Les 5 du Vin

5 journalistes parlent du vin

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Parkinson’s Pedallers – Pauillac to La Livinière: 12th – 16th June 2017


GrpoutsideFergus Henderson (middle) with Jim, Carole Macintyre and Max Poynter Hall
Fergus has had Parkinson’s since 1998

Group inside

Fishy riders
A fishy perspective 

Lafite – le départ…

… jusqu’a Cru La Livinière, Minervois 

From one famous cru to another: Pauillac to La Livinière
Our challenge is to cycle from Pauillac, close to the Atlantic coast, to La Livinière in the Minervois, not very far from Mediterranean – a distance of roughly 500 km, just over 300 miles!

Pauillac is the home of some of the most famous Bordeaux vineyards – Château Lafite Rothschild, Château Latour, Château Mouton Rothschild. Our destination is La Livinière where we will, hopefully, catch the Boulevard Napoléon Fête du Vin, celebrating the wine of Fergus Henderson and Trevor Gulliver, co-founders and co-owners of London’s St John Restaurant. The wine is made from their vineyards high up in the hills of the Minervois.

Fergus Henderson & Trevor Gulliver’s vines high up in the hills of the Minervois

It was at last year’s wonderful Fete du Vin at La Livinière that we came up with the idea of doing a charity ride and Fergus, who has had Parkinson’s since 1998, was the inspiration for selecting Parkinson’s UK as our chosen charity. Fergus is a well-known and highly regarded British chef and author of The Whole Beast: Nose to tail eating, which explains his philosophy and provides some of his innovative recipes that make use of all parts of the animal.

Another inspiration for our ride is a long-time friend of ours, Ivor Morris, who was a very able and keen racing cyclist and founder of the London Fire Brigade Cycling Club. It was Ivor who first inspired us to take up serious cycling and get into time trialling in the late seventies and the eighties. Ivor died in early January 2008 after suffered from Parkinson’s for many years. We have very fond memories of dropping down to Ivor’s to watch the short snippets of news on the Tour de France, long before it became a popular spectator sport.

Parkinson’s is a progressive neurological condition for which there is as yet no known cure although there are hopes of a breakthrough in the near future. Parkinson’s UK plays a very important role in supporting and promoting research and driving better care, treatments and quality of life for those living with Parkinson’s.

To date the full-time cyclists for the whole distance are Jim Budd and Carole Macintyre. We have the invaluable support of Lynda Maple who will drive the support car, carry our gear and, if necessary, rescue us en route! We are delighted that at least one brave soul, Max Poynter Hall from St John Restaurant, will be joining us for one stage of the journey. We are looking for others!

Why not give it a go for a great cause? Contact us by emailing budmac@btinternet.com


Virgin Giving site – every donation makes a difference!

Jim’s Loire

Parkinson’s UK

Parkinson’s is a progressive neurological condition. This means that it causes problems in the brain and gets worse over time.

Although there are increasing effective treatments, there’s currently no cure for Parkinson’s and we don’t yet know fully why people get the condition. (See Luke’s comments below.)

But there are lots of different treatmentstherapies and support available to help you manage the condition as well as continuing research.

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Un assortiment – la fête des vins, Born Digital Awards, crappy Lozère aire

Boulevard Napoléon: Fêtes des Vins, La Lavinière, Minervois 


2011 Grenache Gris, VDP de l’Herault, Boulevard Napoléon 


The Boulevard Napoléon plaque on the winery’s
street that lends the wine its name  

We have just spent a very enjoyable weekend in the Minervois guests of Fergus Henderson and Trevor Gulliver for their fifth annual Fête des Vins at their winery in La Lavinière. Gulliver and Henderson run St John, the well known London restaurant group, which includes their flagship restaurant – St John in Clerkenwell. They are famous for their robust cooking with an accent on offal and pigs’ extremities.

Gulliver has had a house by the Canal du Midi in Homps for 16 years and he and Fergus started their wine venture in 2011 buying grapes from the local co-operative. Last year they bought some parcels of vines way up in the Minervois hills that can only be reached by rough tracks.

The white Boulevard Napoléon is made from Grenache Gris, while the three reds are single varietal – Carignan, Cinsault and Grenache. These juicy attractive wines are very much ones to enjoy rather than analyse.


Benji – the winemaker


Trevor Gulliver

Fergus Henderson



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A75: Aire de Lozère – worth a detour to avoid

Driving back from the Minervois today we made the grievous mistake of stopping for a quick casse croute at the Aire de Lozère. Although the scenery is lovely the food offer is sadly dreary – a tiny selection of unambitious sandwiches, a sad attempt at a croque monsieur plus a few other bits and pieces that will only appeal in desperation. There is a also a shop called Lozère Authentique – a claim that is somewhat undermined by stocking Mars Bars….

There was a time when UK service station were rightly derided. Fortunately in recent times they have improved with outlets offering food from Marks & Spencer and Waitrose. However, the very best service station I know is in the Lake District in Cumbrian where there is a farm shop offering local meat, cheese and vegetables in addition to a interesting and tasty range of snacks.