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A busy weekend in the Loire

 

 

Un Bourgueil caché

Café de la Promenade in Bourgueil has long been a favourite haunt for Les 5 du Vin, although we have only once managed to assemble all five of us there at the same time. This was in June 2012 when we enjoyed a memorable weekend tasting and visiting in Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil and Bourgueil. This included the remarkable tasting of old vintages in the cellar of Lamé Delisle Boucard back to 1893 as well as the launch of the Conservatoire of grape varieties at Benais.

David was the first to experience the delights of Café de la Promenade and has been back on a number of occasions.

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David – the artist as a young man @2013 edition of Bourgueilothérapie 

We were across in Bourgueil in part for the 2017 edition of Bourgueillothérapie, which sadly proved to be a non-event despite still being advertised on Facebook. The concept was good linking wine, art with raising money for charities through selling the art produced during the event.  It worked for several years but recently it has been clear that it hasn’t attracted a sufficient number of people and the art was increasingly bought by the artists’ family and friends. If Bourgueillothérapie is to survive and prosper it needs additional people to provide fresh impetus to attract a new audience.

On Saturday night we had a very enjoyable meal at the Café de la Promenade, one of our Loire favourites. The Café in Bourgueil is now run by Norah and Sam, who have smartened up the establishment. This has involved making better use of the space available and well as upgrading the facilities including the toilet. 

 

We started with a shared slate of of charcuterie – a classic from Ludo and Sophie’s tenure. After our apéro – a glass each of Bourgueil Rosé – we launched into the delicious and concentrated 2014 Conversation from Domaine Ansodelles with its mass of ripe black fruits. You still choose your wine from the wine store at the southern end of the bar and there continues to be an interesting selection of wines – mainly from the Loire but also other French regions. 

2014 Conversation, Bourgueil, Domaine Ansodelles

Perfectly cooked faux-filet

Spicy chicken croustillant

A small selection of cheese 

The 2014 Conversation had been too delicious so we decided to invest in a half bottle of 2015 from Le Petit Saint Vincent. As an entry level wine with an emphasis on red fruits it was somewhat at a disadvantage in comparison to Conversation.

 

CRM finished with a killer rich chocolate mousse.

Bio Jours 17

2017 Les Bios Jours, Abbaye de Bourgueil
I spent Sunday morning at Les Bios Jours – an opportunity to taste wines from some 56 Loire organic vignerons. It was a convivial and relaxed occasion with time to taste some of the wines and take some photos before we headed off to Azay-le-Rideau and Château d’Aulée for Pique-Nique chez les Vignerons.

Benoît et Céline Blet
Benoît et Céline Blet, Les Terres Blanches, Oiron
A new discovery – they make an interesting range of Chenin Blancs

2017 Pique-Nique chez les Vignerons – Château d’Aulée, Azay-le-Rideau 

ChâteaupiqueChâteau de l’Aulée and a previous edition of the Pique-Nique Chez les Vignerons


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2017 a very friendly meal with our four neighbours from
Tours keen to share their food with us
This is an excellent initiative bringing people to
the vineyards to enjoy themselves!

Jim Budd


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Jim’s off on an adventure + Fêtes des Vins de Bourgueil

By the time you read this CRM and I will be in Hong Kong. The first stage of a trip that will take us into mainland China after a few days in Hong Kong. After time in China we catch the train from Beijing to Forest Hill, London SE23 – Trans-Manchurian, Trans-Siberian, Moscow-Paris, Eurostar to Saint Pancras, Metropolitan Line to Whitechapel and Overground to Forest Hill. 

 

15th Annual Fête des Vins de Bourgueil

This annual Fête des Vins de Bourgueil is highly recommended if you are in the Tours area on Saturday 25th March. It’s a great opportunity to discover not only the latest vintage but also previous vintages. Unfortunately because of the severe April frost last year supplies of the 2016 vintage will be in short supply for many Bourgueil producers. Luckily 2014 and 2015 are both good vintages, so this is a very good opportunity to taste and buy these wines while they are still available. 

Details:
À la découverte d’un terroir

Pour la 15ème année consécutive, les vignerons de Bourgueil investissent le centre-ville de Tours pour célébrer la fête des vins de Bourgueil sur le boulevard Heurteloup. Après avoir acheté un verre de dégustation (2 €), les amateurs découvriront le millésime 2016, pourront rencontrer 50 vignerons, et remplir leur cave des meilleurs vins rouges et rosés de l’appellation.

En présence de la Commanderie de la Dive Bouteille de Bourgueil et Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil et de métiers de bouche qui proposeront une restauration sur place, cette quinzième édition de la Fête des Vins de Bourgueil à Tours proposera également des animations pour les enfants autour du goût et de la dégustation.

Informations pratiques

15ème fête des vins de Bourgueil à Tours
Samedi 25 mars 2017, de 10h à 19h – Boulevard Heurteloup, Tours centre.
Plus d’infos sur vinbourgueil.com

jbglassescrps

 


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Ampelidae – an update

 

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Frédéric Brochet, founder and dynamic, driving force of Ampelidae 

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I have covered Ampelidae in Haut-Poitou on several occasions on Les 5 du Vin, so time for an update as the story has now moved on. Sadly it now includes Les 5 du Vin’s midwife – Pierre-Jacques Druet.

My initial post was during the harvest of 2013 and covered the decidedly fraught negotiations with the rapidly sinking Cave de Haut-Poitou. At the end of March 2014 Ampelidae took over the bankrupt co-operative. Ampelidae has taken over one of the co-op’s old premises in Neuville-de-Poitou (see below) and some equipment from the other facility in Neuville has been moved to Ampelidae’s winery facility at Château des Roches.

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Late September 2013: The shop + one of the winery facilities for the co-op
in Neuville-de-Poitou

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6th October 2016: same premises under the Ampelidae colours 

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Late September 2013 the closed main winery of the Cave du Haut Poitou
(above and below)

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6th October 2016: demolition of winery to make way
for new Lidl supermarket and other shops

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Existing Lidl shop opposite new site 

In addition to absorbing the bankrupt Cave de Haut-Poitou and many of its members, this year Ampelidae has moved into Touraine taking over Pierre-Jacques Druet’s bankrupt domaine in Benais (Appellation Bourgueil) as well as also taking over from bankruptcy the Touraine and Montlouis holdings of the Clos du Porteau based in Saint-Georges-sur-Cher (Aynard de Clermont-Tonnerre family). Ampelidae will be making the 2016s at both of these properties. Ampelidae also makes the wine for Levin, which is owned by UK hotelier and restaurateur David Levin, close to Montrichard (Touraine).

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The disappearance of the highly reputed Pierre-Jacques Druet as a vigneron is particularly poignant as it was his singular Bourgueil Rosé that gave the impetus to the creation of Les 5 du Vin in 2010 during a lunch in the press office at the Salon des Vins de Loire in Angers – a sad end for a very talented producer but poor businessman.

img_6347Some of the stock of Druet’s Bourgueil

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When Ampelidae took over Druet they inherited 80,000 bottles of Bourgueil of various vintages. Last Thursday I tasted several of Pierre-Jacques’ Bourgueils and overall I was disappointed as they were not at the level that I have always associated with Pierre-Jacques’ wines.

I was not really impressed by the entry level 2007 Cents Boisselées from a difficult vintage and also the 2000 Grand Mont – again not the easiest vintage – unlike Bordeaux – due to rain during the vintage. But most disappointing was the 2010 Vaumoreau, whose initial attractive fruit soon disappeared into a dry finish. The Vaumoreau has only just been bottled, so perhaps it has lost some of its fruit during the long delay before bottling – nearly six years after the vintage. Perhaps Druet just couldn’t afford to bottle this wine. I can only hope that the 2010 Vaumoreau is suffering from bottle shock following its recent bottling. Here’s hoping!

It is Brochet’s ambition to at least restore Druet’s Bourgueils to their past glories and aim to go beyond this. This is perhaps Frédéric’s most high profile challenge to date!

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Jim Budd


1 commentaire

A week in Touraine

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The D81 at Epeigné-les-Bois mid-morning on Tuesday 30th May 2016
After nearly 200mm of rain in 48 hours le plan d’eau burst
and flowed over the road.

Weatherwise 2016 has been far from kind to the Loire. The winter was very mild and this was followed by a cold March and April. In the latter part of April there were a series of frosts – especially in the early morning of 27th April. Although overall the 2016 frosts have not been as devastating as those of 1991, many vignerons have been very badly hit. Those, who have only lost 10%-20% of their crop, are counting themselves as lucky.

Sunday 29th May saw the start of the deluge here in the Cher Valley. The amount of rain increased as you went further east into Touraine. In Tours, for instance, it was dry on the Sunday for the annual VitiLoire, which finished at 6pm before the rain started to fall.By which time Loches had already been flooded with landslips and walls falling due to the intensity of the rain.

Incidentally the two-day VitiLoire attracted a record 40,000 visitors making it a marvellous shop window for Loire wines. This makes it even more inexplicable and short-sighted that a few producers choose not to attend in person instead sending someone in their place. On the Saturday (28th) I visited one stand where the person standing in only had a sheet of technical details as a guide and was unable to answer questions. What a missed opportunity!

Here in Epeigné-les-Bois it rained heavily and pretty continuous from Sunday early afternoon through to mid-afternoon on Tuesday. By Monday our neighbour’s low lying garden had started to flood and by Tuesday 10am the water meadows by our stream – the Chezelles – had been engulfed by water.

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Vegetable garden washed away for the force of the water

The Chezelles is only a small stream and drains just a small area, so although the floods were spectacular on Tuesday by Wednesday the waters had very considerably abated. However, the drama in Cher and other main Loire rivers was only just starting as draining a much larger area the river levels didn’t peak until several days later. Around Villandry , west of Tours, the peak for the Cher was Sunday afternoon (5th June). Ironically, of course, some of the towns downstream on the Cher have been seriously flooded by rain that fell upstream, while they had less of a deluge.

As far as I know few vineyards have been flooded, although there are reports of flooded vineyards in Chinon close to the Vienne. However, the heavy rain means it is difficult or impossible to get into the vineyards to spray against mildew. Fortunately until now it has remained cold but this week sees temperatures rising, so the threat of mildew will increase as everything is still very humid.       

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Lock house on the Cher just west of Château de Chenonceau

IMG_1507Flooding across the Cher Valley at Montrichard, where the
Cher burst its banks and flooded part of the town

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The D81 becomes a stream between Francueil and Chisseaux (Friday 3rd June 2016)
Between Montrichard and Bléré – all the crossings of the Cher were flooded 

•••

Frost damage
It is now well over a month since the big frost and from a distance many of the vines look OK with green shoots pushing upwards. However, close inspection shows that in the frost affected vineyards this growth is coming from the trunk with very little in the way of potential bunches, while most of the buds on the cane are shrivelled and dead.

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On a superficial glance from a distance all looks OK….

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On closer inspection the frost damage is clear with
only the occasional bud surviving on a cane
(Vines in Ingrandes-de-Touraine)

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Café de la Promenade – Nora and Samuel in charge
Les 5 du Vin spent an excellent weekend in early June 2012 staying at Café de la Promenade in Bourgueil, which was then run by Ludo and Sophie Ragot. It rapidly became one of David’s country homes.

During Saturday’s Bourgueillothérapie we dropped into Café de la Promenade now run since the beginning of April by its new owners – Nora and Samuel. The Café now has cleaner lines and is brighter following a new coat of paint.
The Café is open from Tuesday to Sunday lunchtime, except for July and August when it is open seven days a week. There are five rooms for those wanting bed and breakfast. Samuel is the chef, while Nora is front of house.
We haven’t yet had a chance to eat there but hope to soon put this right.  Reports are very positive as are recent comments on Trip Advisor.
Jim BUDD
JimVitLoire-Benoît Gautier

 

 

 

 

 


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2016 Bourgueil à Tours

Fête Bourgueils

Saturday was Bourgueil’s annual Fête des Vins right in the centre of Tours. They camp in wooden huts along the central alley of the Boulevard Heurteloup, just a stone’s throw from Tours main railway station, associated bus terminal and the tramway – also close to the Hotel de Ville.

This edition was the 14th. It was the late Jean Germain, mayor of Tours and from Bourgueil, who was the impetus behind establishing this very successful fête. His successor as mayor – Serge Babary – was present for the official opening on Saturday showing his continued support for Bourgueil’s fête.

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Serge Babary well wrapped up against the chill of Saturday morning 

Although rather courageously held in mid-March the weather is generally reasonably clement, although it was decidedly chilly early on Saturday before the sun came out. It was notable that most producers served their wines at room temperature i.e. freezing, while a few savvy ones, like Jacky Blot, brought hairdryers to warm their wines and so soften the tannins.

Like VitiLoire, held here in the centre of Tours at the end of May, the Fête des Vins de Bourgueil is a real success, an excellent shop window for the wines – attracting crowds of winelovers, particularly during the afternoon. It attracts a significant number of people in their 20s. With prices for Bourgueil starting at around 5€ and with two promising vintages – 2014 and 2015 – it is not surprising that many of the 41 producers present were doing a brisk trade in selling their wines.

I fancy that, like 1989 and 1990/1995 and 1996/2009 and 2010, there may well be a long running debate over the relative merits of 2014 and 2015. Certainly many 2014 Cabernet Francs from Chinon, Bourgueil, Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil, Saumur and Saumur-Champigny are currently showing very well with fine concentration of ripe Loire fruit and lovely balance, although without the richness of very sunny years like 2005 and 2009. This recalls that it was the excellent September 2014 that saved the vintage after a poor July and August.

With few of the 2015s in bottle it is still too early to be sure of the character of this vintage and impressions vary from vigneron to vigneron. To date it has plenty of charm but a little less concentration than found in the 2014s. Although much of the summer was very dry, there was rain towards the end of August and then in mid-September a period of very heavy, torrential rain. The weather station at Tours recorded 87.6mm for September – well above the average of 53.2mm. Almost all of this rain fell between 12th and 16th, only 7.2mm fell outside this five day period. There were places that recorded considerably more rain – over 100mm during the five days.

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2015 Cabernet Franc 

Although the Cabernet Franc withstood this onslaught remarkably well with no rot developing – greatly assisted by the sun and wind that followed the downpour – there must have been some dilution. Not necessarily a bad thing given the very dry summer. Whatever the relative merits of 2014 and 2015 the Loire has two good vintages to sell.

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Aurélien Revillot

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Sophie Raimbault

Among the producers, who impressed me on Saturday were: Domaine Ansodelles (especially 2014 Conversation), Domaine de la Chevalerie (especially 2014 Dyptique and 2011 Bretêche), Nau Frères (2014 Vieilles Vignes), Yannick Amirault (especially 2013 Le Grand Clos – impressive for such a difficult vintage), Domaine Menard (especially 2014 Les Jardins des Raisin),  Jacky Blot (especially 2014 Pied de la Butte, 2014 Haut de la Butte – both sold out), Domaine Dubois (especially 2014 Vieilles Vignes), Aurélien Revillot (especially 2013 Les Aubuis – success in a difficult vintage, 2014 Sur les Hauts), Nathalie Omasson (especially 2014 Vieilles Vignes – great value at 5€), Laurent Herlin (2014 Terre d’Adoption), Lamé Delisle Boucard (especially 2015 Cuvée des Chesnaies, 2014 Vieilles Vignes, 2011 Prestige), Audebert (especially 2011 Les Marquises), Domaine des Ouches (especially 2012 Les Clos Boireaux) and Domaine de Petit Bondieu (especially 2014 Petit Mont – showed much better than in a tasting September 2014, 2014 Les Couplets).

Santé !

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Armand de Tilly – les pattes du vigneron …..

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Clowns & Champagne, Vinovision, Fête des Vins de Bourgueil

Champin

Send in the sparkling Clowns!

I have to wonder whether the litigious Champagne producers, represented by the CIVC, were best advised when they decided to go after Champin – a fruit flavoured kids’ drink sold in Spain. Did the CIVC really think that a sweet, fizzy drink for young children could really be confused with Champagne?

Are there really some Champagnes with so much sugar added that they taste similar to Champin? Or was it the clowns on the Champin label that could create confusion?

On Monday 7th March the CIVC’s legal challenge was thrown out by Spain’s Supreme Court. The Spanish judges, unlike the CIVC, were not confused: they thought there was a clear difference between Champagne and Champin. The CIVC lawyers were told by the judges that any similarities between Champagne and Champin were « tenuous and irrelevant ».

Last year in Australia the CIVC failed in its bid to stop Jayne Powell using her Champagne Jayne moniker.

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VinoVision
Last week the first edition of VinoVision (Burgundy, Champagne Loire) was announced for 2017 – to be held in Paris running from Sunday 12th to Tuesday 14th February. For the first time there will be a wine fair in Paris for professionals incorporating wines from Burgundy, Champagne and the Loire.

VinoVision will be held at the Porte de Versailles with space for 650 exhibitors.

It will be very interesting to see how successful VinoVision will be and what the implications will be for the Salon des Vins de Loire, which will be held the week before. Will the larger companies, such as Henri Bourgeois, Joseph Mellot, Grands Chais de France and Castel, who have all deserted the Salon des Vins de Loire, now find VinoVision and attractive option with a good chance that importers around the world will be attracted to VinoVision in Paris?

Benoît Roumet (Bureau Interprofessionnel des Vins du Centre Loire): « The problem for the Salon des Vins de Loire is that by itself the Loire just isn’t big enough to attract enough foreign importers. Combining Burgundy, Champagne and the Loire and holding the Salon in Paris it should attract importers from all around the world. Alsace might want to be included in future editions of VinoVision ».

With the arrival of VinoVision there will now be four virtually consecutive Salons from late January 2017 starting with Millésime Bio in Montpellier (30th January -1st February), next Salon des Vins de Loire in Angers (6th-8th February), then VinoVision in Paris (12th – 14th February) and ending with Vinisud, now an annual fair, back in Montpellier (20th to 22nd February).

Also one mustn’t forget the ‘Big Daddy’ Prowein (19th to 21st March), Vinitaly (26th-29th March) and VinExpo Bordeaux (18th – 21st June). Then there are the various fairs in America and Asia.

Buyers surely cannot go to all of these, so will some Salons disappear?

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Invasion of Tours: 14ème fête des vins de Bourgueil à Tours Saturday 19th March

The annual invasion of the centre of Tours by the producers of Bourgueil – otherwise known as the Fête des Vins de Bourgueil – is this Saturday (19th). This is always an excellent opportunity to taste the latest vintage – 2015 on this occasion – plus there should be plenty of the very attractive 2014s to try.

There will be around 50 producers present.  Although these Bourgueil invaders don’t take any prisoners, they are ready to sell their wines.

The Fête is held in the central alleyway of the Boulevard Heurteloup, close to Tours’ main railway station. The event runs from 10am to 7pm and is free to get in but will cost you 2€ for a tasting glass.

The weather forecast looks pretty good – sunny but cold so wrap up warm!

ForecastjpgJIM BUDD

A hairy moment!


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Café de la Promenade (Bourgueil) changes hands

CafédelaPromenades
Café de la Promenade (Bourgueil) 
Ludo
Ludo Ragot

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Sophie Ragot

A magical weekend in June 2012 remains the last proof that Les 5 du Vin is not solely a virtual group as this was the last time all of us have managed to be in the same place and at the same time. We all stayed at Sophie and Ludo Ragot’s Café de la Promenade.

Since that date there have been a number of occasions when two or three of us have met up and, at least one time, when four of us gathered together but never all five, so June 2012 is a significant date in our short history. Should Les 5 ever gather again at Café de la Promenade it will be under new ownership as Sophie and Ludo have sold up and the new owners – Nora and Samuel take over on fish day – 1st April.

Café de la Promenade became a favourite with David and myself  – David leading and me following. In 2013 David was one of the artists who created a work of art during the 2013 September weekend of Bourgueillothérapie – an annual charity event organised by the Ragots to raise money for a succession of charities.

IMG_2515    Still life …. September 2013 

Café de la Promenade had a relaxed style of its own – rather far removed from traditional French cafés and hotels. It tended to be a place you loved or hated – certainly the reactions on sites like Tripadvisor were mixed. One of the things I particularly liked, apart from the selection of food served on slates, was being able to go to the cave and choose your own wine with 8€ added on if you drank it in the café, so avoiding ridiculous mark-ups.

Our 2012 weekend was memorable in a number of ways and not just for the amazing tasting at Lamé Delisle Boucard when we went back through the years to 1893. We had two very good tastings – one of Bourgueil and one of Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil. We planted our own vines along with others at a ceremony at Benais, which was attended by the late Jean Germain, then mayor of Tours. We tasted several 1976s including one at Taluau-Foltzenlogel with the late Joël Taluau. All well organised by Monsieur Bourgueil – Guillaume Lapaque.

We wish Sophie and Ludo bonne chance for their next adventure and bienvenue à Nora and Samuel!

HervéLalauplanting
Hervé planting his vine 

MarcVanhellemonttrous
Marco in a hole!

MichelSmith9.6.12s
Michel tasting 

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David tasting 

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A 1964 sampled @ the Café

JeanGermain
Jean Germain 

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Joël Taluau 

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Part of the cellar of Café de la Promenade

Headindown
The amazing cellars of Grand Mont

GuillaumeLapaqueFBGuillaume Lapaque

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The amazing Lamé Delisle Boucard tasting back to 1893