Sunday, May 5, 2013

Wines of the Giro: Stage 2: Sky & Ischia Frassitelli
Stage 2 brings us a Team Time Trial of 17.4 km from Ischia to Forio. 
What is a team time trial? Much like in the perhaps better known individual time trial (itt), the riders race against the clock. In contrast to the ITT, in the team time trial, the teams start at equal intervals with the riders drafting (riding in the slipstream) behind each other. Each member takes a turn at the front while team-mates sit in behind. After his turn, the lead rider swings over, allowing the next rider to take the lead, while the leader goes to the back of the team. 

From Inrng: The road twists and turns a lot and has a busy feel, it’s crowded by buildings along the route. Don’t expect wild roads and winds blasting in off the coast. Instead the challenges are man-made with some tight turns and even a tunnel towards the end.

Pre-stage thoughts from twitter: 
taylorphinney 3:42am via Twitter for iPhone
Just drove the TTT course. Everybody was a bit speechless by the time we got through w/it! Gonna be a spectacle, but incredibly difficult!!!

Off the 23 teams went, with 3 minutes between the teams. It has been said before, that TTTs seldom will win the race for a rider, but they can help one to lose. So the pressure is on for Sky, Astana, Garmin and some of the other teams of the favorites for the race (gc) win. The first of these to start was Sky and at the half way point they had the fastest time so far. They finished in 22:05, first place by almost 30 seconds, with more than half the teams still to finish. 
And not that they were expected to win, but this is what not to do in a TTT:
Carrot down... the road. Euskaltel reach the finish with 4 riders but 5 need to cross finish line to stop the clock
Astana came in 14 seconds down to Sky, giving Bradley Wiggins some valuable seconds over Vincenzo Nibali.  
From Jonathan Vaughters on twitter:
Hmmm... BMC and orica slow. Beginning to think the wind shifted a bit for the late starters.
Indeed the later teams did finish slower than expected. Garmin, one of the pre-race favorites, came in 7th giving Wiggins 25 seconds on last year's race winner, Ryder Hesjedal.
And at the end of the day, after a rather slow ride by Omega Pharma Quick Step, Mark Cavendish lost the race leader's pink jersey.
giroditalia 8:10am via Web
1) @TeamSky 2) @Movistar_Team 3) @AstanaTeam.

@SalvatorePuccio (SKY) is the new Maglia Rosa

From the producer website: The geographical isolation contributes to the unique climate, historical and cultural characteristics that any island develops. Winemaking in Ischia is not only a source of income but it also helps to protect the environment and to preserve ethnical and cultural traditions. The difficulties Ischia winemakers have to face are related not only with the territory but also with the historical, geographical and socio-economical restraints. All this results in very high production costs: for these reasons Ischia's winemakers have been called 'crazy angels' by the specialized press.

Two great personalities made a major contribution to the creation of our winery's label: the French champagne producer monsieur Chandon, and the movie director Luchino Visconti. Monsieur Chandon, who Mario D'Ambra had met by chance in a café in Naples, contributed to the format by granting the Ischia winemaker permis- sion to use the champagne template. As for Visconti, he gave suggestions as to the layout and content: " has to be straightforward: your house, Ischia's sky and sea, and the wording have to stand out ..." And actually the company logo, based on a lithograph by Aniellantonio Mascolo, an Ischia-born artist, represents some key elements, namely huge chestnut containers filled with grapes in the foreground, a palm tree, and the old Villa Garavini, the company's first cellar, in the background.

Producer D'Ambra Vini d'Ischia S.r.l.

Grape production area Tenuta Frassitelli (Pietra Martone and Tifeo): four hectares of steep hillside vineyards at elevation 600 m above sea level with a south-south westerly exposure. Vineyard farming is facilitated by a rack-rail train.
Grapes 100% Biancolella
Production technique Traditional white vinification with cold decantation and thermally-controlled fermentation, storing and bottling. The grape-wine yield is 55 litres. While the wine undergoes malolactic fermentation regular batonage (hand stirring) is applied to enhance flavor.
Colour Straw yellow color.
Bouquet Delicate fruity bouquet with banana and broom flavors.
Palate Intense, delicate, long-lasting palate.
Alcoholic gradation 12 % Vol.
Year Denoted on the label.
To be served at 12/14° C.
Best with Appetizers, fish-based pasta dishes and fish. Linguine with prawns, Ischia's typical rabbit grown in large open pits.

From North Berkeley Wines : Many wineries say they cultivate old vines, but not ones with roots as far back as 800 BC. Many, too, say their terroir is unique—but few are built on sea-green lava beds wrought by the power of ancient volcanoes and the salty, mineral richness of the Mediterranean sea.

Casa d'Ambra can claim both. We were drawn to Casa d'Ambra not only because of the rich viticultural history of Ischia, a beautiful island off the coast of Naples in Campania, but also for the thrill of discovering grapes and wines that so perfectly embody the power and spirit of the sea.
Founded in 1888, the Casa d'Ambra winery has (and continues to be) a family affair. Francesco d'Ambra, originally from Calabria, founded the estate; yet it was his son, Mario, who established Casa d'Ambra as the authority on Ischian wines from cultivating its unique, native grapes. Today, winemaker and enologist (and nephew of Mario) Andrea d'Ambra runs the estate, managing not only the winery's own vineyards but also the small group of dedicated, local farmers who help to grow grapes for the winery.
Casa d'Ambra cultivates native grapes Biancolella, Forestera and Per'e Palummo that are only found on the volcanic island of Ischia.  Vineyards are carved into volcanic rock, which sport a unusual sea-green color, a result of mineral deposits from the sea. You can really taste this sea salty, mineral influence especially in the estate's white wines—making them a sublime pair for seafood.

I say: Another recommendation from Melissa Sutherland. Minerals, minerals, minerals, with some yellow fruit. Delicate and crisp. Lovely. Worth seeking out. 

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