From LeTour: Jean François Pescheux's view
Symbolic moments: "After a plane transfer and a rest day at Saint-Nazaire, the Tour heads into Western France once again for a magnificent finish beneath Saint-Malo's ramparts. It's fair to say that this is a stage designed with tradition in mind, in as much as it will enable us to honour the memory of Louison Bobet and pay tribute to Bernard Hinault. This 100th edition of the Tour de France will feature another great symbol of national life: for the first time, the riders will pass through the heart of the Coëtquidan military camp, where the elite cadets from the Saint-Cyr military school will line up in their splendid uniforms to honour them. The moment will provide some unforgettable, moving and typically French images. Then we will probably see the sprinters perform..."
Wine: Luneau Papin 1999 L d'Or Muscadet
from FranklyWines $33
From the importer:
Pierre et Monique Luneau-Papin head this 50-hectare estate in Le Landreau, in the heart of Muscadet country, where small hamlets dot a landscape of vineyards on low hills. Their estate, also known as Domaine Pierre de la Grange, has been in existence since the early 18th century when it was already planted with Melon de Bourgogne, the Muscadet varietal. Pierre and Monique are the eighth generation of winemakers in the family. Pierre is a genial, low-key, distracted professor type. He is technically retired and has passed the torch to his son Pierre-Marie (who is officially heading the estate as of the 2011 vintage), but still very active in everyday aspects of cellar and vine work. His wife Monique, lively, energetic and equally genial, is the business manager.
The harvest is done by hand -also a rarity in the region- to avoid any oxidation before pressing. There is an immediate light débourbage (separation of juice from gross lees), then a 4-week fermentation at 68 degrees, followed by 6 months of aging in stainless-steel vats on fine lees. This is the classic Muscadet-sur-lie process, where the wine is kept on its lees, with a fair amount of CO2 as protection, until bottling in the spring following the harvest. The only modern technique used here is macération pelliculaire (maceration of lightly crushed berries before pressing), which varies in proportion according to the cuvées.
Some thoughts from Dr Vino (Tyler Colman) on aged Muscadet. Plus some from Eric Asimov in the New York Times.
I say: Pineapple, honey and lemon, with plenty of minerality and acid remaining. Elegant. This is a joy to drink.