Saturday, May 5, 2012

Wines of the Giro: Stage 1 Herning, Denmark

And we begin. In Denmark. Yes, for the opening stages this year the Giro has traveled to Denmark.

Before I get to the day's action a few words on my Wines of the Giro project. The Giro, for those non-cycling fans following along, is a stage race through Italy. It is one of 3 grand tours on the cycling calendar along with the Tour de France (look for Wines of the Tour here in July) and the Vuelta de Espana. The race is held over three consecutive weeks and features stages that are a mix of mountains, hills and flat stages, as well as individual and team time trials.
The "prizes" include the Maglia rosa (for the rider with the the fastest time when all the stage results are added together, taking into account time bonuses for high finishes and intermediate sprints), the team classification, the King of the Mountains, the points classification, and the best young rider classification. I'll be listing the major leaders here each day along with a few thoughts on each stage, but there are far better sites if you want technical race details. 

As for the wine, each day I drink a wine to pair with the stage, either from a town the riders cycle through or one from a surrounding region. And, yes, I am geeky enough that I track all of this in a spreadsheet that I print out and carry with me when I shop for the wines. This year, due to the start in Denmark, I'm including Heering and Akvavit as well, as I had no luck sourcing Danish wine.

Today's stage was an individual time trial, 8.7 km through the streets of Herning. For those not familiar with cycling, an individual time trial (ITT) is a stage in which cyclists race alone against the clock. In this case, the fastest riders finished in a little more than 10 minutes.

Stage and Maglia Rosa:  Taylor Phinney, BMC

The wine of Stage 1 and Violet.

To drink: Much as I start the wines of the Tour de France with Champagne, opening day calls for bubbles. When I dropped by Biondivino for my wines of the Giro, I told Ceri that I thought I would start with Prosecco. Her suggestion: Blanc de Morgex Brut Avalanche 2009  

The regional website tells me that: La Cave du Vin Blanc de Morgex et de La Salle is the highest winery in Europe, with its original, ungrafted vines climbing at altitudes of up to 1200 metres, in a natural setting in which the imposing Mont Blanc “watches over” the vineyards below. This is the home of “glacier bubbly”, in other words Blanc de Morgex et de La Salle brut and extra brut, a traditional method sparkling wine with a Controlled Denomination of Origin (DOC).

As for the grape, Prié Blanc, it is apparently the only native white grape of the region, and takes its name from the typically early ripening of the grapes. Cultivated in the vineyards of the High Aosta Valley, from La Salle to Morgex, this grapes produce an easy to drink, straw yellow colored wine with greenish highlights, strong fruity perfume, intense, dry and fresh to the palate.

My thoughts: Straw in color with a nose of bread and white flowers. On the palate, creamy and soft with minerality.

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