Au revoir Nick
2005 – Nick Faith receiving the 2004 André Simon Drinks Book Award
The eminent journalist and writer, Nick Faith, died on Wednesday 26th September at the age of 85. He was born in London on 6th July 1933.
I was privileged to get to know Nick when he joined the Circle of Wine Writers around 1996. He was a great support for me when editing Circle Update, the newsletter of the Circle of Wine Writers. For a number of years he checked the newsletter for libel.
Nick was a leading authority on Cognac as well as writing detailed and impressive accounts of the Cruse scandal in Bordeaux in The Winemasters (1978), which won him an André Simon Drinks Book Award, and The Bronfmans: The Rise and Fall of the House of Seagram on the once powerful Canadian drinks family. Railways were another of his passions and interests
Nick will be sadly missed.
Farewell Nick Faith by Jancis Robinson MW
2018 Saumur & Saumur-Champigny
Last Thursday we made a quick dash through Saumur-Champigny to see how the 2018 vintage is progressing before heading off for an excellent lunch at Vincent le Cuisinier de Campagne , Ingrandes de Touraine.
We had time to drop in on three producers – Anton Sanzay, Domaine de la Bonnelière (Bonneau Frères) and Rocheville (Agnès et Philippe Porché). There was a interesting variation in picking times. Both Antoine Sanzay and Rocheville had finished – Antoine on Tuesday evening while Rocheville were right at the very end of picking. In contrast the Bonneau brothers were barely halfway through their harvest. Cédric Bonneau explained that they had started the reds a week ago and that the tannins in the skins and pips remained strong, so they were taking their time with still a week’s picking ahead. They still had all the vineyards on the coteaux (clay-limestone) to harvest.
All three were understandably very happy with how clean the fruit is this year with virtually no sign of rot. Serious losses from mildew has been a problem in parts of the Loire. None of these three domaines had suffered from serious losses. As elsewhere a limited amount of mildew damage was quite useful as 2018 was potentially a very big crop losing some grapes through mildew meant that a green harvest wasn’t necessary.
Driving through the Saumur-Champigny vineyards it was clear that there was still a substantial amount of grapes to be picked.
Paris-Tours Classic has Vouvray make-over
The Paris-Tours course from La Nouvelle République
Details of the white roads and steep climbs around the Vouvray Appellation
Doubtless inspired by the Vouvray articles on our blog, the organisers of the Paris-Tours classic bike race changed this year’s edition run last Sunday (7th October) from the traditional route. Instead of featuring some steep hills and narrow roads to the south of Tours, farm tracks and short steep hills in the Vouvray were featured in the last part of the race. The 2018 edition was won by Søren Kragh Andersen, who broke away from his two breakaway companions with 10 kilometres remaining to win on his own.
The race is often known as a sprinters’ classic. Over recent years wins have been shared between sprinters and breakaway specialists. If the change to farm tracks and short steep climbs is continued then it is very unlikely that Paris-Tours will ever come down to a big bunch sprint again as the farm tracks rapidly blew the race apart with numerous punctures caused by sharp stones.
The new route made great TV watching but caused a mixed reaction amongst the riders and their team managers – some loved it while others said that farm tracks have no place in road racing.
Paris-Tours was first run in 1896 making it one of the oldest bike races in the world.