Friday, May 16, 2014

Wines of the Giro Stage 7: A Second Win for Bouhanni and Bea Santa Chiara

Where are we: Today's stage leaves Lazio and heads to Umbria, the “Green Heart of Italy. Umbrian food includes farro, lentils, cardoons, cured pork products from Norcia and black truffles. Foligno, our finishing town today is known for its cakes and sweets including the rocciata, a sort of Umbrian strudel.

The route: Riding 211 kilometers from Frosinone to Foligno. Quite possibly a day for the sprinters today.

The race: First a happy thought: Taylor Phinney's performance in yesterday's stage of the Amgen Tour of California. To say that I was delighted would be an understatement. If you have not seen it, watch here
Then, the bad news: there are a bunch of riders not starting Stage 7 of the Giro today. Podium Cafe has an excellent thread on it here.  Out of the race: Joaquim Rodriguez, Katusha, Giampaolo Caruso, Katusha, Angel Vicioso, Katusha, Brett Lancaster, Orica, David Villella, Cannondale, Janez Brajkovic, Astana.J-Rod, by the way, apparently had started the Giro despite broken ribs. Flens, Kruijswijk, Amador, Tuft, Meyer and Roche all started today despite fractures, abrasions, cuts, bruises and fevers. Early in the stage another abandonment: Maxime Méderel.

The break of the day: Robinson Chalapud (Colombia), Jose Herrada (Movistar), Winner Anacona (Lampre-Merida), Bjorn Thurau (Europcar) and Nicola Boem (Bardiani-CSF). Herada then dropped back to the bunch and was replaced by Nathan Haas. Another abandonment: Ramón Carretero. 

106 kilometers to go and rain. With 85 kilometers to go, the gap was just below six minutes. 72 kilometers and it has dropped to 4:12, with Orica and Cannondale at the front of the peloton. 55 kilometers and 4:45 was the gap. It had been a relatively quite day, with a lot of riding wounded from yesterday. 

Willow & Violet

Perhaps there was hope for the break? 

Meanwhile, Willow and Violet have taken to watching the race from a pink pillow. It is, after all, the Giro.

35 kilometers to go and the gap was still 4:18.  28 kilometers 3:40. It was getting very interesting. 13 kilometers, 1:40. 6.5 kilometers just about 30 seconds. BMC took to the front of the peloton, perhaps nervous about the run in to the finish. 3.9 kilometers and still a 15 second gap. 2.8 left and there was the catch. Behind, a crash by Ventoso. Several turns were taken at very high speed, but the peloton stayed upright. Another great sprint from Nacer Bouhanni to win his second Giro stage.

Stage: Nacer Bouhanni
1 Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica Greenedge 29:34:19  
2 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:00:21  
3 Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team 0:01:18  
4 Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:01:25  
5 Steve Morabito (Swi) BMC Racing Team    
6 Matteo Rabottini (Ita) Neri Sottoli - Yellow Fluo    
7 Ivan Santaromita (Ita) Orica Greenedge 0:01:47  
8 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:01:51  
9 Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Belisol 0:01:52  
10 Ivan Basso (Ita) Cannondale 0:02:06  

Wine: Bea Santa Chiara 2011  
from Biondivino 
From the producer: As a child, I learned this craft from my father. Our history and tradition is the source of our knowledge and inspiration.
Today, my family is here with me, all working together. Our roots in Montefalco trace back to the 1500's, as documents in the village archives attest to.
Through passion sustained and encouraged by my sons, Giuseppe and Giampiero, and also by the irreplaceable presence of Marina, my wife and mother of my children, our family has come to appreciate each other in more profound ways, each day relishing the fruits of our labor at our table.
With each passing year, I better understand our land, respecting and caring for it... and at the end of each year extract from it a wine which is totally unique, continually developing, improving, and sustaining our health.
With an ever growing conviction, we practice, discover, and appreciate natural winemaking methods that exclude the use of chemicals in the vineyard and artificial stabilizing techniques in the winery.
Each season is a new discovery, a chance to apply and evaluate knowledge we have gained in previous years. 

From the importer A white wine produced from Grachetto, Malvasia , Chardonnay, Sauvignon and Garganega, in approximately equal proportions, planted in the “Pagliaro” vineyard, a site with alternating layers of gravel and clay at 1300 feet above sea level with both east and southwest facing parcels.  After crushing, the juice spends at least two weeks macerating on its lees; sulfur is never added.  Fermentation occurs in small stainless steel vats at low temperatures. Two rackings are done early in the fermentation process to remove the heavy deposits and a third is done after three weeks. This wine is then left on the fine lees in stainless steel for one year before being bottled.  Approximately 4500 bottles of wine are produced annually. 

References in the archives of Montefalco, the beautiful hill town in Umbria, document the presence of the Bea family in this locality as early as 1500. This tiny estate is the classic Italian fattoria, producing wine, raising farm animals for trade and home consumption and working the land to produce olives, fruits and vegetables. To this day, the Bea family raises and produces much of what they consume on a daily basis. Paolo Bea, the senior member of the family, is the guiding force behind the production of this series of intense and idiosyncratic wines. He is assisted by his two sons, Giuseppe, who farms the vineyards, and Giampiero, who assists in the vinification and is responsible for all commercial aspects of the winery.

The entire property encompasses 15 hectares: 5 of which are dedicated to the vineyards, 2 to olives, and the remainder to the fruits, vegetables and grains that are grown.  Sagrantino is the predominant grape, covering 60% of the vineyard surface. The remaining 40% is planted to Sangiovese and Montepulciano, with a small parcel planted to several white varieties. The vineyards are cultivated organically, all grapes are harvested manually and all wines are bottled without fining or filtration.

I say:  Amber in color. Savory. Orange peel, nuts, herbs and spices. Plenty of length and tannins. Even better on day two as it had opened up a bit. Hints of apple and almost cidery notes.

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