Sunday, July 21, 2013

Paris! Wines of the Tour de France Stage 21: George Laval’s Brut Nature & Kittel

118 kilometers from  Versailles to Paris Champs-Élysées

From LeTour: Jean François Pescheux's view

Around the Arc-de-Triomphe: "It's the final day, and it's going to be incomparable in the strictest sense because we really wanted to pay full tribute at the end of this 100th edition. From the sporting perspective, there shouldn't be too many surprises: it's difficult to imagine the sprinters missing out! And if that sprinter happens, for the fifth consecutive occasion, to be called Mark Cavendish, then that really would be an extraordinary exploit. From the celebratory point of view, we have an unforgettable route, which will start in the gardens of the Palace of Versailles, pass the monument to Jacques Anquetil, then go through the courtyard of the Louvre, before turning not in front of but around the Arc de Triomphe. The finish will be at dusk, at around 9.45pm. It will be magical..."

I've said it before, but at this point in the race, I'll repeat myself. I first fell in love with cycling wen I was unexpectedly in Paris for the final stage of the Tour years ago. We watched some of the final stage, essentially from the Louvre. It was completely magical. 

A day for celebration in the peloton: Paris, nighttime, sequins. No, really, sequins.  For the first time ever, today's "parade" into Paris will be held at night. Well, I suppose that I have always said that Paris is the best lit city I have ever visited. 
The stage will be relaxed, there may even be Champagne on bikes. Until, of course, the Champs-Élysées when the pressure will be on Mark Cavendish for what could be a record fifth consecutive stage win at one of the most famous finishes in the cycling world. 
Adam Hansen, looking forward to next month's Vuelta, has made me laugh again on twitter. 
HansenAdam 1:22am via Twitter for Android
Today's the last day of my 21 day holiday in France. Back to work monday morning to save up some cash. Holiday in Spain next would be nice!

Still hoping for a top 20 finish in the Podium Cafe Stage Predictor game. My picks: Cavendish, Kittle, Sagan and Greipel.  

In case my allegiances are not clear: Go Cav!  As always, fingers crossed that he can win again on the Champs-Élysées. But first, a parade. Sagan, by the way, has done a rather bad job dyeing his goatee green. Rather than bleaching and coloring, he seems to have just covered the hair in something green. 
170 of 198 riders will finish the race today, with seven complete teams. Meanwhile, Purito Rodriguez is having trouble lighting a cigar.
Flag down and the "race" begins. Not that they speed up at all. 
Cats for Cavendish!
My conclusion one that I seem to reach every year: today's coverage is like the longest "One Shining Moment" ever. One Shining Moment is, of course, the segment shown of dramatic moments at the end of each year's NCAA basketball tournament. 
Finally, Champagne for Froome. It is tradition after all.
  inrng 10:32am via Web
After the champagne we need the ritual "fake attack with exaggerated body language" and the classic "tall rider on small bike" routine

On tv, a Jens! highlight feature. He has said that this will be his last Tour, so I expect him to lead the peloton onto the Champs. This year the riders will go around the Arc de Triomphe for the first time in race history. Happy 100th, Tour de France. Planes with red, white and blue smoke. Late afternoon light. Well done Tour organizers. Time for the laps around Paris. 60 kilometers to go now!
In contrast to the earlier hours, they are moving very quickly right now, as the usual attempt to form a breakaway takes place. Flat tire for Cavendish. Early still, but if OPQS has to waste energy chasing, it could matter later. 50 kilometers to go. Cav back in the pack quickly, Millar and Flecha in a break up front. Six laps to go and Argos-Shimano and OPQS lead the peloton.

Very sad to see Westra abandon. Apparently he is ill and was lapped so was forced to abandon. Another flat for OPQS, Chavanel this time. And another, Steegmans this time. Note that as wide as the road is, the cobbles make it far from a smooth ride.
David Millar alone in front with 30 km to go. Gap of 21 seconds. 20 kilometers to go 16 seconds for Millar with a second attack from Roy. More attacks to come. Hey, Valverde! 16.2km to go, Tankink, Valverde, Quinziato with a 16" gap. 12 kilometers to go and a 20 second gap. 10 kilometers and 15 seconds. 
Last lap and boy is that bell loud! All together now.
3 kilometers to go and Chris Froome has won the Tour.
Photo finish: Kittel

Stage: Marcel Kittel

Yellow: Chris Froome

K wanted a photo with her cake in it.
Not a pairing suggestion. 

Wine: George Laval’s Brut Nature (375)
From Frankly Wines

From the producer, with help from Google translate:  The village Cumires lies five kilometers from Epernay, in the heart of Champagne, on the right bank of the Marne. The slopes facing south, the typicality of the soil and sub-soil and microclimate, helped classify Premier Cru terroir of Cumires.

George and Nicole in 1971, Vincent since 1996, decided to work in organic viticulture and wine to raise the natural and traditional way.
Organic farming respects our quality of life, preserves original aromas and flavors of our land and helps produce great wines of Champagne. Any technical or product that could pose a risk to the environment and public or affect the quality of wine health is excluded. The independent body Ecocert SAS controls and certifies organic production according to UNECE Regulation No. 2092/91.
The health of the vine, the right balance between the quantity and quality of grapes, even the aromatic expression of the soil depend on the soil. We therefore maintain it carefully.Organic fertilization is natural (compost), manufactured in compliance "organic" and reasoned to meet the needs of the vine.We work to aerate the soil, burying the amendments. The weed is also controlled by mowing. These cultural practices prevent erosion, maintain an intense activity of the fauna and flora of the soil and encourage deep rooting of the vines.We grow three grape varieties, Pinot Black, Pinot Meunier (black grapes) and Chardonnay (white grapes). Half of the vineyard has over thirty years and some vines are over seventy years old vines produce better quality grapes.Observation and prophylactic control are essential in organic farming. The wine works are kept and performed manually. To combat noise, we employ only herbal preparations, powdered rock or trace elements, and organic insecticides harmless to the environment. Treatments are reasoned by the risk of infestation and the health status of each parcel.
At maturity, the grapes are harvested by hand and pressed in our traditional Champagne press.Afterwords settling, the must is sung in the pantry or natural indigenous yeasts transform white wine without sugaring. Ageing lasts ten months. The quality of the grapes, the long period of vinification, low volume tanks and barrels, allow natural clarification of wines, without any bleaching product, without fining and without filtration. The wine is well built slowly and naturally retains its organoleptic properties.The harvest to bottling, the barrels are topped up regularly and the wines are tasted and analyzed frequently. During the winemaking cellar, the only product used is exogenous sulfur, but at very low doses (less than 30 milligrams per liter of total S02), it is essential for us to prevent oxidation of the wine in the state our present knowledge. The different varieties and places known until vinified separately, are assembled before the draw. Stored on racks in a vaulted cellar, champagne bottles and takes foam aging on lees two to four years depending on the vintage. The stirring is then performed manually on console.

This blend of three grape varieties, Chardonnay (50%), Pinot Black (30%) and Pinot Meunier (20%), local Cumariot is Brut Nature, ie no sugar added after disgorging. Rigorous care of vines, the requirement of maturity and natural breeding in oak barrels used to obtain the necessary harmonious balance to the creation of champagne Brut Nature. Half-bottles are from the 2008 harvest, the bottles of 2010 vintage (90%) and 2009 (10%)

I say: How could I resist this note from FranklyWines: "I have 375mls of George Laval’s Brut Nature in 375ml format. It’s 2008 base and while the 750mls don’t see much dosage, these baby bottles see NONE. Really focused, almost saline. Only 22 cases of these little guys for the world… and I snagged 2 b/c I couldn’t resist. "

Aren't we interesting?  Firm. Golden in color. Yeast, chalk, the salinity Christy mentioned above. Green apple, pears, orange peel. This is a fascinating wine.

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