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

Thursday, 14 December 2017

leaf and groove, Forest Hill London SE23 – now open

 Leaf and Groove's exterior on Dartmouth Road

Our community shop Leaf and Groove opened on Saturday 9th December. It sells books, vinyl, CDs and DVDs to raise money for the Forest Hill Library, which is now run by the community.  Leaf and Groove was crowdfunded and relies on donations of books etc. 

As so often happens the opening was delayed as the premises that had previously been the Cabin Café and empty for some considerable time needed considerable renovation – not least humidifiers to dry the premises out.  

I dropped in this morning  and already there are a good number of books on the shelves, although this is only about a quarter of their stock – yet to arrive including a substantial quantity from the nearby Horniman Museum.  

 Shop's interior (above and below)

57 Dartmouth Road, London SE23 3XH 


Wednesday, 13 December 2017

André Simon Food & Drink Book Awards 2017 the Shortlist

The  short list for the André Simon Food and Drink Book Awards has just been announced. Congratulations to all of the authors shortlisted.

Shortlisted Drink Books 2017 
Bursting Bubbles
Robert Walters
Quiller Publishing
By the Smoke and the Smell
Thad Vogler
Ten Speed Press
Peter Liem
Mitchell Beazley
Miracle Brew
Pete Brown
The Way of Whisky
Dave Broom
Mitchell Beazley
The Wine Dine Dictionary
Victoria Moore
Granta Books

Shortlisted Food Books 2017
Gather Cook Feast
Jessica Seaton and Anna Colqhoun
Fig Tree
Nuno Mendes
Bloomsbury Publishing
The Case Against Sugar
Gary Taubes
Portobello Books
The Meaning of Rice
Michael Booth
Jonathan Cape
The Palestinian Table
Reem Kassis
Phaidon Press
The Sportsman
Stephen Harris
Phaidon Press

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Jane Anson: Wine Revolution – thw World's Best Organic, Biodynamic & Natural Wines

Jane Anson: Wine Revolution: The World's Best Organic, Biodynamic & Natural Wines, jacqui small, £25, US$35, Can $47.99

Jane Anson opens her book by citing the food revolution ushered in by the opening of Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California in 1971. 

'The idea of buying locally, cooking with seasonal ingredients, supporting responsible farming has become so accepted as to barely raise an eyebrow. And yet when it comes to wine, it is still considered geeky and kind of pointless to care about the same thing. After all, aren't all grapes organically grown in a field somwhere?

Well, the short answer to that is no. Just like much of the food we eat, plenty of wine is produced for a mass audience, with shortcuts taken along the way to ensure that they taste good without costing a fortune to make.

So shouldn't we start celebrating the wine makers who buck this trend, and instead apply the Chez Panisse philosophy to their vineyards? The ones who treat their workers fairly, reduce their carbon emissions, farm without pesticides? Or those who plant hedgerows to encourage biodiversity, use grapes that are indigenous to their regions and add as little as possible during the winemaking process?

There are plenty of them out there. Aubert de Villaine, Elisabetta Foradori, Pepe Raventós, Jean-Laurent Vacheron, Olivier Humbrecht, Eloi Durrbach, Christine Vernay, Nicolas Joly, David Paxton...these are winemakers who should be talked about in the same breath as chefs like Waters, Barber and the rest. 

That's is what this book is about – a celebration of those committed, dedicated producers. If their wines are here, it is because they taste brilliant, will enhance what you are eating and provide a moment of shared happiness with whoever you are drinking them with. But they also come with a story, from people who care about authenticity, and want to preserve the land that nourishes their grapes.'

Jane dismisses the simple idea that it is just a question of small versus big. 'What's important is that each winemaker supports an idea of farming that is respectful of the future, and looks to capture a snapshot of time, place and culture in a glass of wine.

The majority of the book covers wines and producers that meet Jane's criteria. It includes organic, biodynamic, natural, orange and low intervention wines. 

The recommended wines are arranged by style: sparkling & fresh, crisp whites; wine cocktails; rich and round whites; light & sculpted reds; full and warming reds; and finally digestifs. 

The long list of photo credits include: ziolaKim Lightbody, Harry Annoni, Eric Zeziola, John Carey, Marçal Font, Rocco Ceselin and and Claude Cruells.

This is a book to help you explore and discover interesting and sometimes challenging wines.