From the Garibaldi: Short Alpine stage with two climbs in excess of 25 km. Descent from the stage start to Susa, where a ‘pedalable’ climb starts up the Colle del Moncenisio (25.7 km, 1.600 m gain in vertical height). Long descent interrupted by the short climb to Aussois (intermediate sprint). From St. Michel de Maurienne,
The new stage profile:
My guess for the day is Vincenzo Nibali, but we shall see. I also have Evans, Betancur and Sanchez in the Stage Predictor Game.
Also, France! Another reminder that the Wines of the Tour de France is looming. Suggestions very welcome.
Up early and the word was that the riders were angry about the conditions. Indeed:
TeamSky 5:31am via Web
Meanwhile, back on the road there were attacks toward the top by riders in search of King of the Mountain points. Pirazzi took maximum points and then sat up. But others apparently looked to form a breakaway.
opqscyclingteam 6:15am via TweetDeck
Behind Weening, Chalapud, Visconti, Rabottini, Borghini and Pirazzi were in a chasing group.
opqscyclingteam 6:32am via TweetDeck
2009 Domaine Belluard "Le Feu"
From the importer, Selection Massale:
Note: I've said it before, during the Tour de France but I recommend joining their mailing list. There will be several wines from them in this year's Wines of the Tour de France.
In a land survey from 1730 the total acreage in Ayse was estimated to be 375 hectares. After the repeated blows from Oïdium, Phyloxerra, and the two world wars, in 1955 there was only 40 hectares, seven years later the number was down to a mere nineteen. It was in this time of what must have seemed to be the end of the local wine industry that the Belluards began making wine. In 1947 Dominique's grandfather began farming land around Ayse, growing a mixture of fruit trees and grapes, primarily the incredibly rare indigenous grape Gringet. this continued until the 1980s when Dominique, fresh from oenology school returned and made Gringet's fate his own. Since then he has worked tirelessly in this small commune to grow, protect and promote Gringet, which is grown on only twenty two hectares of land worldwide, of which he owns twelve.
Dominique's entire philosophy of winemaking is based upon getting the best expression of Gringet on his terroirs. Gringet (which contrary to what some people believe is not Traminer/Savagnin according to DNA testing) is perfectly at home on the southern exposed slopes around Ayse. The grape, which ripens late, requires enough sun during the day to prevent the frost that plagues the region. In 2001 Dominique decided to convert his vineyards to biodynamics, which he feels interferes the least with the some seven hundred years of history (that we know of, some people speculate that Gringet pre-dates the roman influence in the area) between the land and the vines that grew there. When he didn't like what wood was doing to his wines, he got rid of the barrels he was trying out and moved to stainless steel. Later he decided that perhaps fermenting his wines in larger volumes wasn't doing justice to his individual parcels he decided to invest in concrete eggs (for his white wines) and clay amphorae (for his tiny plot of Mondeuse) to ferment his wines, a process he is still in the middle of.
2009 Domaine Belluard "Le Feu" 750 ml: $36.60
100% Gringet selected from Belluard's oldest vines in his best vineyard. The wine is all grown on iron rich clay whose red color gives the wine its name. This vineyard is located on a forty degree grade, giving it maximum exposure to the sun and Dominique keeps yields low to ensure quality. Elevage is done is small concrete eggs with the addition of any yeast, and sulfur addition is kept to a minimum. Even with all these advantages Le Feu is made only in vintages which Dominique considers exemplary. This is bright, mineral driven, fresh, textured wine with a long beautiful finish. there is no attempt made to bring opulence to this wine, it still remains lean and tightly structured despite the complexity. These wines can cellar from 6-10 years, or perhaps longer. Le Feu is Dominique's top wine and as such we have a very small allocation.
I say: Interesting, in the positive sense. Straw in color, lots of minerals and slightly savory on the nose. Citrus, flowers, herbs and nuts. K says "This smells like lemons and something herby."