Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Tour de France Stage 17- Now with Italy
Gap Pinerolo 179 km

From LeTour:
“There are still four intense race days left. Heading to Briançon, the road rises gently. Then the riders must cross climb the Col de Montgenèvre, descend, then climb again up to Sestrières this time, then descend again into Pinerolo. Ahead of them is still the Pra Martino, a small climb that’s 7km long and of modest gradient. A rider who is good in the mountains such as Cadel Evans may well be able to make an impression there, because the final run-in, which enables tribute to be made to the 150th anniversary of Italian unification, doesn’t feature any notable difficulties. This stage will bring huge satisfaction to the people of Pinerolo, who for many years have been keen to host a stage finish. The town is near to the border and offers the opportunity for this year’s only incursion into foreign territory.”

Another day, another Norwegian as Edvald Boasson Hagen bounced back from the disappointment of his second-place finish on Tuesday to take another stage victory. Meanwhile, the contenders had another interesting stressful day.
Two consecutive sharp climbs and a sometimes frightening descent combination just before the finish saw Alberto Contador again trying to make up some of the time he lost so early in the race. Contador attacked twice on the way up the Pramartino and then escaped on the descent along with Samuel Sanchez  It looked like the two would gain significant time, but Cadel Evans led a chase that brought back the bulk of the contenders, including the Schlecks.
It was another mistake-free day for Evans: not only did he catch with Contador, but he narrowed his deficit to yellow jersey Thomas Voeckler after the Frenchman misjudged a bend on the descent and ended up in a conveniently located driveway.
Tomorrow the race now moves on to two successive summit finishes in the Alps, where one would expect more gaps to develop between the overall contenders.

Stage:  Edvald Boasson Hagen
Yellow: Thomas Voeckler

Wine: Valli Unite, Il Brut and the Beast
Region: Piemonte
Grapes:  Cortese with Moscato, Favorita, Chasselas, and Timorasso (Though I have seen different grapes listed)
I think this was another recommendation from Melissa Sutherland at 67Wine.

From the Valli Unite website: The co-operative was born over thirty years ago.
At a time in which increasing numbers of people had moved to the cities and to factory work, three young men from local farming families got together to discuss the future of farming in this area.
They were deeply attached to the work and to their own land, but they wanted to find new ways of using traditional methods. To begin with they merged their vineyards and built stalls for farm animals so they could use organic manure to fertilise their fields and vines. The old ways were combined with a very modern belief in organic farming as the way of the future, as part of the wider project known as 'contraction', involving reducing our human impact on the natural environment. 
As time went on the co-operative became bigger, and at present there are 25 of us working together.
The viticulture aspect of our work follows an old saying dear to wine-lovers: drink little but well.
In the production of our wine, our 10 labels and our bulk wine, the aim is to let the wine remain as alive as possible so that it truly is 'the son of the grape'.

My thoughts: Yum. Slightly sparkling and, well, zingy. Apples, pears and a lot of refreshment. Probably be nice after a long and terrifying descent. This is a wine to buy a case of and enjoy all summer long.

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