Sunday, July 14, 2013

Wines of the Tour de France Stage 15: Bastille Day: Ventoux, Souhaut La Souteronne & Froome
242 km Givors to Mont Ventoux

From LeTour: Jean François Pescheux's view

A fully deserved winner: "This stage is the longest of this 100th Tour. It is also one of the most prestigious because nobody wins by chance on the Ventoux, especially not on 14 July? There are two scenarios: either a group gets away from a long way out and maintains enough of an advantage for the escapees to fight it between themselves; or the leaders shut down the race as far as the foot of the climb, transforming the stage into one enormous hill-climb! Depending on the weather, a lot of damage could be done today. Imagine what it could be like if there's blazing heat all day? Whether you're in the yellow jersey or not, if you do badly on this climb you will lose a quarter of an hour!"

The longest stage of the race. Mount Ventoux. Bastille Day. Talk about an eagerly anticipated stage. First, a video of the OPQS team car at the end of yesterday's stage. Next, some safety advice from David Millar:

millarmind Jul 12, 2:11pm via Twitter for BlackBerry®

The race director of the TdF asked me to use my 'tweeter' to offer safety guidance for the brilliant public on the road. I have 4 tips-
1. Do not stand on the road, it may seem unimaginable in the hours of waiting preceding the race, but when we do arrive we use ALL of it!
2. Remove children/pets/chairs from road when stepping back to avoid us, they more often than not end up being forgotten in the panic.
3. Bike riders appear further away through a camera lense/phone/ipad than they actually are, take a long shot, not a close-up! 
4. Cheer for me! We hear everything when passing and, most importantly, enjoy the spectacle, I'll be standing there with you soon.

As for today's route, I highly recommend a look at
this post from WillJ on Podium Cafe. There is a lot of history for the Tour here and I expect tv coverage to hit the key points. But as for the climb itself, Will tells us:
"The 2013 Tour will ride the classic Bédoin side. At 21.5 kilometres and 1610 metres of ascent it averages 7.5%. Broadly speaking the climb can be divided into three sections:
  • Easy: The first 6 kms are open, and not steep. A perfect warm-up.
  • Very Hard: At Les Bruns, the road turns sharply left and heads up and into the forest. The next ten kilometres are consistently brutal. Few hairpins, but a continually wiggly road through the Réserve de Biosphère du Mont Ventoux – a rare ecological environment.
  • Hard: At Chalet Reynard, the route exits the woods for a final 6 glorious (and usually windy) kilometres through a unique lunar environment.
  The action today should be up front, but spare a thought for the likely suffering in the grupetto. Lotto leadout main Greg Henderson may need some help:

Greghenderson1 12:08am via Twitter for Android

How do you say "give me a push mate" in French?

Cav is also not looking forward to the climb:
Bastille Day means big French motivation. Mont Ventoux means big climber motivation. All these things mean a grim day for sprinters.
My Podium Cafe Stage Predictor picks of the day:  Froome, Contador, Evans and Quintana.  

Up early
to watch, with a little less sleep than intended due to Tim Linceum's no-hitter last night. The pre-video break of the day has some interesting names: Peter Sagan (Cannondale), Markel Irizar (Radioshack), Pierrick Fédrigo and Jeremy Roy (, Christophe Riblon (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Alberto Losada (Katusha), Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), Daryl Impey (Orica-GreenEdge), Wouter Poels (Vacansoleil) and Julien El Fares (Sojasun). Can Chavanel win another for OPQS? I'd be delighted to see that as the result. 

TeamSky 4:10am via web
The gap to the break is down to just 4' 35" with Europcar pushing hard on the front at almost half distance today #TDF

  TeamSky 4:54am via web
Movistar have hit the front now. Four KOMs in the books and we're inside 100km to go. Next stop is Mont Ventoux! #TDF

Video! I see bikes. Or, at least, men talking about bikes. 

Nice field art. Someday I'd like to know the backstory of these projects. How long does it take? How do they choose an image? Is it one farmer or a group?

opqscyclingteam 5:12am via TweetDeck
#TDF: 82.3km to go, gap 3'32".

Movistar has been pushing the pace at the front of the peloton. A really fast start to today's stage--the riders are about 45 minutes ahead of the fastest time schedule. 

#TDF: 67.2km to go, 3'28" gap
inrng 5:56am via Web
47km to go for today's stage, the race is running almost an hour ahead of schedule

The average speed for the first four hours of the stage has been almost 45 km/hour. NBC has promised us commercial free coverage later in the stage, which means that up until this point we have had ads every 2 minutes or so. Hey look, the Tour de France spin bike ad. I had almost forgotten you.
At the intermediate sprint point, Sagan looks repeatedly at Chavanel, in case he tries to steal the points, but Sagan is unchallenged and takes maximum points. As we head to yet another commercial, 34.2km to go, gap 3'46".
Seven kilometers from the start of the climb and I hear that Sky has come to the front. Please start the uninterrupted coverage soon NBCSN. 
Sky hit the front as they climb Col de la Madeleine, a small uncategorised climb before Bédoin and Mont Ventoux. Riders being dropped

Bye sprinters! Good luck in the grupetto. I hope you get a push or two. Those without commercials tell me that Chavanel has attacked the break. He has about 1:39 on the peloton as riders continue to drop behind. Sagan meanwhile does wheelies as he is caught by the bunch.
15 kilometers to go and Chavanel hits the steep climbs with 1:21 over the field. Movistar back on the front behind. Favorites still together, though there goes Andy Schleck off the back. 
opqscyclingteam 6:49am via TweetDeck
#TDF: Irizar and Riblon are the only escapees other than Chavanel still ahead.

12 kilometers to go and Chava has 47 seconds as Quintana jumps out of the peloton. No response from the group. Ahead, Nieve passes Chavanel. 
Froome didnt't give Quintana more than one meter the other day. Today he barely looked at him... 12.5 km to go. #tdf

Quintana flies by Chavanel, who is soon enough caught by the peloton. Nieve still has about 14 seconds on him, with the peoton 39 seconds back. Cadel Evans dropped, but he does have Morabito to help.  

Into the final 10km. Quintana has 40" on the peloton. @Petekennaugh still doing a superb job on the front. Porte and Froome behind #TDF

Strangely, Sky has just passed out feed bags. That will be a fine as it is too late in the race. Just about 9 kilometers to go and Kennaugh drops.

opqscyclingteam 7:07am via TweetDeck

#TDF: Kwiatkowski has lost contact with the peloton. 8.8km to go, 45" gap.

 Richie Porte continues to lead the group. Valverde, Gesink, Martin and others drop. Left: Porte, Froome, Contador and Kreuziger.
inrng 7:09am via Web
Porte, Froome, Contador and Kreuziger are riding away from the others

Kreuziger cracks, but joins with a group behind. 15 second gap to the Nieve and Quintana. Froome attacks, flying ahead alone! 7 kilometers to go. 6.6 kilometers to go and he passes Quintana. 
On the side of the road, a shirtless man carrying a pig:
Quintana catches back up to Froome. 
Quintana and Froome's working together, they're exchanging words
Froome puts in an attack, Quintana tracks him. They lead by 37 seconds on Contador and Nieve

3 kilometers to go and the news that Chavanel has one the most combatative rider of the day award. 
jasonWSJ 7:22am via Twitter for iPhone
Wiggins opens a beer, puts on a Paul Weller album, sighs...

Just under 2 kilometers to go and Froome drops Quintana. 
The Tour de France is bananas. Imagine a Super Bowl. Then imagine the Super Bowl nearly every day for 3 weeks. That's the Tour de France.

Froome! And we then get to see everyone trickle in behind. 

Stage: Chris Froome
2    Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team
3    Mikel Nieve Ituralde (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
4    Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha
5    Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Team Saxo-Tinkoff
6    Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Team Saxo-Tinkoff
7    Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team
8    Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling Team
9    Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
10    Bart De Clercq (Bel) Lotto Belisol
Yellow: Chris Froome
2. Mollema (BEL) at 4'14"
3. Contador (TST) at 4'25"
4. Kreuziger (TST) at 4'28"
5. Ten Dam (BEL) at 4'54"
6. Quintana (MOV) at 5'47"
7. Fuglsang (AST) at 6'22"
8. Rodriguez (KAT) at 7'11"
9. Peraud (ALM) at 7'47"
10. Kwiatkowski (OPQ) at 7'58"

Wine: 2011 Domaine Romaneaux-Destezet (Herve Souhaut) La Souteronne
from FranklyWines $25.00
From Jenny and Francois, the importer: Hervé Souhaut created Domaine Romaneaux-Destezet in 1993. Hervé works 5 hectares of old and ancient vines—between 50 to 100 years-old—located on the right bank of the Rhône Valley just opposite the storied hills of Hermitage. This region is widely recognized as being one of the finest areas for wine production on the planet; thanks in part to its elevation, ancient vineyard sites and the southeastern and southern exposures.
La Souteronne Vin De Pays: 
Age of Vines: 60 to 80 years old non-clone vines.
Yields: 25 hl/ha 3,000 bottles annually.
Pruning Method: Gobelet
Soil: Schist.
Varietals: Gamay.
Vinification Method: Grapes are hand-harvested & undergo a very long maceration at a low temperature—without de-stemming the fruit. The wine is fermented in wooden tanks &  aged on fine lees in secondhand oak casks for eight months. The wine is bottled without filtration. Total SO2 is only 25 mg/L.
Tasting Note: Nearly purple in the glass with a garnet rim. The nose is an enticing array of strawberry, black cherry, plum, fig paste, smoky herbs and pounded stones. Buoyant black fruit dominates the palate and is followed by pretty red berry tones, and smoky minerality that is framed by a judicious note of wood. This is an elegant and dynamic old vines Gamay.

I say: One of my most anticipated wines of the Tour for one of the most anticipated stages of the race.  It does not disappoint. French Gamay from a great producer, not in Beaujolais. Fresh and floral, some pepper, nice acidity. Cherries, violets, alpine strawberries, with herbs and stones. Elegant but very, very gulpable. Another wine that I could happily buy a case of and enjoy again and again.

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