Sunday, May 13, 2012

Wines of the Giro Stage 8
Sulmona-Lago Laceno 
Stage type: Medium Mountain Length of the course: 229 KM
Happy Mother's Day.

The Giro folks sent out a tweet with their thoughts on the stage:
 giroditalia 6:16am via Web
Very nervous stage today. The profile looks like an electrocardiogram. It will be a great show #giro

Another day, another break. Although it was up to 6 minutes at one point, one rider was within 2 minutes of the lead, so it was expected that the peloton would not let them stay away. With around 45 kilometers left, the break was still around 5 minutes and the scenery was more interesting than the day's racing. 
A student protest did at least entertain the Eurosport commentators, who enjoyed discussing memories of protests at races. The post here on Inrg has a great picture of Bernard Hinault in 1982 responding to protesters with his fists. 

With 35 kiometers left, the break was around 3 minutes and Eurosport was showing the grupetto with Cavendish, Phinney and more. Clearly, we were all still waiting for the great show referenced above. At 17.5 km remaining, the break was caught or as La Gazzetta told me " gruppo compatto."
With a steep section looming, Astana massed at the front, perhaps hoping for another stage victory. Next to the front was Liquigas as many riders fell off the back. The attacker of the day was Domenico Pozzovivo, who got a very large gap very quickly, and stayed away to win the stage. Next to attack was Beñat Intxausti, as Ryder Hesjedal struggled to hang on. In the end, Hesjedal did hang on to finish with most of the pre-race favorites and keep pink.

Stage: Domenico Pozzovivo
Maglia Rosa: Ryder Hesjedal
1  Hesjedal (GRM) 32:23:25
2  Joa. Rodríguez (KAT) +9
3 Tiralongo (AST) +15
4  Kreuziger (AST) +35
5  Intxausti (MOV) +35
6  I. Basso (LIQ) +40
7 D. Caruso (LIQ) +45
8 Cataldo (OPQ) +46
9 F. Schleck (RNT) +48
10  Capecchi (LIQ) +52
11 R. Urán (SKY) +53
12 Scarponi (LAM) +54
13  Pozzovivo (COG) +55

Wine: Venditti Sannio Rosso $17.00 at Biondivino

Back in 1988, the Italian wine guide Gambero Rosso introduced the word organic for the first time with its review of Venditti's wines.  For over 20 years, Nicola Venditti has believed in tilling the soil and being certified organic. Those who still believe that “organic” equals “non-scientific” should think again. Nicola is an enologist and the very incarnation of a contadino (farmer). The vineyards have been in the family for over 400 years (thus the “antica” part of Antica Masseria), and he feels deeply passionate about his territory of Sannio, an area that may be less well known than the neighboring Taurasi, but is a real forgotten gem
Nicola Venditti eschews oak and kneels at the altar of steel; letting these wines really show their clean and distinct fruit of the native grapes (some of which he only cultivates). Come before harvest, and Mr. Venditti will  you taste the rare grape Barbertta in his didactic vineyard; and explain how Montepulciano and Barbera where catch-words for varieties people knew by sight by didn't have a set name for. His cantina is clean and he gladly whistles out PH and acid levels for those inclined. This humanist-techno-geek approach, he explains, is a combination of the "humanity" of ancient methods and local varieties, together with the "rationality" offered by technology.
He night-time harvests in order to bring in the grapes at a lower temperature for more precise aromatics and fruit flavors. The cleaner and fresher that the fruit is brought in, the cleaner and fresher the wine.  The harvest continues through the night and ends with a celebration: a large traditional breakfast, replete with wine, bread, and other various sweet and salty foods. Bread dipped in wine is a favorite.

Field blend of 50% "Montepulciano," 30% Olivella, 20% Aglianico. Deep purple color; nose of mulberry and cured black olives; walnut skin tannins; top flower notes. The native Olivella give that a hint of flower, as well as, some structure to the wine. "Montepulciano is in quotes because it seems very different (in taste and morphology) from the Montepulciano found in Abruzzo and elsewhere. Long live the daily drinkin' field blend and family style meals. 

I say: Pretty.  Deep purple with a nose that suggests flowers and cherries. Fresh, vibrant and juicy. I like this one a lot.

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