Friday, July 5, 2013

Wines of the Tour de France Stage 7: Laurent Cazottes Wild Cherry & Sagan
205km Montpellier to Albi

From LeTour: Jean François Pescheux's view

A bit more rolling: "This is the third of the so-called "transition" stages, even though the route for this one is a bit more rolling: we are approaching the Pyrenees, the major objective at the end of the week. In theory, there is an opportunity here for the sprinters in a Tour that quite frankly doesn't do them a lot of favours? In fact, it is quite possible the battle for the green jersey might already have been decided. Imagine, for example, Sagan has taken two victories in Corsica, leaving him well ahead of Kittel, Cavendish, Goss, Greipel? How will his rivals catch up with him? Once again, this underlines the importance of the initial days of the race. Any time or points dropped there could be regretted to the very end!"

This is an interesting stage. Can the sprinters hold on? Will a break stay away? After missing out on yesterday's win, will Cav be so angry that he makes it to the finish?
A nice story from yesterday, from Cycling News: "It was actually Simon's idea," White instantly said when asked about the change in race lead.
"For him [Gerrans] it's two days or three days in the yellow jersey but for Daryl Impey it's going to change his life."
"It was Simon's idea," he repeated. "They're good mates and that's the sort of team we are. Simon just asked me if it was okay to give the jersey to Daryl tomorrow, and I said it was no problem at all," he added, surely aware of the added publicity a change in leadership will bring for the team and the race as a whole."
Meanwhile, away from the race, Frank Schleck has been dumped by Radio Shack. It will be interesting to see how this news affects his brother Andy here at the race.
My Podium Cafe Stage Predictor stage picks of the day:  Cav, Sagan, Gilbert and Boasson-Hagen.

Off we go. First up, the news that Christian VandeVelde has abandoned the race after a another pre-video crash. Also out after his crash yesterday: Janez Brajkovic. The break of the morning: the ever popular Jens! Voigt and Blel Kadri. With 148km remaining from 205.5km, they had a five minute plus gap.
Another lovely day of scenery as they head toward the Pyrenees. 

Cavendish has been dropped by the front of the peloton as Cannondale press the pace up front. He is in a 15-man group with three Omega Pharma-QuickStep teammates. With 113 kilometers remaining, The Cannondale surge has also slashed Voigt and Kadri's lead to 2:30.
mrconde 5:51am via web

And now Cavendish is dropped. Remember still a loooong way to go from the top of the climb. Would expect him to rejoin again.. #tdf

With 103km to go, Kadri and Voigt have 1:20 on the peloton, whichincludes  Sagan, the yellow jersey Impey and all of the main overall contenders. Andre Greipel and Marcel Kittel are just under 3 minutes down and Mark Cavendish is 4:15 back. With just about 99 kilometers to go, Voigt and Kadri are caught. 
Despite a high pace from Cannondale, Cavendish' group is now only 2 mins behind. They have taken back 1 min the last 10 km. #tdf

Cav's group caught Greiepel's and the chase continued. It was clear they would not get back on in time for the intermediate sprint point, but it seemed possible Cannondale would sit up a bit after that and they could get back to the main peloton. Sure enough, Sagan takes the intermediate points and Cannondale gives control of the race back to Orica-GreenEdge. A new break forms immediately with Jan Bakelants, Cyril Gautier and Juan José Oroz. Bakelants is only 33 seconds out of yellow, so I would imagine they will not be given much space. The Cav/Greipel group remains about two minutes behind. Cannondale heads back to the front.
Surprisingly, the gap to Bakelants and the break continues to grow and he is the virtual leader on the road. Time for Orica to to come back to the front to set pace. Behind, it is still a two minute gap to Cav, Greipel, etc. 
1'01" gap with 46km to go. Gap 2'10" to the peloton for the Cavendish group. #OPQS working hard around him. #TDF

Seconds after that tweet, that group sits up and the chase is over. Sagan is really gaining valuable green jersey points today, as he will be the clear favorite at the finish. 36 kilometers to go and the gap was only 33 seconds to the three breakaway riders.

Nice cathedral. I admit that I love the Tour visuals, mountains, cliffs, cows,  historical points and more.

20 kilometers to go and the gap is still 41 seconds to the Bakelants group.
inrng 7:53am via Web
20km to go. J-J Oroz (EUS), Jan Bakelants (RTL) and Cyrille Gautier (EUC) lead by 41w. Gautier's nickname is "Le Nain" or The Gnome

Finally at three kilometers to go, the catch. And sure enough, Sagan. 

Stage: Peter Sagan
Yellow: Daryl Impey

Wine: Laurent Cazottes Wild Cherry 

From Frankly Wines
A write-up from K&L, where one can also buy the wines : Laurent Cazottes is considered the king of artisan distillation in France when it comes to eau de vie and liqueurs. Every part of the production process is focused on quality. His fruits are grown biodynamically, they're all hand-picked, they only use the finest parts of the fruit, and their products maintain more freshness and purity than perhaps any other producer in the business. For this reason they are not inexpensive. They are proudly displayed on the menus of the finest restaurants in France and have become almost mythical in their status. When our pal Nicolas Palazzi decided to be the American importer for Cazottes, he was in a bit of a pickle. On one hand he had the chance to represent one of his true heroes for artisan spirits. On the other hand, the Cazottes products are nearly triple the price of their American counterparts. Always up for a challenge, Nicolas decided to make it his duty to spread the word. We tasted with him. We instantly became believers along side him. The Wild Cherry is without a doubt the best cherry liqueur I have ever tasted. It transcends what we think cherry liqueur can be and makes any competitor look foolish for even trying. The tangy vibrancy of the fruit is front and center, with a sweetness that pops with each sip. Whether that's worth the price of admission will eventually be up to the consumer, but there's no arguing that these spirits are in a class to themselves.

I say: Wow does this smell lovely. Cherries and spice. Visiting friend call it "delicious." Smells like concentrated, dried cherries. Very smooth. I was expecting something more like grappa, but instead this is lighter, more like a true cherry dessert wine. I'd love to try their other products. More here.

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