Friday, July 12, 2013

Wines of the Tour de France Stage 13: Domaine de la Folie “Petite Fugue” & Cav
173km Tours to Saint-Amand-Montrond

From LeTour: Jean François Pescheux's view

A strange situation:  "On this kind of stage where there is no obvious difficulty, the likelihood is that Sagan, Cavendish or Greipel will be wearing the green jersey and wanting to consolidate their grip on it at the finish... However, I've done some sums and realised it is not out of the question that a man like Contador might spend several days in green! He will score points in Corsica, in the Pyrenees and in the time trial. On those occasions, the top sprinters, save for perhaps Sagan, will be right at the back. In other words, we could see quite a strange situation that could spice up the race. It would be like a race within a race, confirming the unexpected is always possible on the Tour."

Well, so much for Pescheux's guesses for the day. Remember though, that they were written months back

Cav is certainly having a hard week. I find myself wondering, after getting caught yesterday, if he is still not 100% after his bronchitis. Who knows? I'm picking the sprinters again today in the Podium Cafe Stage Predictor game: Cav, Sagan, Greipel and Kittel. 

A couple of lovely and sentimental thoughts from twitter:

MarkCavendish 1:45pm via Twitter for iPhone

Asked @petatodd if I could keep Delilah's pyjama top after they visited on the rest day. I'm just sat smelling it. The ultimate relaxant.

millarmind 1:32pm via Twitter for BlackBerry®
People tend to forget about our better halves, they do their own Tour de France, year round.

My wife gets 'Ride of The Day' for travelling from Spain to England on her own with our two baby boys & saying, "Don't worry, it was easy."

Time for the stage or as I may think of it : House Hunters International--The Chateaus. Live coverage kicks in with about 138 kilometers remaining. A break of six riders is up the road, with a 3 minute gap. The escapees are: Gene (Europcar), Perez (Euskaltel), Mate (Cofidis), Niemiec (Lampre Merida), Boeckmans (Vacansoleil-DCM) und Lemoine (Sojasun).

Ooh, splits in the peloton. Now that is fun. In the second group: Kittel, Greg Henderson (Greipel's leadout man), and more. Nice job OPQS. 
opqscyclingteam 6:04am via TweetDeck
#TDF: Froome, Sagan, Kwiatkowski and Cavendish of #OPQS, Rolland in the front echelon. Kittel in the second echelon.

#TDF: Second echelon within 10" of the front echelon with #OPQS. Break less than 2 minutes ahead now.
opqscyclingteam 6:07am via TweetDeck
Third echelon is closer to 40" back, with Hesjedal & Voeckler. #TDF
  mrconde 6:10am via Web
Both Degenkolb and Kittel in the 2nd group with GreenEdge and Gilbert. #tdf
#TDF: Gap has grown. 52" to the peloton, 1'35" to the Kittel group, 2'23" to the Voeckler group. #OPQS on the front with Belkin!

96 kilometers to go and the break has been caught by the splintered peloton. This is why I get up early even for these predicted to be dull stages. Unexpected echelons! I'd like to start a band and call it that.

Valverde mechanical!
#TDF: 1'05" now to the Kittel group. Terpstra setting the pace as the lead group passes through the feed zone. Issue w/ bike of Valverde.

Team time trial now for Valverde, he has four teammates helping to bring him back. 

Ha. Valverde goes hard and his teammates behind can't follow.. The 5 Movistar riders are 12 seconds behind the peloton lead by Belkin. #TDF
Rui Costa goes back to help Valverde as well. Qunitana, however, stays with the front group. It looks like they will be caught by the Kittel group. Sure enough, they come together behind. 

mrconde 6:41am via Web

Movistar wait for Kittel's group. Gap of about 55 seconds to the peloton. Let the 3rd chase start now. #tdf
Last year, Movistar went hard on the front when Leipheimer (OPQS) crashed. Chapter 10 of the story today? #tdf

On the road, with the current gap, Valverde has dropped from second to sixth on GC. But will they make up time? Lots of time left to ride today.

Mollema is now virtual "first guy losing to Froome" right now.

Ahead, Greipel once again wins the intermediate sprint, with Cav and Sagan behind. Behind, the gap is now 1:40 to the Valverde/Kittel group. Hey, look, a chateau. I'd almost forgotten them. 

#TDF: Gap has dropped, now down to 57".
mrconde 7:10am via Web
GreenEdge with the Canadian time machine Svein Tuft are setting the pace and the gap drops quickly! 45 seconds! #tdf

With 53 kilometers remaining: lead group; Valverde group at 0:51; Kittel group at 1:10; and Voeckler group at 5:00. Further splits are happening as Porte and Gesink, among others, are dropped from the front group. Especially with Edvald Boasson-Hagen out, Sky must be thrilled to be gaining all of this time without working at all.
They went to a Tour stage and a Classic broke out today.

Just when I thought the stage could not improve anymore, K presented me with one of these, fresh from the oven.  
#TDF: 38.5km to go, 1'59" gap to the Kittel group now. Belkin and #OPQS have been working together on the front for quite some time.

In other news, this greatly reduced group should make the sprint finish safer. Fingers crossed for that. 

Another split with Saxo at the front. Froome has missed the split!
Gap going fast ... Froome only has three teammates; Porte is already back
mrconde 7:36am via Web
Only about 10 riders in front after Saxo-Tinkoff went hard. 30 km to go! #tdf
#TDF: Sagan, Bodnar, Fuglsang, Contador, Bennati, Roche, Rogers, Cav, Chava, Terpstra, Mollema, Ten Dam in this group. #OPQS

So much for a relaxed day for Sky. The gap is only 10 seconds though to that front group. But it is going up.

opqscyclingteam 7:48am via TweetDeck
#TDF: Saxo-Tinkoff leading it, 23" gap to the yellow and white jersey group.

#TDF: 19.2km to go, gap up to 30"

#TDF: Froome losing teammates in his group, 13.6km to go, 39" gap.

If it comes down to Sagan versus Cav, Cav has worked a lot more today than Sagan. But given how today has gone, there may still be a surprise or two ahead. Five kilometers to go and the gap is one minute! 
#TDF: 3.6km to go, 1'03" gap! 8'06" now to Valverde/Kittel group!

Yay!!!!!!!! A well deserved win for Mark Cavendish. Great riding by him and Chavanel and Terpstra in that lead group. I've said it too many times now, but Sky really should have brought Bernie Eisel to the Tour. An experienced road captain would be a big help to Froome.

Froome group arriving now, yellow jersey has lost 1.10 on Mollema and Contador. A great race continues.

Stage: Mark Cavendish
Yellow: Chris Froome

2 Mollema +2:28 3 Contador +2:45 4 Kreuziger +2:48 5 Ten Dam +3:01 6 Fuglsang +4:39 7 Kwiatkowski +4:44 8 Quintana +5:18

Wine:  2011 Domaine de la Folie “Petite Fugue”

Producer website:

From Selection Massale: The most important bottle of wine I've ever had in my life was a Pineau d'Aunis, this strange, rustic, nearly extinct red grape from the Loire valley.  It was made by a man named Eric Nicolas at Domaine de Belliviere, in the North of the valley.  I drank the bottle by myself with a penne all'arriabiata.  I drank the whole thing, my eyes widening more and more after each sip.  It was good.  It was brilliant.  It was potential, the potential of what wine could be, so much more than the simple pallet of most modern wines.  it was also potential, the potential of how little I knew about wine, about how much there was to understand, about how much was out there to be drank.  My mind bended, snapped and fell back into a different place.  I was smitten, it was never going to be the same.

A few years later, tasting with a potential supplier for the second time, a vigneronne named Valérye Mordelet said something to me that I could have missed.  We were drinking mostly Montlouis, which is the bulk of their production.   She had started to make wine in the Loire because of a single grape, a small unknown grape cultivated by a few people that she fell in love with.  In 2010 she finally found a small plot of it and was able to make her dream wine.

Pineau d'Aunis.

I waited a second to respond, my mind racing to put together my thoughts in French about how to explain to her that I wouldn't be standing there if it wasn't for that grape.  Same as her.  I probably didn't say it right, but my mixture of French, English, speaking in tongues, and pure enthusiasm got my message across.  She got up smiled, left the Montlouis on the table went in to another room for a moment and returned, laden with bottles of Petite Fugue, her baby.  We sat there and drank deeply and talked about the various Pineau d'Aunis' of the Loire, from the more polished Belliviere to the raw, rustic style of Puzelat and Emile Heredia to the words-cannot-describe beauty of Clos Roche Blanche.  I had found a kindred spirit, and I found a wine I had been searching for.  I left with a trunk full of bottles.

Valérye is a vigneronne who lets the grapes dictate the vinification.  In 2010 the Petite Fugue was made almost like a rose, light, with alcohol coming in at a mere 11%. It is almost entirely textureless, and really does drink like rose. The 2011 is still light, but vinified like a traditional red wine (and more traditional for this grape), and it is absolutely beautiful (Frantz Saumon called it one of the best examples he's ever had of the grape). Both wines have the unmistakeable characteristics of Pineau d'Aunis that make it a wholly unique wine, that rusticity, that strong sense of soil and minerality.  

I say: Another Loire red today. This time, the more obscure Pineau d'Aunis. Trivia: A favorite of Henry Plantagenet, the English king had Pineau d'Aunis wine first brought to England in 1246. F

ar from my first go-round with this wine and it is one that I always have to either have with company or consciously tell myself that I should stop pouring more glasses for myself. Pretty much the definition of gulpable.  Bright, with back pepper, floral, tannins.

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