Valloire - Ivrea 238kmFrom the Garibaldi: Mixed stage. Short climb of the Col du Télégraphe at the start, then descent followed by long false flat before the Col du Montcenis. Long, fast and ‘pedalable’ descent to Susa, where a 40 km section of false flat begins along a wide and straight road. The next stretch is twisting, characterised by short climbs and descents and passages through towns and villages (bottle necks, roundabouts, traffic islands). Passage through Ivrea beside the finish line, and 36 km circuit with an abrupt ramp at Andrate (gradients up to 12%) followed by a technical descent with sections of narrow road. Final 8 km mostly flat.
Week three. Final rest day done. At this point my cats have been well trained to wake me up at 5 each morning to watch livestreams of Eurosport before the US coverage begins at 6:30. Today, it apppears, will be one for the break. Unless, of course, the GC contenders try to attack or the sprinters want to challenge. I apparently can not make up my mind.
Happy birthday to Mark Cavendish! Not an ideal stage for him, but given how uncertain I am about today's possibilities, I've taken him in the stage predictor game anyway, along with Taylor Phinney, Samuel Sanchez and Cadel Evans. Unlikely picks all. It could be a low scoring day for me.
|Oolong helped me choose: white or red?|
Institut Agricole Regional Aoste 2010 Petite Arvine
from Biondivino: This wine is no longer on their site, but two others from the Institut are.
From Winemonger: The Institut Agricole Régional is a foundation set up by the Great Saint Bernard hospice and supported by the autonomous region of the Aosta Valley. Its aim is to develop local agriculture, including viticulture, through teaching, experimentation and research, along with actual production. A prominent theme for the institute is the recognition, preservation and regeneration of ancient native grape varieties, which continue to be found in the vineyards of the valley.
Their current vineyard-area of 6.5 hectares is spread among four locations within the district of Aosta: Cossani, Mont Cenis, La Roche and Ampaillan.
The location of the vineyards permits placement of the different grape varieties in optimal conditions of exposure, altitude and slope, enabling the best terroir-range interaction.
The high quality of the production is further enhanced by the alpine climate, characterized by severe winter temperatures (average 0-3 °C) and comparatively comfortable summer warmth (average 19-21°C), with a substantial fluctuation between day and night. These features combine with the clarity of the sky, low-hanging clouds, modest rainfall and low relative humidity to minimize the impact of vine-pests and facilitate organic viticulture.
In addition to the primary grape varieties there are many others grown for experimental purposes, international candidates as well as vines of ancient origin identified and retrieved from the historic Aoste Valley vineyards for preservation. The vineyards also lend themselves to other research, such as the comparison of cultivation techniques and the study of the interaction of the wine grape with different soils and microclimates, seeking solutions to problems afflicting mountain viticulture.
The vineyard is situated on the mountainside above Aosta near Cossan, at an altitude of 620 meters above sea level. The plot is laid-out in rows along the slope, with southern exposure and an average 35% slope gradient. The soil is sandy loam, rich in skeletal material. Vines are trained on a single Guyot with a vine-density of 10,000 plants per hectare. The alpine climate is dry and well ventilated which favors growth. The grapes were harvested between the second and third week in September. They were then de-stemmed and briefly subjected to cold maceration. The must obtained from the pressed grapes was allowed to ferment slowly under temperature-control in steel vats. The wine was left to macerate on its lees for a short time, aged first in the same container for 3 months and then for at least 1 more month after bottling. Production: 3,000 bottles. Wine characteristics and serving suggestions: Straw yellow in color with greenish highlights. Floral, mineral and citrus fruit aromas abound in its bouquet and aftertaste. Its intense, characteristic flavor pairs perfectly with fondue and cheeses such as Toma and Fontina. Serve at 12-14°c.
I say: I also had a red on hand from the Institut, but it was a warm night after a day at the Tour of California and I wanted something white. Very pale yellow, which made me expect something lighter. Instead, this was medium bodied with a very aromatic nose. Lots of lime initially, followed by minerals, perhaps a few nuts and white flowers.