Friday, May 30, 2014

Wines of the Giro Stage 19: A Mountain Time Trial Win for Quintana & Dama Del Rovere Durello Spumante Brut

Where are we: Bassano del Grappa - Cima Grappa (Crespano del Grappa)
MONTE GRAPPA with its 1,775 meters is the highest peak of the group surrounding it, making up part of the Veneto Prealp region, isolated between the rivers Brenta and Piave.
From Biciveneto: In World War I the Italians were engaged in a deadly struggle against the Austrians, who had routed them at Caporetto and were poised to invade the Veneto plains. If they succeeded, Italy would be lost. The Italian army regrouped and prepared for its heroic last stand along the Piave River and the adjacent mountain massif--Monte Grappa--which they had transformed into a fortress, with tunnels, bunkers, trenches, and gun emplacements blasted from solid rock (they can still be seen today). Every Italian citizen joined in the effort, contributing whatever they could to help their soldiers. The troops fought numerous battles, first defensive, then taking the offensive and repelling the invaders forever. The monument and ossuary on Cima Grappa are a testament of the tragic cost: there lie the bones of 12,615 Italians and 10,295 Austro-Hungarians who never came down from the mountain. In September of 2005, an organization of WWI buffs who have taken on the continuing assignment of maintaining a section of trenches, made a surprising and moving discovery: the remains of three WWI infantrymen--an Italian and two Hungarians, surrounded by their helmets, bayonets, boots, belt buckles, and personal objects (but no dog tags, so we will never know who they were). They had died fighting one another, then lay there together since June of 1918. • Click here to see photo albums of mountain warfare in WWI. • Click here to read an excellent in-depth article about the battles on Monte Grappa. • Click here to read more about the city of Bassano del Grappa, at the foot of the mountain. 
World War II brought more misery, suffering, and death to Italy. Monte Grappa was the refuge of the local partisan brigades which had organized to fight the occupying Nazi forces. Aside from having symbolic significance, it provided a vantage point from which the resistance fighters could look down into the Valsugana/Val Brenta, the main supply route from Germany to its forces in Italy. In September of 1944 the Germans decided they'd had enough of partisan sabotage, raids, and sniping, and surrounded the mountain. Forcing women, children, and old people to march ahead of them, the German army moved up the mountain, murdering any partisans they found, as well as civilians even suspected of harboring them. Other resistance fighters (not only on Monte Grappa, but in many other places) were captured and publicly hanged or shot, their families forced to watch. A powerful monument to them by the sculptor Murer stands just below the summit. The city of Bassano del Grappa, at the foot of the mountain, was awarded a medal for its valor during the occupation.

Foods of the area: Bassano asparagus with hard-boiled egg sauce, baccalà alla vicentina (Vicenza-style stockfish), bigoli di Bassano (extruded pasta), broccoli from Bassano, caramelized onions, polenta with potatoes and Asiago cheese, Venetian-style rabbit; castagnaccio (dessert made with chestnut flour)
Turkey hen with chestnuts; castagnaccio; risotto with mushrooms or grilled Monte Grappa mushrooms (honey mushrooms, porcini mushrooms, russula, etc.); risotto with hop sprouts; morlacco del Grappa cheese; pinza, apple pie, pumpkin pie

The route: Time trialing again, mainly uphill this time including a solid 19km uphill at an average of 8%. Read Will's post here on Podium Cafe about his adventures during the 1st Annual Monte Grappa Bike Day. 

The stage:A day for the climbers, rather than time trial specialists. Big crowds on the road today. 

Someone apparently did not mind losing time today: 
The early leader on the road was Nicola Boem (Bardiani) with a time of 1:12.19. Mid-way through, our leader was Stefano Pirazzi. At that moment it gave the team 1, 2 and 3 on the stage. Behind, Basso! But more importantly, the top 10 are starting their days, with three minutes between each rider. 
I laughed:

Umbrellas up at the finish and rain on the course. Would that slow the remaining riders? At the first intermediate check point, Quintana was 16 seconds down on Uran's time. Bike change for Quintana, something done by many of the contenders today. Strangely though, he also changed his helmet. 

In the hot seat was Tim Wellens, with all of the favorites still to finish. But that would not last. Next in that seat: Henao followed by Pellizotti. Behind though, the top GC favorites were starting to come in. Wow was Aru having a spectacular ride, even passing his three minute man. In contrast, mechanical issues for Ryder Hesjedal. He would lose over three minutes on the day. Next to the hot seat: Pozzovivo. Wow: 1.05.54 for Aru. Pretty amazing stuff, over two minutes faster than Pozzovivo. Nice rides for Uran and Rolland, though they both lose significant time to Aru. But then came Quintana, who finished with the best time of the day at 1.05.37. With the Zoncolan looming tomorrow, he is looking like the 2014 Giro winner.

Stage: Nairo Quintana
1 Nairo Alexander QUINTANA ROJAS Colombia MOV 79:03:45
2 Rigoberto URAN URAN Colombia OPQ +3:07
3 Fabio ARU Italy AST +3:48
4 Pierre ROLLAND France EUC +5:26
5 Domenico POZZOVIVO Italy ALM +6:16
6 Rafal MAJKA Poland TCS +6:59
7 Cadel EVANS Australia BMC +9:25
8 Wilco KELDERMAN Netherlands BEL +9:29
9 Ryder HESJEDAL Canada GRS +10:11
10 Robert KISERLOVSKI Croatia TFR +13:59

Wine: Dama Del Rovere Durello Spumante Brut
From Biondivino

From the producer:
PRODUCTIONS AREA: the vineyard is situated in Brenton di Roncà, 450 meters above the sea level, near the Dama del Rovere cellar.
WINEYARD AGE: 50 years
WINE MAKING PROCESS: Fermentation in stainless steel tanks. Second fermentation in stainless steel tank for 90 days.
PRODUCTION: 10.000 bottles

Dama del Rovere was born with 2003-vintage in Brognoligo di Monteforte d’Alpone, a historical Soave Classico zone in the province of Verona. Its name comes from the small Statue of the Madonna that lies in an oak-tree in Tremenalto area where we own 4 vineyard-hectares.
The holders Massimo, Wine Expert of San Michele all’Adige, and Davide, are supported by their father and grandfather’s experience, by the knowledge of the Agronomist Gabriele Posenato and by the Wine Expert Giampaolo Chiettini.
Durello sparkling wines are produced exclusively from the “Durella” grapes, native to Brenton, on Monti Lessini zone, at an altitude of up to 500 meters above sea level.
The wine cellar of wine-making and aging lies few km far from the head office, in Brenton di Roncà, at an altitude of up to 450 meters above sea level. In the cellar we pay attention to wine-making using very modern technology. We respect, however, the grapes-naturalness and authenticity. In this way we can mix tradition, culture and science to have typical and high-quality products of Soave and Durello zone.

I say: Durella or Durello is a white grape variety originating from the Veneto wine region of northeast Italy. It is mainly used to make sparkling wines. More here:
"Durella is the indigenous grape variety of the Lessini Mountains, an ancient and rustic vine that gives golden-hued grapes whose fundamental characteristics are a typical acidulous flavour and skins that are thick and rich in tannins: polyphenolic substances that normally contribute towards determining the full-bodied structure of red wines."

Very light yellow in the glass with many small bubbles. Crisp, green apples and citrus. Just lovely. I admit it, the get up very early to watch the stage, plus live my regular life schedule always becomes exhausting at this point in the race. This wine made me smile on a very tired night. 

1 comment:

  1. The Veneto has some fabulous wines that are made in small quantities and barely leave the region. I had some of the best bottles of white wines (in particular) I've ever had in little restaurants hidden away in back streets of Venice.