Saturday, May 4, 2013

Wines of the Giro: Stage 1: Gragnano and Cav!
Stage 1: Naples – Naples
Distance: 130km
Category: Flat

This year, rather than with a prologue or time trial, we start with a pretty flat stage through Naples, designed for the sprinters. Fingers crossed here for a Cavendish win. But we shall see.  

Here we go again: The Giro! I've even added a sport package to my cable system in order to watch the coverage from BEIN on my tv. Starting out though with Eurosport online. Looks like a beautiful day for a race. 
And the first small break:
  giroditalia 6:16am via Web
The gap is now 1:30, 92 km left. Visconti takes the first mountain's points. #Giro

But safe to say that they will not be going far. Look at that, the Giro on my tv, if a bit delayed by soccer coverage.

From twitter:
Irng 7:13am via Web
Watching the Giro stage is like watching Vesuvius across the bay. It's nice to look at but you're secretly waiting for everything to erupt.

Around they went, with the day's course consisted of four laps of an opening circuit, which included a climb, and then eight laps of a flat closing circuit. With a sprint anticipated, the break never grew and as it came down to the finish, Cannondale, Orica-GreenEdge, Argos-Shimano and Omega Pharma-QuickStep were setting up their sprint trains. Cannondale moved to the front and picked up the pace yet again and the field became a long string. This split the field and the crash caused a gap, leaving 12 or so riders at the front, including Mark Cavendish. The Cannondale team faded as they crossed under the flamme rouge, with Orica-GreenEdge leading the sprint. Matthew Goss had a great lead out and started his sprint with 200 meters to go. But Cavendish was also moving up and came up on the right side with speed, to grab the win and the first pink jersey. Yay!

1 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Omega Pharma - Quick Step

2 Elia Viviani (Ita) Cannondale
3 Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ
4 Danilo Hondo (Ger) Radioshack - Leopard
5 Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Radioshack - Leopard
6 Matthew Harley Goss (Aus) Orica - GreenEdge
7 Francisco José Ventoso Alberdi (Spa) Movistar
8 Adam Blythe (GBr) BMC Racing Team
9 Leigh Howard (Aus) Orica - GreenEdge 0:00:23
10 Brett Lancaster (Aus) Orica - GreenEdge 0:00:32

A preview of some of the wines to come

Wine: Cantine Federiciane Monteleone Penisola Sorrentina Gragnano 2011, $14.99, from 67Wine

From the producer, with some help from google translate:  

The slopes of Vesuvius, hidden and raised in the volcanic soils of the Sorrentine Peninsula, (this wine is) always produced with skill a noble and is an ancient wine of Naples. The Gragnano is a rebel wine with an intense color, which often emits from the mouth of the bottle or by the glass s a fine red foam is probably reminiscent of the great eruption of Vesuvius. This wine is made ​​from old forms of breeding and a mixed blend, where the main characteristics of noble grape varieties as "Piedirosso and Aglianico" give the finished product the quality of freshness and liveliness enhanced, however, by the final stage of "taking of foam. "

From NY Mag in 2009: "Italians, it turns out, aren’t big on vino with pizza. Beer, yes (Peroni, usually). Even Coke. There is one rather obscure exception: Gragnano, the frizzante red that comes from the town of the same name on the Sorrento Peninsula outside of Naples. Drunk young and served chilled, Gragnano has a touch of sweetness, a smoky finish, and a slight effervescence that cuts the fattiness of cheese and oil. David Orange, president of Brooklyn-based importer Wine Emporium, started bringing in Cantine Federiciane Monteleone Penisola Sorrentina Gragnano five years ago, and describes the blend as “inky, grapy, and similar to Lambrusco, with smaller bubbles.” The wine has DOC status, appealing to those new-school pizzaioli who aspire to Neapolitan authenticity in all things."

I say: It will not surprise anyone that I opted to pair this wine, chilled, with pizza. Frizzante, slightly sweet and intensely red. Grapey indeed. I think it would be an excellent backyard barbecue wine. A fun way to start the race. 

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