Thursday, May 22, 2014

Wines of the Giro Stage 12: Rigoberto Uran Into Pink & Bartolo Mascarello Dolcetto d'Alba

Where are we: Heading kilometers from Barbaresco to Barolo. Both areas are probably best known for their wines.
Barbaresco is a  red wine made with Nebbiolo grapes and aged for a minimum of 26 months, at least nine of them in oak. Barolo is also a red wine made with Nebbiolo grapes and aged for a minimum of 38 months, at least eighteen in wooden barrels.
I'm liking the food listings on the stages info pages on La Gazetta, so will continue to include them. Some highlights on their list today: Piedmont's traditional appetizers (vitello tonnato, Russian salad, Alba-style raw beef, etc.); tajarin (taglierini) with butter and Alba white truffles or ragu, agnolotti del plin (pinched agnolotti); bollito misto (boiled meats), rabbit in Arneis wine; coffee or chocolate bonet (pudding), zabaione, nougat semifreddo

The route: ITT time. 41.9km of rolling roads through the Barolo vineyards. Sounds like a lovely ride for a relaxing afternoon, but one that will be a lot less fun for the riders. A climb, descent, flat section and then some more climbing before what is described as a technical (read: tricky) descent.

The race: Weather may be an issue today.

Also, Quintana has a cold. 
The early leader was Patrick Gretsch. The weather conditions really did look bad. A new leader: Thomas De Gendt!

On the course, an awful crash for Tobias Ludvigsson who flew over the barriers and landed in a garden. 
A report from Podium Cafe on a call from the current leader Thomas De Gendt on Sporza. I laughed at this: "I’m sitting on the hot seat – not that’s it very hot here. It’s a chair in front of a tv behind the podium. It’s outside, in a tent." (The hot seat is simply a spot where the current leader in a time trial stage sits and waits while the other riders finish.)
Back in the start house, many close-ups of Ivan Basso. And why not? 
Wow! Great ride by Diego Ulissi. He rode into first by 50 seconds over De Gendt, a huge gap in a time trial. Making the tv producers job easier, Ulissi finished just in time for the start of Cadel Evans.
With the main gc contenders on the course, the intermediate check times were suddenly a lot faster than earlier in the day as weather conditions improved.  
Yikes. Cadel Evans starts out very slow. Ahead of him, Uran was going very fast, making him the virtual race leader on the road. The Omega Pharma Quick Step team was having a great day.
Wow again. Uran in over a minute ahead of Ulissi. He may very well have ridden himself into pink. Behind, Cadel Evans took a slight detour off the road. It actually was not that bad a day for Evans, as he finishes third on the day, rather it was a great one for Uran. Major changes to the GC today. The mountains ahead will be very interesting.

Stage: Rigoberto Uran

The wine: Bartolo Mascarello Dolcetto d'Alba

From the importer:
Varietals: Dolcetto
Vineyard: Sourced from the Monrobiolo and Rue vineyards in Barolo.
Orientation: Monrobiolo southwest, Rue east.
Soil: Clay with sand, tufa and limestone substrates.
Viticulture: Traditional, conventional. Average age of vines is about 25 years. We do not use chemical pesticides or fertilizers. Composted cow manure is used for fertilization and mechanical mowing is used to keep cover plants under control. Sulfur and copper are used during the season to combat oidium and peronospora. Vines are unirrigated (by DOC laws). Training is guyot and density is about 3500 plants per hectare.
Aging: The Dolcetto is stored in large botti (casks) of Slavonian Oak for 6-9 months in a natural ageing cellar, then bottled the following late July. Malolactic fermentation is not forced and occurs in the botti. The botti range from 25 to 50 hectoliters and average 10-12 years of age.

Read more about them here, in a really great blog post from Levi Dalton. Also more here, from Rare Wine Co.

I say: I debated drinking a Barolo. (Spoiler: tomorrow Barbaresco.) But budget, plus an excellent suggestion from the folks at Dig sent me to this wine. So, a doclcetto d'Alba from a great Barolo house. Click on the highly recommended links above to learn a lot more about the producer. 
Deep purple in the glass, with plums and cherries with a hint of violets and herbs. I paired it with pizza on day one and pasta with homemade tomato sauce and sausage on day two and the acid helped it to hold up well to both. More please!

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