Sunday, July 7, 2013

Wines of the Tour de France Stage 9: Domaine Bru-Bache & Dan Martin
165km Saint-Girons to Bagnères-de-Bigorre

From LeTour: Jean François Pescheux's view

Five passes on the menu:  "If you can say yesterday's stage could effectively be summed up, as far as the favourites are concerned, as a hill-climb decided on the final ascent, today's menu will have another flavour entirely? Firstly, it's a relatively short stage (165km). Next, it is extremely difficult, featuring no fewer than five passes. Our aim? To complicate the racing strategy and maintain the suspense? That's why there is a long and demanding 30km descent into the finish at Bagnères-de-Bigorre. We thought it might inspire the likes of Nibali or Evans to put together an interesting tactical plan in the hope of destabilising the likely dominance of the Sky Pro Cycling team."

Destabilizing the likely dominance of Sky indeed. Excellent prognostication from Pescheux. Well, yesterday was interesting indeed. Has Froome won the race? Many think so. On the other hand, there are many days left in the race and many opportunities for a bad day or other issue to change things. He was certainly impressive yesterday, with incredible support from Richie Porte and Peter Kennaugh.

If you are on twitter and would like some inside the race amusement, be sure to check out the back and forth between Greg HendersonAdam Hansen and Andre Greipel.
My PodiumCafe Predictor picks of the day:  Porte, Valverde, Evans and Anton. 

Up at 4 a.m. to watch and I have already missed a lot. To summarize: chaos. Attacks started almost instantly and they were frequent. 
From Podium Cafe: "I have no idea what's going on and who's where
It’s even better than Belgian Wednesday racing" Cycling News says, that with about 100 km remaining "Let's see if we can set things up here: Hesjedal and Rolland are in front, with 10 riders behind them. The next group is Valverde, Froome and Plaza, with Contador and Evans in a group behind them. But things are changing with every meter...." The fine folks at Podium Cafe tell me that seems about right, plus "currently rogers dragged conta's group up to froome's group." So there we are, I think.
inrng 4:25am via Web

Race regrouping in the valley. What if everything calmed down for the rest of the stage? Unlikely given Froome is isolated

Carnage. Saxo missing the boat. @Ride_Argyle and Movistar making this the best stage in the last 20 years.

What a stage #tdf, very bad for the sprinters. But a great publicity for cycling

Bonnie_D_Ford 4:23am via Twitter for iPhone
The #tdf doesn't seem to be over.

For the moment at least, the five riders up the road are Bardet, Rolland, Hesjedal, De Gendt and De Clercq. Or make that four, as De Gendt is dropped. 

Edvald Boasson Hagen is killing himself! Big Team Sky group just 1:20 min after Contador/Valverde/Froome now! #tdf

A helpful screen cap from Podium Cafe, group 2, they tell me is: Bakelants, Vichot and Geschke:
  inrng 4:40am via Web
They'll sell commemorative t-shirts of this stage for 20 years

Meanwhile, De Gendt is back with the front group. Bakelants reaching them as well. Behind:
mrconde 4:49am via Web

1:05 min from Froome/Valverde/Contador group to Porte/Sagan group. Amador (Movistar) still leading the pack. #tdf

Seems like Geraint Thomas has blown the other group a part. Only 7-8 riders with him and Porte on their way back. 1:10 min. #tdf

Although I wish he was still riding, I'm enjoying the Christian VandeVede insight on twitter:
ChristianVDV 4:54am via Twitter for iPad

Don't forget about the race within the race today. There will be many riders racing flat out just to make the time cut today.

#TDF: 80.2 to go, Bardet, Rolland, Bakelants, Hesjedal, De Clerq 38" on Froome group (about 25 riders). 2'13" on a 11 rider group w/ Porte

So it looks like Froome will continue to remain alone for the final 70 kilometers of the stage. More attacks clearly to come!  What a fun day of racing to watch. Though if I am confused here, I can't imagine what it is like on the road. 
A good reminder to everyone saying that the race was over after yesterday:
@SkyOrla never pre-write stories at the Tour; I've learned that lesson!

Outstanding performance from Simon Clarke. He was behind the yellow jersey group. Joined. Attacked. Joined the front. Attacked. Now alone.

I laughed:
Haven't seen so many Movistars since Oceans 11... #tdf

#TDF: 63.3km to go, Clarke ahead of Bardet, Rolland, Bakelants, Hesjedal, De Clerq by 46". About 1'34" on the Froome group.

Here comes Porte:
inrng 5:32am via Web
Richie Porte looks to have found his climbing legs again. He can see the cars behind the Froome group and is closing in

Ahead of him, Movistar pushes the pace. Clarke goes first over the penultimate summit of the day, followed by Rolland, Bardet and DeClerq at around 20 seconds. Next up, the yellow jersey group with the isolated Froome and many Movistar at 1:20 back. Porte finally crosses, in a small group, 3:15 back. 

Bonnie_D_Ford 5:47am via Twitter for iPad
Did this climb inadvertently once, by car, at dusk, as pre-GPS "shortcut" between finish town & next day's start. White-knuckled most if it.

The descent, of course, was worse. Had to pull over and compose myself. #noguardrails #tdf
mrconde 5:55am via Web
Clarke caught in front by Bardet, Rolland & De Clercq. Gap of 56 seconds to the big group. 51 km to go. #tdf

Behind them, Porte has fallen even further back. I find myself wondering again about the grupetto. Here's hoping that they can make the time cut. Time for the final climb:
#TDF: Froome group now has 34 riders listed. Chavanel on the back. 40.3km to go, 10" gap to four.
Final climb of the La Hourquette d’Ancizan starts. Romain Bardet takes off solo. Others rode Dauphiné or Suisse but he was sitting uni exams

Bardet caught. Will Movistar attack? Here goes Quintana, but the group follows. Next, Dan Martin! Behind, Quintana again. More surprisingly, Andy Schleck is still there. 
Quintana goes again for the third time. Froome chases, sat in the saddle. No time gap to Dan Martin and Jakob Fuglsang yet

First over the final summit Dan Martin and Jakob Fuglsang. 
#TDF: 30km to go, 46" gap to the Froome group. Kwiatkowski back with the group of about 18 riders! #OPQS

We need a little hesitation in the group behind..... Please!

Certainties: death, taxes, Schleck losing contact on descents.

10 kilometers to go and 25 seconds to Martin and Fuglsang. 5 km and they were maintaining their gap. Meanwhile, Contador is pleased, grinning at the camera. 
Perfect tactics from Martin! 

Vaughters 7:14am via Twitter for iPhone

Stage: Dan Martin
Yellow: Chris Froome

Wine: Domaine Bru-Bache 2010 Jurancon
from Kermit Lynch: In a tiny stone cellar in the mountain town of Monein, Claude Loustalot continues the tradition first started by his charming uncle, founder Georges Bru-Baché. Although the Bru-Baché-Loustalot clan has been making wine in the Pyrénées since the 1960s, it was not until 1973 that they first began to bottle under their own label.  Like many smaller wine regions that were decimated by phylloxera from the late nineteenth century to the early twentieth, Jurançon was one of the first to receive A.O.C. status, but has been very slow to recover its production. Since taking over the family domaine in 1994, Claude Loustalot has been bringing pride back to the Jurançon appellation and has taken steps to restore these specialized wines to their former glory.

Claude farms ten hectares of terraced vineyards along steep slopes surrounded by breathtaking views of the snow-capped mountains that crown the Basque country. The majority of his holdings are planted to the indigenous varietals, Gros Manseng and Petit Manseng, the former producing a dry, crisp white genetically linked to the Albariño of Spain, and the latter producing an exquisite sweet wine. Claude has implemented biodynamic viticultural practices in the vineyards since 2006 (receiving certification in 2009), which has helped him achieve both purity of expression in his grapes as well as a completely interdependent ecosystem virtually right out of his front door, where sheep graze between vineyard rows. In his garage, he can often be seen blending herbal teas (or tisanes) like Domaine Arretxea, creating his own natural remedies for the vines.

Claude bottles six spectacular cuvées. In his bottlings of Gros Manseng, Claude plays with both tank and wood-aging. Laden with citrus notes and stony minerals (from the schist and limestone soils), these cuvées have terrific complexity for wines so refreshing and easy-to-enjoy. His Petit Manseng bottlings are simply divine. Through the process of passerillage, the grapes achieve an intense raisin-like ripeness by extended hang time on the vines. Their thick skins retain the sugars while preventing rot. They are harvested successively in November and December, concentrated and ready to press. Claude has carried the torch with such success that even the impartial reference manual, The Oxford Companion to Wine, continues to recognize the domaine’s Jurançons as among the best in the appellation.


• Same blend as the sec (100% gros manseng) but it is harvested later using passerillage method
• Aged for six months is stainless steel cuves
• Darker color, more of a moelleux in style, but with mouthwatering acidity.  Much less concentrated than all of his petit manseng wines.  This is the classic, textbook example of Jurançon.

I say: Always hard to find wines from this area. There have been many years I have visited 5+ stores, as K will complain, in search of wines from the Pyrenees. So a special thank you to Raphael Knapp, the importer of Return to Terroir, for the Jurancon suggestion. The wine today is not his, but do check out his portfolio here.

As for the wine:  Deep, golden yellow. Honeyed yellow peaches with some acid on the finish.

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