And we're off. Or they are off. Or some such thing. Saturday marked the start of the 2011 Giro. This year, The Giro will celebrate the 150th anniversary of Italian unification. The racers will ride 3,522.5 km and tackle nine mountain stages with 21 Category 1 or 2 climbs and seven mountaintop finishes.
But to start, a team time trial. For those not familiar with the sport, the TTT as it is known, features entire teams of riders racing against the clock rather than each other. Teams start at equal intervals, usually two, three or four minutes apart. The recorded finishing time in a team time trial is based on the 5th rider of that team. Therefore a team may choose to have a few of its riders take a death pull towards the end of the TTT event, in which the riders take as hard a pull at the front to lift the pace at the cost of exhausting themselves with no hope of being able to latch onto the back of the formation for drafting. They then drop back and leave the remainder of the team to finish the time trial.
Winner: To the surprise of exactly nobody, HTC won today's team time trial to Torino
Pink: Marco Pinotti (note for non-cycling fans, much as the leader of the Tour de France wears yellow, in the Giro the leader wears pink, the maglia rosa. In the past, this has meant that the Giro is K's favorite race of the season)
Region: 19.3-km from Venezia Reale to Turin beginning and ending in Piedmont.
Wine: La Torrazza Erbaluce 08
12.5% abv $21.00
Importer's notes: "Luigi Ferrando has long been the leading winemaker of the Canvese region in Piedmont where his family's winemaking tradition goes back to 1900. Like many of our other producers, he has strong ties to his local region. His attachment and commitment run deep, and have led him to collaborate with other winemakers and academics. They are responsible for discovering and preserving local winemaking traditions that might otherwise have been lost. His sons, Roberto and Andrea, now work with him on the estate, thereby assuring the continuation of the Ferrando tradition.
Around the village of Caluso they raise some interesting local grape varieties, and are particularly known for their Erbaluce di Caluso. Erbaluce is an ancient white grape originally form the alpine foothills of upper Piedmont. It has a bright acidity, an elegant underlying minerality, and an overall structure that makes it the ultimate flexible wine: producing everything from sparkling wine, through bone-dry, off-dry, and late harvest wines."
I say: Nice acidity and minerality. Brisk. Kind of like the weather in San Francisco.