Saturday, May 24, 2014

Wines of the Giro Stage 14: Up They Go: Battaglin & Sottimano Mate 2012

Where are we: Still in Piedmont heading uphill 164 kilometers  from Agliè to Oropa. La Gazetta tells us that Agliè is a medieval village in the heart of the historical Canavese region; its industry thrived in the 20th century thanks to companies such as Olivetti (the famous Lettera 22 typewriter was produced here for a long time). Agliè is currently dedicated to tourism and viniculture.

A UNESCO World Heritage site, Oropa is the most important and largest  sanctuary dedicated to the Virgin Mary to be found in the Alps. It is located in a unique, natural and unspoilt setting at 1200 mt. a.m.s.l, at only 20 minutes drive from the centre of Biella.

Our foods of the day from La Gazetta: Aglie: Risotto with blueberries and Erbaluce di Caluso wine, agnolotti with fondue and hazelnuts; torcetti di Agliè (twisted cookies), paste di meliga (fine maize flour cookies)
Oropa:  Pulenta cunscia (polenta with cheeses from local pastures), fondue, ris an cagnan (risotto with toma cheese and browned butter); salam la duja (salami dipped in pork lard), salam d patata (salami with potatoes); honey or raisin mostarda (served with bollito misto); paste di meliga, canestrelli biscuits

The route: Why hello there our fine friend High Mountains. We've been waiting for you. Today we have four categorised climbs on the route with a uphill finish in Oropa. Recommended: the PodiumCafe mountain preview.

The race

Our morning break is rather large this morning:
Valerio Agnoli (Astana), Axel Domont (Ag2r la Mondiale), Marco Frapporti and Emanuele Sella (Androni Venezuela), Enrico Battaglin (Bardiani CSF), Martijn Keizer (Belkin), Manuel Quinziato (BMC), Paolo Longo Borghini (Cannondale), Jarlinson Pantano (Colombia), Mattia Cattaneo and Jan Polanc (Lampre Merida), Tim Wellens (Lotto Belisol), Julien Vermote (Omega Quick Step), Ivan Santaromita (Orica GreenEdge), Albert Timmer (Giant Shimano), Perrig Quemeneur (Europcar), Darico Cataldo and Boasson Hagen (Sky), Nicolas Roche (Saxo Tinkoff), Danilo Hondo (Trek) and Yonathan Monsalve (Neri Sottoli). With 82 kilometers remaining, their gap was around nine minutes.

 Along the road:

Two more abandonments: Kanstantsin Siutsou of Sky and Pieter Weening. Orica has had a great race, but are down to just four remaining riders. Sky on the other hand, has had a lousy Giro. With 69 kilometers to go, the gap was at 6:50. With 52km to go the gap was at 8'59, the pace behind was slow enough that Bouhanni was still with the bunch.  
Speaking of the bunch, they seemed less than delighted by the flares fans set off along the course.  

Just under 50 kilometers to go and the first attack from the peloton: Pierre Rolland. Joining him, Thurau, Amador and Zoidl. Next ones out of the pack:
Haas and Hesjedal from Garmin Sharp. Quickly joining them, Izaguirre. Hesjedal, Izaguirre, Thurau, Rolland, Zoidl all together. Ahead, Roche attacked his breakaway mates. So many groups on the road, so few cameras.
Roche had ten second at the top of the climb with the Rolland group at 4'25, the Haas, Pirazzi group at 5'05, and the peloton at 5'48. 

There were apparently about 12 riders left in that front group, including Roche. 
After a mechanical for Quinziato, Timmer was alone at the front of the race with six kilometers to go. Per Eurosport Timmer has “A heart to match the size of his giant frame.” With four kilometers to go, he had 36 seconds over the first chasing group. He looked to be truly suffering.
Back in the pack, Quintana accelerated, but his main gc rivals were not distanced. A little bit later, Pozzovivo attacked, dropping almost everyone but Quintana very quickly. At the front, Timmer was caught by Cataldo and Pantano. At the end, they would be caught by other chasers. A very slow sprint for the win between Cataldo, Pantano and Battaglin. The winner: Battaglin.
Behind, many gaps have formed. There will be GC changes. Alas, poor Basso, my fantasy team had hopes.

Stage: Enrico Battaglin

The wine: Sottimano Mate 2012
From Biondivino $23.00

Ceri says: A rare example of brachetto made into a dry, still wine. Sottimano made wine for years from this patch of old vines before learning exactly what it was.

From the producer:
Grapes: Brachetto.
Location of the vineyard: Neive.
Age of the vineyards: 35 years.
Size: 1.20 ha.
Average production: 5.000 btls/year.
The vineyard :The Maté is a small vineyard of Brachetto in the zone of Neive.
The vinification: The fermentation and the maceration on the skins normally takes about 7-8 days. No selected yeasts are used. The malolactical fermentation is completed in stainless steel, where the wine remains for approximately 8 months. There is no filtering and no fining prior to bottling.
The Maté has a very intense color, an elegant nose of spices and rose and a fresh and refined taste.
The acidity is well balanced by the good concentration of this vintage.

I say: A truly gorgeous nose on this wine, flowers, spices and cherries. Very perfumed and if they made a perfume of this wine, I might wear it.
In the mouth, light and fragrant, with light strawberries and lingering flowers. Plenty of acid on this finish makes this fall into that gulpable category. 

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