Saturday, May 19, 2012

Wines of the Giro Stage 14
Up we go to the High Mountains! 

From SteephillAll the action on this stage is backloaded; the first 137 km of this 206 km stage after the start in Cherasco are almost entirely flat before two big mountains in the Italian Alps at the end.
The two climbs are the cat 1 Col de Joux at km 160 which is 22.4 km long with an average grade of 5.6% followed by the second summit finish of this year's race, the cat 1 Cervinia, which is quite similar (27 km at 5.5%). Both are long grinds and not overly steep by Italian standards which means you'll see riders slowly getting dropped off the back more than you'll see attacks on the front. In other words, this isn't the sort of stage that suits race leader Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) who likes the short, punchy climbs, but it's ideal for Domenico Pozzovivo (Colnago) and Ivan Basso (Liquigas) to gain time. . . . 
An important consideration of this kind of double peak finish is the descent in between. In this case, the descent down to Châtillon is technical which means a break of good descenders could hold or extend their advantage leading up to the final climb.The finish at the ski resort in Cervinia at 2,006m (6,581 ft) elevation is at the foot of the Matterhorn, a famous, distintive peak and one of the highest in the Alps.

Off they go and in a hurry, completing the first 100 km in about 2 hours. Of course, that was the flat portion of the stage. The peloton was in rain gear and with the two climbs coming and few sprinting stages ahead, it was no surprise to wake up and hear that Goss and Renshaw had abandoned the race. Cavendish though, continued on, saying that he planned to finish the race. Nice behind the scenes photo feature here, by the way, of his day yesterday.
With 64 km left, the break had 13 minutes over the front of the peloton and twitter told me that the weather looked bad ahead:
Andrew Hood ‏@EuroHoody
It’s Belgian classics weather at top of Cervina; grey pea soup, 4C, raining, otherwise miserable #giro

With 54 km left, we had a lone leader, Jan Barta had 25 seconds over the four chasers: Montaguti, De Marchi, De Negri and Amador with Oliveira, Kaisen and Maes another minute down, with the peloton at 10 minutes. With 46 km to go and Liquigas  at the front of the peloton, Jose Rujano followed by Damiano Cunego attacked out of the group. Up ahead, we got our first look at the descent with Barta. And it was slow. Rujano looked like he was making great time on Cunego, until the descent, when Cunego inspired happy shots from Eurosport. Meanwhile. Amador flew by Barta to take the solo lead. The question seemed to be, on Eurosport and twitter:
TheDPate 6:46am via Web
How much longer will Amador stay on his bike?

But, he did and was the first to start on the second climb, followed by 4 chasers at 0:50, Cunego at 8 minutes back and the Peloton with the favorites 9 minutes back. To my delight, Amador held on to take the win, though it was far for a sure thing as he had been caught by two chasers from behind. Meanwhile in the favorites group, Ryder Hesjedal jumped from the bunch with about four kilometers to go and was not caught, gaining enough time to reclaim pink!

Stage: Andrey Amador Bakkazakova (CRc) Movistar Team 5:33:36
Pink:Ryder Hesjedal
1 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin - Barracuda 59:55:28
2 Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha Team 0:00:09
3 Paolo Tiralongo (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:00:41
4 Sandy Casar (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat 0:01:05
5 Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:01:06
6 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Astana Pro Team 0:01:07
7 Benat Intxausti Elorriaga (Spa) Movistar Team
8 Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky Procycling 0:01:19
9 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre - ISD 0:01:20
10 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Colnago - CSF Inox 0:01:21 

Wine: Ezio Voyat La Gazzella 2008 $29.99 at 67Wine

Though he made his living as an accountant for a casino, Ezio Voyat forged his legend as a producer of some of Italy’s most distinctive wines. His two Moscato, the dry La Gazzella, the red blend Le Muraglie and the sweet Ambrato are truly wines of place, slightly austere and aromatic with brisk acidity balancing concentration of flavor. Like the mountains from which they come these wines can be imposing and difficult to attain but with time and effort their mysteries unfold and their charms become a warm embrace. Voyat made wine in Chambave, a hamlet in the Valle d’Aosta, his modest house and cellar within walking distance of his several acres of hillside vineyard. Ezio Voyat died in 2003 leaving his wife and daughter to carry on his sizeable winemaking legacy. Voyat named his sleek (note the tall slender bottle) 100% Moscato after his daughter Marilena, Olympic sprinter and 1980s Italian track sensation, known to her fans as the "Gazelle." While most Italian Moscato is vinified sweet, the late Voyat made La Gazzella dry with an uncommon depth and structure.

I say: Well now. A very perfumed, kind of extravagant nose on this one.  In the mouth though, it is dry and fresh with some melon and flowers. Just fun. Makes me think of a muscat I was very fond of. Another great recommendation from Melissa and a perfect wine for a very fun stage of the race.

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