamego Ltd – combining Port hero Baron Forrester with a leading Douro town has a wonderful patina of age despite a registration date of March 1996. A patina not appreciated by the UK Department of Trade & Industry who successfully petitioned to have the company closed in the public interest in July 1997. Cleeve was later banned from being a UK company director from 2000 to 2008.

And the second stroke? To promote Vintage Character Port (premium ruby) as an investment opportunity. Ten years later, in 2006, the price of Vintage Character was the same as it was in 1996 or even fractionally cheaper despite numerous rises in excise duty.

Of course, I’m aware that investors, who paid good money for ‘investments’ that proved to be worthless, will be less enamoured of Cleeve’s ‘genius’.

Cleeve later went into selling plots of agricultural land on the premise that it would be soon rezoned as building land, so would rocket in price. Investors soon discovered that the prospects of large profits were also illusionary. The land plotting schemes were promoted both in the UK and Australia. They were promoted with such enthusiasm in Australia that in 2005 Victoria and Western Australia issued public warnings against them. 

Two things puzzle me in this tale.

Firstly, how did Stephen Cleeve think he could stand for parliament in a particularly high profile seat and not have his colourful past revealed? As soon as the news broke of Cleeve’s candidature, the skeletons inevitably came tumbling out and he was soon suspended as UKIP’s parliamentary candidate.

Secondly, Cleeve clearly is an energetic entrepreneur and I assume would achieve success if he chose more firmly based businesses. Perhaps the margins would be considerably lower…     

(c) Jim Budd

Hetherington: Candidate quits after probe


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1 avril 2010 4 01 /04 /avril /2010 01:38


Nicolas Sarkozy, the French President, yesterday announced a small but dramatic change to the way the French write. When using exclamation, question marks and colons, the French have always left a gap between the last word and the punctuation. Sarkozy has decided that this space is wasteful of scarce resources. All French government documents and announcements will cease to use this gap from 2nd May 2010 – following the May Day holiday.


The announcement was made on Sarkozy’s return from Washington after his two day visit this week to Washington that included talks and dinner with President Barack Obama.


Michel Prenneur, an attaché de presse at the Elysée Palace, made the announcement to the press on behalf of the President.


“Sometimes an apparently small change can effect a huge difference to making the way we live more ecologically sustainable and to reduce our carbon footprint.

The French system of writing with frequent gaps between words and punctuation wastes an enormous amount of paper. I am today announcing an end to ‘les espaces d’interrogation et d’exclamation’. From 2nd May 2010 all Government departments will use ungapped punctuation. From the start of the new education year in September 2010 all schools will teach the new system. The French government is in discussion with newspaper groups and publishing companies with a view to them making this change as soon as is practical. I would urge the French people to join us in changing the way we write.

By making this change the French administration – both national and regional  – will save an estimated 18 million tonnes of paper annually. Over 10 years this saving will equate to 1000 ha of forest saved from being pulped.

The French government has been in close contact with L'Académie française over this necessary change and I’m very pleased that they have given it their full approval. I was amazed to learn from their president that the French version of Leo Tolstoy’s epic novel War and Peace is 29 pages longer than the Russian and English editions purely because of our special system of punctuation.

Our system of gapped punctuation was introduced during the Directory in early 1796 as it was crucial that new documents could be easily distinguished from those of the Ancien Régime, which did not use gapped punctuation. Over 200 years later it is time to make another change to une écriture plus durable.”

Jim Budd  

(This is a translation from the text in French issued by the Elysée Palace on 31st March 2010.) 

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9 mars 2010 2 09 /03 /mars /2010 01:09
A gold plated vehicle for potential fraud

BMWEnPas.jpgA scamster's dream...

At the end of this month many of the world’s fine wine merchants and wine journalists will be in Bordeaux to taste pre-pubescent 2009 Bordeaux en primeurs. The Bordeaux hype machine, already cranking up, will accelerate though the gears and the annual en primeur waltz will be underway.

A waltz, so bizarre and ritualised, that even the most convoluted animal courtship dance (http://www.freeradicalsmag.com/2009/12/02/love-on-the-wing/) looks natural.

All great fun, of course, for this amused spectator who has no intention of buying – why would I want to extend the Bordelais a two-year interest free loan?

It will be a lot less fun for those, who two years from now find themselves ripped off. For let’s be clear if you wanted to design the perfect vehicle for fraud it would be Bordeaux en primeur. I should add – perfect for potential fraud – for many who pay up front for their 2009 Bordeaux en primeur will, in due time (2012), receive their wine.

Sadly there will be some wine lovers whose interest free two-year loan will turn into a donation. Their certificate of ownership will turn out to be worthless because the company they dealt with either failed to pass on their money or didn’t even bother to order the wine.

The two years, while your 2009 Bordeaux matures, whether in historic cellars or in the new palaces of bling, will give criminals plenty of time to bank your money, buy a supercharged motor and be over the hills and far way by the time you realise you have been royally stuffed.

Just in case you think I’m scaremongering a court case starts in early June at St Albans County Court. The prosecution will allege that the defendants pocketed over £2 million in a simple scam: they sold 2005s Bordeaux en primeur and just trousered the money.

There is inherent risk in Bordeaux en primeur – much can change in two years. Even the most sympathetic liquidator cannot identify your dozen prized bottles in the liquid in a 225-litre barrique Bordelais and title doesn’t pass from the producer until the wine leaves the château.

If you must buy Bordeaux en primeur buy from established wine merchants – but make sure you check them out – and never listen to a cold calling snake oil salesman.        
(c) Jim Budd
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2 mars 2010 2 02 /03 /mars /2010 01:39
On 13th February Hervé wrote about a Chilean website using his work without permission:

‘It can be fun to surf and the web. Imagine you discover one of your posts on another blog, and in another language.

That's what I did. Here's the result. Am I flattered or angered? Who cares, except me?’

Hervé illustrates one of the problems with the internet – it is so easy to borrow or reuse both text and pictures without permission. Often the author or the photographer will have no idea that their work has been used elsewhere without permission being sought.

‘Flattered or angered?’ Difficult to have a hard and fast rule as it really depends upon the context. Is it in a collection of press cuttings? Or is it a tasting note that has been pressed into use by a wine merchant or supermarket on their website or in-store? Or a photo downloaded and used in a magazine?

Few of us I think would object to find our words included in a collection of press cuttings. Ideally there will be a link to the writer’s blog or website, so that they can benefit from some additional traffic.

Whereas a photo used without permission? As far as I’m concerned if the use is non-commercial then I don’t have problem as long as a credit is given, which is why I use a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial licence. For commercial use then I want a fee, which in these days of digital photos can be a problem. From time to time I get requests for photos to be used in books or promotional materials. Quite often there is an assumption that I will be prepared to let them be used for nothing but a credit.

“Oh we don’t have a budget for photos,” I’m told! Well if you don’t have a budget, don’t ask me for photos. Would it be acceptable to go to a restaurant order a meal and then say “I don’t have a budget for this.” It wouldn’t be long before the police were called!

A few years ago at a London tasting I happened to pick up a wine magazine. Glancing through it, I soon came across an article about the Lebanon illustrated by a very familiar photo – one of mine. No permission had been sort and someone had pulled it off Flickr site and put it into the magazine.

pm@Kefraya-aaKefraya, (c) photograph Jim Budd

As you can imagine I was far from pleased. I sent the magazine, which is no longer published, a considerable bill – charging for the picture and for breach of copyright. Had I not picked up the magazine by chance I would never have known.

Using tasting notes without permission can be very expensive as three UK wine companies – Concha y Toro UK, Direct Wines and Majestic Wine  – have discovered to their considerable cost. All have used tasting notes written by UK wine writer, Martin Isark (www.isark.co.uk), without permission and often attributing them to vintages that he hasn’t tasted. In the last instance, Majestic used, without permission, a tasting note that Martin had written for a 2001 Vin de pays d’Oc on a number of later vintages which he had never tasted. 

Martin takes a tough line on this. On each occasion he has started court proceedings for breach of copyright and damage to his reputation when, after initial solicitors’ letters, he hasn’t received a reasonable offer of compensation. None of the actions have come to open court, they have always been settled beforehand. Each time there has been a confidentiality agreement, so I don’t have the details of the settlements. However, I believe that in each instance the agreement has been in Martin’s favour and he has been awarded considerably damages. Apparently on each occasion the total bill – damages and lawyers’ fees – has come close to or over £100,000. Demonstrating that some wine companies are foolishly careless or cavalier in their use of writers’ tasting notes.

Martin has been criticised by a number of UK writers for taking this action. However as he has won three times, it would appear that English law backs him on this. Martin points to money that celebrity chefs get for promoting food products in supermarkets not to mention shirt endorsements by footballers, cyclists, tennis players and the like.

Is there any a difference between a shelf-talker quote from a wine writer used by a supermarket to promote a particular wine and a product endorsement by a celebrity chef? 

So which of the 5 du Vin is the business manager, then?    

(c) Jim Budd
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28 février 2010 7 28 /02 /février /2010 00:01
It is always good when old acquaintances get in contact, especially if you have lost touch with them. So I was delighted to receive a few days ago an email – hotmail address, of course – from Raymond Affreux.  

One of the things I do to fill, occasionally gainfully, the hours between 8am and 1am is to edit Circle Update, the newsletter of the Circle of Wine Writers (www.winewriters.org). The Circle is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year as the organisation was founded by the late Cyril Ray in 1960. The Circle now has some 276 members around the world – largely Anglophone but not entirely. For example our distinguished editor and member of Les 5 du Vin, Hervé, is not only a member but also on the committee. 

Back in early 1991 I offered in a moment of extreme rashness to help with the Circle newsletter, which at that time appeared only intermittently. In just a couple of nano-seconds I found myself editor of the magazine and produced the first issue of Circle Update in April 1991. Nearly 20 years later I’m still in the editor’s chair and the 95th edition was sent out to members electronically on Friday  – we move with the times! But I digress – back to Raymond.

For many years Raymond wrote a gossip column – Les réflexions horizontales de Raymond Affreux: il faut gratter – for the Circle magazine. Mysteriously the copy would arrive at first in a brown paper envelope and then later by email – always a different hotmail account. A few years ago Raymond’s contributions became more sparse and more occasional and then, sadly, ceased completely.

Now that Raymond is back in contact may be there will be more gossip – perhaps some that can be shared in this blog.

But enough build-up, here is Raymond’s email:

Cher Jim

It has been a long time. How are you? In with Berthomeau, Lalau, young Smith and Vanhellemont, I see. An intriguing assemblage – although you have got fake Pinot Noir dreadfully wrong. But more of that in a minute.

Things have been difficult for me over the last two or three years. My sister, Soeur Grapes ran off with a sailor and naturally my parents – Mer Agitée and Pa Terrible – were dreadfully upset. They are getting old now, so this hit them hard. Fortunately my aunt –  Tante Pis – is now living with them. I’m now working on an exciting new project with my brother – Frère Enough.

-1.jpgThe Late  Modération (Photo Cute Cat, by Per Ola Wiberg)

The last bit of family news is that my cat – Modération died a few months ago, so now I have a new Modération. I decided that cats are not really ideal pets as they are too independent and often not around when you want a glass of wine. So I have a new Modération – a green parrot  (une perruche ondulée verte). Much more practical than the cat as la nouvelle Modération is always in the cage, so I can follow the precepts of la Loi Evian – à toujours consommer avec modération.

Jim, you’d be amazed to learn how popular a pet’s name ‘Modération’ has become in France. According to the latest French animal census: "Recensement des animaux familiers en France métropolitaine 2009", Modération is easily the most popular name for all types of pet in mainland France – 28% more popular than the next: Sarko.

-2-copie-1.jpgAnd the new one

I’m delighted with Modération as she accompanies my evenings with – “Santé”, “Un petit canon? Oui, pourquoi pas?”, “un verre de plus?” Il faut respecter des règles, n’est-ce pas?

Anyway, enough of me! Let’s turn to the fake Pinot. As I say Jim – you are utterly wrong. As ever it’s a cock up not a conspiracy! All down to a confusion of language as I’ll explain.

When the people from Gallow and Catty visited Seer Dark to set up the bike project they demanded 200,000 hectolitres of ‘Pinot Noir’ in a very thick American accent. Unfortunately Alain Guider and Pierre Murk heard – “Presque Noir”. Written down, of course, it looks unlikely but I can assure you this is what happened.

Guider and Murk were convinced that it would be no problem finding plenty of dark coloured wine. At this time they assumed that the new brand was going to be called Black Bicyclette – sort of retro with a nod at Monsieur Hulot’s holidays. 

Naturally Guider and Merc contacted their mate Claude Corset of Dukasse and in a very short time Corset, who knows the regional wine ‘par coeur’ was off scouring the countryside for as much dark coloured wine as he could find – Alicante Bouchet and the like.

Of course everyone was delighted: the French selling excess stock and the Americans with plenty of sweet, smooth-textured, deep coloured wine, which they assumed was typical of Pinot Noir from the Midi. After all, if they had wanted high acid, tannic Pinot, they would have gone to Burgundy! As I say everyone was happy until the French fraud squad carried out a routine check on Corset’s offices in Carcassonne, when the linguistic confusion soon came to light et la merde entra dans le ventilateur!

So now you know la vraie faible intérieure!

A plus!


Santé, Modération à tous.
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27 février 2010 6 27 /02 /février /2010 12:31
The news broke on Friday that UK’smulti award-winning wine columnist, Tim Atkin MW, was moving to The Times. Tim will have a weekly page in their new food and drink supplement on Thursdays. Jane MacQuitty, the Times long standing wine correspondent, will continue to appear on Saturdays. Tim acknowledges that a powerful campaign on Facebook – Save the Wine Column – played a significant part in getting the new column.

TimAtkinMWs.jpgTim Atkin MW

Earlier this month the Observer (a Sunday paper) axed Tim’s highly regarded weekly wine column, which he had written since 1993. Immediately Rebecca Gibb, a freelance drinks journalist, set up a Facebook group called – save the Wine Column. In just 10 days it gathered 1000 members and now has 1315.

Tim explains: “I got an email from The Times on Tuesday 16th February. They thought the support on Facebook was pretty amazing.”

Interesting to see that while Save the WC group grew, the Observer Appreciation group lost members following the paper’s widely criticised relaunch last weekend.

Although in the past it might have been possible to mount such a campaign but Facebook makes it much easier and easier to see the impact you are having. The lesson is clear – deride social media at your peril! But do I really have to start using Twatter?     

(c) Jim Budd

See earlier related post on Les 5 du Vin:
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23 février 2010 2 23 /02 /février /2010 09:52
Let’s be clear – Alain Gayda and Pierre Mirc should have resigned.

It is already six days since the court at Carcassonne delivered its judgment and handed down the sentences. The court found that Sieur d’Arques (Limoux) was amongst the principal actors in this very substantial fraud and fined them 180,000 Euros – by a factor of four the largest fine handed down by the court in this case.
-2Real Pinot Noir from Sancerre

It is clear from the judgment that the senior management of the cave cooperative Sieur d’Arques were up to their necks in this fraud. Yet following the damning judgment Alain Gayda, director-general of Sieur d’Arques, and Pierre Mirc, president, incredibly remain at their posts.

When questioned by the French fraud squad, Gayda and Mirc claimed that they had no idea how much Pinot Noir was produced in Languedoc-Roussillon and, consequently, had no idea that the volume of Pinot they were selling to their American clients considerably outweighed the entire production of the region. This – to use a technical term – is utter bollocks!

Why utter bollocks?

Because: Gayda and Mirc have worked in the region for many years and would without question know that Pinot Noir is a minor grape variety in Languedoc-Roussillon. Generally it is too hot here for cool climate Pinot Noir. This is like a film critic claiming that they have never heard of Brigitte Bardot or Paul Newman. 

Because: Pinot Noir features in no less than six Crémants de Limoux produced by Sieur d’Arques: Blason Rouge, Blason d'Arques, Bulle de Crémant Rosé (10% Pinot Noir – limited amount because PN isn't widely available in the region?), Diaphane Grande Cuvée and Crémant Sieur d'Arques Brut and Extra Brut.

Because: Pierre Mirc is a representative on the INAO, the Fédération Départmentale des Caves Cooperatives and the Syndicat des Producteurs de Vins de Pays d'Oc. He was also one of the group of six, selected in late 2001 by Jean Glavany, then the minister for agriculture and fisheries, to look into the future of French wine and how it should be positioned in 2010. The group was chaired by Jacques Berthomeau. It is surely reasonable to assume that Mirc was chosen by Glavany for his knowledge of the French wine industry rather than his total ignorance.
(NB: The group completed its task and produced its report ‘Cap 2010, le défi des vins français’ in 2002 long before this Pinot fraud was concocted.)  

Because: On 28th October 2005 Gayda received an email from ONIVINS detailing the amount of Pinot planted in Languedoc-Roussillon.  Gayda had asked ONIVINS how much Pinot was planted and passed a copy of the reply to Christelle Dell’Ava, who was then Sieur d’Arques chief oenologist in charge of the bulk Pinot market). Gayda wrote ‘confidentiel !!’ in the margin. What could possibly be confidential about the plantings of Pinot in Languedoc-Roussillon unless you were already in the process of setting up the fraud?

Sieur d’Arques had been approached by Ciatti, courtiers who work for Gallo. Ciatti Europe is based in Baillargues, some 15 kilometres east of Montpellier, and is a subsidiary of the Ciatti Company based in San Rafael, California. According to its website (www.ciatti.com) it ‘is the largest and most comprehensive bulk wine, juice and grape brokerage in the world’. Gallo envisaged buying 200,000 hls of Pinot.
The information from ONIVINS would have told Gayda that the maximum amount of Pinot that could be produced in the region was 67,680 hls. In fact the fraud squad estimated that total actual, annual production was between 55,000-60,000 hls.

Yet in 2006 Sieur d'Arques bought 53,989 hls of ‘Pinot’ from Ducasse, the Carcassonne négociant at the heart of the fraud. Then in 2007 they bought 75,376 hls from Ducasse. Sieur d’Arques sold to the Americans a total of 124,894 hls (16.6 million bottles). 

Why should heads roll?

Because: There is real concern that this fraud will have damaged the reputation of the wine of Languedoc-Roussillon, a fear voiced by the prosecutor after the judgment. In recognition the court awarded minor damages to the Syndicat des Producteurs de Vins de Pays d’Oc, the Interprofession des Vins de Pays d’Oc and the Confédération Paysanne. 

However, despite the size of the fraud ¬16.6 million bottles of false Pinot Noir for a total profit of 7 million euros, no one has resigned or been sacked. The message is abundantly clear: business as usual – just unfortunate we got caught.

Incredibly, the only person who has lost their job is Christelle Dell’Ava, Sieur d’Arques’ oenologist who passed on to the fraud squad the incriminating emails sent by Alain Gayda. The judgment notes that since her interview with the police in May 2009 Dell’Ava is no longer employed by Sieur d’Arques – her post was restructured! (il s’agirait d’une rupture négociée liée a une restructuration de son poste – page24/45 of judgment). Gayda and Mirc claimed that Dell’Ava’s testimony had little credibility because of her personal relationship with Claude Courset (Ducasse). The court wasn’t impressed with this either and made a particular point of appreciating that she had told the truth. (Restait au tribunal la tâche d’apprécier la sincérité des déclarations de Mme Dell’Ava – page 24/45 of judgment).     

Because: By their complicity in this fraud Gayda and Mirc are all too likely to have seriously tarnished the previously high reputation of Sieur d'Arques. Customers may well ask why should they stop at Pinot Noir? Are their Crémants really what they say they are – perhaps they add dirt cheap Italian Trebbiano or Spanish Viura to the blends?

Messieurs Alain Gayda and Pierre Mirc: for the good of Sieur d’Arques and the future of wine in Languedoc-Roussillon you should resign now.

After all, if all you can tell the police, “we know nothing about the grape varieties grown in the region” you shouldn’t be managing Sieur d’Arques and your 400 members are wasting their money paying your salaries.

(NB: This is my personal view and is not, necessarily, shared by my fellow writers in Les 5 du Vin.)

(c) Jim Budd
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18 février 2010 4 18 /02 /février /2010 21:31
Les grands media anglo-saxons ont peu traité de l'affaire du faux pinot noir livré à Gallo par Sieur D'Arques - ce qui est bien curieux, si l'on se rappelle que les premières victimes sont les consommateurs américains.
C'était compter sans "notre" Jim Budd, qui y consacre deux posts fort bien argumentés. C'est ici et  ici
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12 février 2010 5 12 /02 /février /2010 08:43
We are happy to announce the creation of a new discussion group on Facebook that's right in the centre of our interests: Save the Wine Column. Here's the link
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