Mastery of all aspects of cycling: Pau, a stronghold? Pau, a strategic place? On today's menu, a 197 km classic succession of great Pyrenean cols: the Aubisque, Tourmalet, Col d'Aspin and Peyresourde. As Christian Prudhomme said, a mere four days from the finish, this stage will turn the thumbscrews on the peloton! Moreover, such a course is exactly my idea of a true mountain stage: not with a summit finish, which tends to lock up the race a bit, but an up-and-down course which calls for a mastery of all aspects of cycling. Two years ago, Andy Schleck vacillated somewhat on the descents..."
At the 136km completed mark, the peloton is 10'25" behind Voeckler and Feillu who are now 5km from the top of the col d'Aspin.
And there went Evans again. Clearly a decision had been for Tejay van Garderen not to wait as he continued on with the Wiggins group. More Basso as everyone not rooting for Wiggins had their fingers crossed for an attack from Nibali. And finally it came. Why, yes, I did scream at my tv. But Froome and Wiggins held tough and caught him. And, yikes, Cadel Evans, at the last check was over three minutes behind the yellow jersey. Nibali went again! Again though, he was caught easily. Looks like our Paris podium is Wiggins, Froome and Nibali, barring any surprises tomorrow or a true time trial meltdown.
Wine: Domaine Plageoles Muscadelle Sweet/Semi-Sweet:
I bought this wine for a Tour stage a while back and did not end up drinking it.
From the importer:
The exceptional wines crafted at Plageoles represent some of the finest wines being made in Gaillac today. Bernard Plageoles is continuing the work of his father Robert, an outspoken advocate for natural wines with a centuries old approach to winemaking. Robert researched and replanted over a dozen varietals (7 in the Mauzac family alone) indigenous to Gaillac that had vanished. The Plageoles are one of the oldest winemaking families in the AOC and they are thoroughly invested in retaining the traditions and quality that this oft-overlooked AOC is now being universally praised for. The terroir in Gaillac is made up clay, limestone, sand and silex soils. Gaillac receives more sunshine than Bordeaux and is graced by a cool maritime climate. Bernard and his wife Myriam are keeping ancient winemaking traditions alive by crafting organic wines from nearly forgotten indigenous varieties. On ten hectares they farm Mauzac Vert, Mauzac Noir, Ondenc, Duras, Muscadelle, and Prunelart. To drink the wines from Plageoles is to experience the fruit and terroir of living history.
Age of Vines: 40-60 years
Yields: 15 hl 3,000 bottles
Pruning Method: Gobelet
Soil: Schist and Clay.
Vinification Method: Traditional winemaking.
Tasting Note: Very rich notes of honey blossom on the nose. The palate is loaded with apple, dried apricot, quince paste with a flowering honey finish.
Pairing: With foie gras, custard, fruit tarts and pies, chocolate desserts, dried fruit and aged cheese.
I say: I bought this wine for a tour stage several years ago, but ended up trying something else.Rich, lost of honey. Quince is exactly right. Sweet, but not sticky. Visiting guest "I love the second glass. The first was almost cidery."