Sunday, July 17, 2011

Tour de France Stage 15
And we are out of the mountains, for a pre-rest day, mainly flat, 187 kilometer ride from Limoux to Montpellier. The favorite for the day, Mark Cavendish, having survived, barely, thanks to an almost team time trial during yesterday's mountain stage, tweeted this morning: the finish today is a little technical. Hopefully we can make the last few day's suffering worthwhile with a win.

On the road, it went as expected with a five man breakaway taking early time over the field. At the intermediate point, Cavendish took maximum points from the bunch, adding to his lead in the green jersey/points competition. Then, with concerns about crosswinds and echelons, the chase was on, with HTC spending many hours at the front of the race. As they got close to the finish in Montpellier, the break was caught and Gilbert, in hopes of both a stage win and points in the green jersey competition launched a doomed attack. To my delight however, HTC was rewarded for their hard work with yet another amazing team performance culminating with a lead out from the best in the business, Mark Renshaw. 

Tomorrow, they rest. 

Stage: Mark Cavendish
Yellow: Voeckler

Wine: Here we are in the Languedoc-Roussillon. I had all sorts of ideas and thoughts on what to drink but instead, something a bit different, mainly because I think it will pair well with my ugly but rather tasty apricot cake. Les Petits Grains Muscat de Saint Jean de Minervois

From their website:
Terroir:30 miles from the Mediterranean Sea on the foothills of the Montagne Noir (Black Mountain), Val d’Orbieu’s St. Jean de Minervois winery stands on a limestone plateau surrounded by steep cliffs. At an altitude of 980 feet above sea level, the sun reflects off the dry white stones in the soil, swept by northerly winds.
Grapes: Muscat à Petits Grains
Vinification: The grapes are harvested by hand when they are overripe to ensure maximum sugar concentration. Yields are low at an average of 25hl/ha depending on the year. After cold settling, the wine is kept at low temperatures, 64°F, to optimize fruit and flavor extraction. Neutral alcohol is added to halt the fermentation process and preserve the sweetness. The wine must have a minimum alcohol level of 15% and residual sugar content of 125g/l.
Their tasting notes: It has a brilliant golden color and boasts flavors of honey, quince and apricot. The bouquet reveals hints of peaches and orange zest highlighted by elegant spicy notes.

My notes: As I said, chosen to pair with my apricot cake.  And, indeed, it did.

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