Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Wines of the Giro Stage 16: Intxausti & Institut Agricole Regional Aoste Petite Arvine


Valloire - Ivrea 238km

From 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.


Indeed, an early and large pre-video breakaway: Danny Pate (Sky), Wilco Kelderman (Blanco), Eros Capecchi (Movistar), Jose Herrada (Movistar), Grega Bole (Vacansoleil DCM), Tobias Ludvigsson (Argos), Christian Meier (Orica GreenEDGE), Stefano Pirazzi (Bardiani), Matteo Rabottini (Vini Fantini), Jackson Rodriguez (Androni), Emanuele Sella (Androni), Jose Serpa (Lampre-Merida), Rory Sutherland (Saxo-Tinkoff), Gorka Verdugo (Euskaltel), Pieter Weening (Orica GreenEDGE) and Ramunas Navardauskas (Garmin-Sharp), Edoardo Zardini (Bardiani Valvole), Francis De Greef (Lotto Belisol), Danilo Di Luca (Vini Fantini), Darwin Atapuma (Colombia), Damiano Caruso (Cannondale) and Robinson Chalapud (Colombia). With 88 kilometers completed, they had three minutes on the main peloton. At the feed zone halfway through the stage, their lead was about 4:15. 
106 km to go: 4'30'' for the break. / 106 km al termine: la fuga ha un vantaggio di 4'30''. #giro

Sad and painful news for one of my favorites. I had been hoping that he had recovered from his earlier illness and could hang on and perform well in the final time trial:
#Giro Stage 16: BMC Racing Team's Taylor Phinney has withdrawn (saddle sores).

90 km to go: 22 riders on the front with 4'06'' / 90 km al termine: 22 corridori guidano la corsa con un vantaggio di 4'06'' #giro

Not a lot of action on the road today. Perhaps fireworks to come?
76 km to go: the gap for the break is 4'54'' / 76 km al termine: la fuga ha un vantaggio di 4'54'' #giro

And suddenly we had chasing. Had the gap grown too high for Astana? Katusha and RadioShack decided to help, and the peloton was quickly strung out single file, flying along. With 64 kilometers to go, the gap had dropped to under four minutes.
opqscyclingteam 6:33am via TweetDeck Gap 3'45" with 63.1km to go. #Giro

Aparently they are determined to chase down Caruso:
As expected, Radioshack have now realized the danger of Caruso in front. They are working to keep Kiserlovski near Top10. #giro

Ahead, the break started to come apart:

Pate and Sutherland have attacked with Meier trying to bridge. 51.1km to go, gap 2'02". #Giro

And there came Navaradauskas as well. It was clearly time for lots of attacks from within the break. 
48 km to go: 2'00'' for the break / 48 km al termine: 2'00'' di vantaggio per la fuga #giro
giroditalia 7:07am via Web
Pate, Verdugo and Kelderman are leading the race now. They have 20'' on the chasing group and 1'24'' on the peloton. 36 km to go. #giro
It's Sella on the front gruppo and not Verdugo / Sella è davanti e non Verdugo #giro
giroditalia 7:14am via Web
Sella, Pate and Kelderman on the front with 27'' on the chasing group. 30 km to go / Sella, Pate e Kelderman hanno 27'' sugli inseguitori

But there was still a hill to climb. Would it be a day for the sprinters yet? It seemed unlikely they would make it over the late climb, but time would tell. Nice by the way to have some blue sky at the Giro. Italy looked beautiful. 

Now just 31" between the maglia rosa and the break. The chasers bridged successfully. 23km to go. #Giro

And then came an attack from Scarponi which thinned out the peloton quickly.
Nibali group about to catch the leaders but Pirazzi tries a late move. No Katusha or Radioshack riders left after they chased for hours

My stage predictor hope:
Samu Sanchez still with the favorites. Will he try something on the descent? #giro

And there went Betancur
Even if he takes time on the way down it'll be hard if Betancur is solo as there's 7km from the end of the descent to the finish

Then, Sanchez. The descent looked like it would be exciting.

Off the road:
I've been battling an infection for around 5 days now. Today I had to be smart and look after myself. Broke my heart to abandon this #Giro.
Thx2 team account 4 letting you all imagine what my undercarriage looks like. 2days of fever got me not saddle sores--its wk3 we all have em

Meanwhile, Sanchez was flying down the descent: 
Samu Sanchez didn't want to attack downhill the day Paolini did & won. "Too dangerous" with GC ambitions. Now he's 100% for stage wins #giro

About 15 riders in front now. 9 km to go. #giro

That group out front included Nibali, Scarponi, Evans, and Uran. Santambrogio had been dropped and was desperately chasing, but was two minutes behind.

Very aggressive final on a flat finish. Attacks everywhere. #Giro 4.4km to go. 3 minutes to the Santambrogio group.

Gesink, Kangert, Intxausti & Niemiec in front with 4 km to go. #giro

Beñat Intxausti wins stage 16! Kangert 2nd. Niemiec 3rd. #giro

Another win for Movistar and loss for my Stage Predictor hopes. But the big loser of the day was Santambrogio, who probably saw the end of his podium hopes.

1. Intxausti 
2. Kangert 
3. Niemiec 
4. Navardauskas 
5. Evans 
6. Pellizotti 
7. Scarponi
8. Majka 
9. Herrada
10. Betancur

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. 

Petite Arvine:
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.

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