Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Wines of the Tour de France Stage 4: Chateau de Bellet Baron G Blanc & Gerrans



From LeTour: Jean François Pescheux's view

High-speed stage: "An hour-long flight the evening before will enable the riders to sleep in Nice. Then they will have the morning to recover after the extremely tough passage through Corsica: in all likelihood, this should be the most physically demanding Grand Départ since San Sebastián in 1992! And now we come to this team time trial, where each team's time will be taken when their fifth rider crosses the line. Naturally, in what is a straightforward and relatively short test (25km), they are going to be moving quickly, very quickly! I am expecting an average speed of 55 kilometres/hour, and perhaps even more, on the Promenade des Anglais. There will be a duel between the Quick Step and Sky teams!"

Back on the mainland and it is time for the team time trial. I've explained the ttt before, but essentially it is all riders on the team forming a paceline to get to the finish line as quickly as possible. The time of the top 5 riders is the time for the day. I find it rather beautiful to watch, though those with hopes of yellow on weaker teams tend to not be fans.

My Podium Cafe Predictor Picks of the day: Sky, BMC, OPQS and Garmin. 

EuroHoody 5:50am via TweetDeck
What do these riders have in common? EBHagen, Millar, Evans, Roche, VdBroeck, Valverde?

The answer: If their team wins and they finish within the first five on the team, they will be in yellow.

First on the course: Argos-Shimano. Next up, OPQS, the current world team time trial champions. Though with an injured Tony Martin, will they still have a top time? As you can see from my predictor pick above, I hope so. 
On the course, Cannondale drops the injured Ted King very quickly.
CyclismasEditor 6:32am via TweetDeck
Remember, Ted King is riding w/separated shoulder, no way to use upper body to help him. He's in trouble here. Please make time cut… #TDF

Argos comes in first with 27.43, followed very quickly by OPQS at 25.57. A very good time, but will it hold up?  At the halfway point, Garmin was 4 second down to OPQS. Behind Garmin, Sky was on the course:
Sky 5:63 after Quickstep at the check point. #tdf

And Garmin comes in third:
Garmin 3rd, 16 seconds off. They will likely not be happy with that result.

Something incongruous about a #ttt going over a speed bump. #tdf

Here comes Sky and it will be close. But, by two seconds, OPQS retains the lead. Pretty impressive ride by Geraint Thomas today. As I mentioned yesterday, he is riding with a fractured pelvis. 

joelindsey 7:18am via Web
And @GeraintThomas86 lasted until about 1km to go. Amazing result for a guy riding on a busted pelvis.

The major challengers left for OPQS are probably Orica, BMC and Radioshack. But on the course, Alberto Contador's Saxo-Tinkoff comes through the intermediate point only 1:69 sec down. 
As for Ted King:
@iamtedking finished the TTT, we're waiting the last team to know if he get the time #tdf

Saxo comes in with the third best time. Orica and BMC are on the course. 
And wow:
#TDF: Orica-GreenEDGE new best time by less than a second

I am now regretting my last minute switch from Orica to BMC in the stage predictor game. Alas. BMC comes in, surprisingly slow. More importantly:

So Evans and van Garderen now sit 23 seconds or so behind Froome. That was probably not the ride they wanted today.

Radio Shack comes in slow, with Andy Schleck losing valuable time to his rivals. Plus, it looks like Ted King survives to ride another day!
A sad update:
cannondalePro 8:40am via Twitter for iPhone
With regret we have to confirm that @iamtedking is out of the #tdf due to the gap in today's TTT

Stage: Orica Greenedge
Yellow: Simon Gerrans

Wine: Chateau de Bellet Cuvee Baron G Blanc 2010 $49.99 from Frankly Wines

From the producer website, with some help from Google Translate:

Barons de Bellet based their field on Nice heights. Their title was granted in 1777 by King of the United Sardis. This native Savoy family gave its name to the appellation which celebrated its 70th anniversary in 2011: one of the oldest AOC.

The vineyards of Château de Bellet were planted around the old family chapel. The chapel was built in tribute to Agnes Roissard Bellet, who disappeared at the age of 23 years. There is a statue of her there. This visible for miles chapel was built with white stones of the ancient quarry of La Turbie. These are the same stones used in the construction of the cathedral, the famous casino and the Oceanographic Museum of the Principality of Monaco.

The reputation of the wines of Bellet is international and old. Thomas Jefferson liked the "grand cru" from Nice he discovered during a visit. This reputation continues today, the highest hills of the appellation produces wines of vertices in many ways. Château de Bellet accompanies greater opportunities: the Versailles Summit in 1982, the EU summit in Nice in 2000 or NATO in 2005, Château de Bellet has most recently served at the wedding of Prince Albert of Monaco and the Princess Charlene.

Braquet, Folle Noire and Rolle are the three names to remember for the vines producing wines of Château de Bellet. Barons Bellet were part of the "few families of winemakers" who, after World War II, replanted "old and very characteristic local varieties adapted to this area as the B Vermentino grape, locally called Rolle, and for the production of white wines and varietals such as N and Braquet Fuella Nera (Black or Wild) reserved for the development of red and rosé wines. "

Rolle, now associated with the land of Provence, has emerged on the lands of the appellation. The indigenous grape Braquet has always been equated with Bellet wines in ancient treaties ampelography. His name also comes from an old Nice family. For greater aromatic complexity, we associate a third variety in "whimsical" which he named character Folle Noire.

I say: First, a shout out to Christy at Frankly Wines. As I learned last year when I had to find a wine from the Moselle, she is my best source for hard-to-find, often imported in only small quantities and probably only to New York wines and the reality of Tour wines is that these come up every year.  Her willingness to, as she said in an email " give (her) World Atlas of Wine a workout," makes it much easier for me to find not just a wine from near the race route, but a wine that is right in terms of my palate. If you follow along with my Wines of the Giro series, you know that someone who writes "I love this year's route through the south - lots of excuses for weird whites!" understands my tastes. Thanks Christy, for today's wine and for many more to come!

Fun choice today. Nice is the only city in France that boasts its own appellation, Bellet, established in 1941. The appellation lies on the hills northwest of the city and consists of 50 hectares (about 125 acres), of which Château de Bellet, the best property, has 10.  

On first taste, it is very rich with notes of honey. But time and air bring out more complexity, with flowers, apricots, citrus and minerality. 

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