From LeTour: Jean François Pescheux's view
A rider from the top rank: "There is one last chance of glory? This was what we wanted to offer in putting together this stage, which is going to surprise many. It's only 125km, but what a parcours! There is barely any chance to rest. The riders will have to be on their mettle from the start to the finish at the "nearly new" summit of Semnoz. Although the yellow jersey may be safe, the podium places could well be decided on this climb, which measures 10.7km in length with an average gradient of 8.5%. We could end up with the same winner we had on Alpe-d'Huez... Rodríguez, for example. Or Froome? Or Contador. Whoever it is, it will be a rider from the top rank who will finish things off in style."
More tired legs today after yesterday's stage. Barring any accidents, Chris Froome should be the winner of the Tour de France as they ride into Paris tomorrow. But the other podium spots are still close, so we should see some attacks from the men behind to secure or gain podium spots. Rodriguez in fift h place is only 47 seconds behind Contador in second!, with Quintana and Kreuziger in between.
Plus Rolland will make every possible effort to gain King of the Mountain points. He has no gc hopes, so the polka dot jersey means much more to him than time. That competition is also oh so close: Froome 104. Rolland 103, Nieve 98, Quintana 97 and Riblon 93.
Meanwhile, as I have said all week, spare a thought for the grupetto. Their job is simply to survive the climbs today, so they can sprint tomorrow in Paris.
Wine: 2008 Domaine Dupasquier Mondeuse
From Selection Massale:
For serious winedrinkers one of the biggest problems has always been to find those increasingly rare bottles to set down in their their cellars without paying a fortune. So many of the world's classic ageworthy wines have either been priced out of reach for most people or they have been so manipulated that they are no longer the same wines that brought them to such prominence in the first price. People have started looking elsewhere, finding the best producers in Beaujolais, Muscadet, Touraine, or the Languedoc doing serious work and making wines that not many people would think of sitting on. To that list we are adding David Dupasquier's Mondeuse.
Mondeuse is a Savoyarde grape that is little grown anymore and one that many people write off as "rustic" (generally my ears perk up at this word). In 2000, after years of decline, there were estimated to be only 200 hectares grown. Like many grapes in the region it is often overcropped, leading to a watery, simple wine where the rusticity becomes an ephithet, rather than a promise of character. At its best, however, it produces a high acid, nicely tannic wine that still has a bit of that rusticity that set it apart.When we visited the domaine of David Dupasquier we found many of the things we were looking for in the Savoie. Light mineral driven reds and whites, wonderfully rocks and water Rousette, structured Marestel, things read about in Madeline Kammann's terrific Savoie: The Land, People, and Food of the French Alps. What we didn't expect was to be so leave so utterly in love by the back-vintages and current release of Mondeuse that David generously pulled out from his cellar near the end of our visit. We opened several bottles from the early 2000s and late 1990s and they were all singing. Dupasquier's Mondeuse blew us away because while they're real, slightly tannic, almost rustic in a sense, there's a sense of freshness, drinkability that isn't always found in other wines that have these characteristics. The highlight was an aged 1997 that still had plenty of secondary aromas and quite a lot of life left in it. It didn't merely taste like an old wine, it tasted like a wine that had plenty left to go. Sadly we couldn't pry any of these out of David's hands, so instead we bought the recent vintages so when you open them in 2020 (or beyond) you'll know what we are talking about. The current releases are drinking well right now due to their high acid content and fruit that gives them some freshness and the tannins are under control, not extracted like so many other wines that claim to age well. The elevage on Dupasquier's Mondeuse is traditional Burgundian elevage, there is no carbonic done to soften the wine as many (some excellent) producers are doing right now.
I say: Another easy to drink wine from Selection Massale. Lots of acid on the finish to go with the flowers, plums, raspberries and meaty-savory notes. Day two: more savory with musky and earthy notes.