Saturday, May 17, 2014

Wines of the Giro Stage 8: Diego Ulissi & Fontezoppa Falcotto

Where are we: Leaving Umbria and heading to the Marche. The Marche form the eastern seaboard of central Italy with the regions of Emilia-Romagna to the north and Abruzzo to the south. From the relatively narrow coastal plains the land rises sharply to the peaks of the Apennines which form a natural boundary with Umbria and Tuscany to the west.

The Marche food: Google points to Brodetto, a fish stew, truffles and Ciauscolo, a spreadable sausage. reports that "Official statistics claim that marchigiani eat more meat than any other Italians." Also, from Understanding "They seem to have an obsession with stuffing things here and everything has something else inside it, from tiny stuffed olives to large fish stuffed with vegetables"

The route:Our second medium mountain and this may be the first test for the gc riders. The Podium Cafe preview here, has more details. Also from Inrng:
This 179km stage runs across the spine of Italy with the Apennine mountains. An easy start on rolling roads with the feedzone at Acqualagna is followed by the scenic gorges. Onwards and the stage is dominated by the twin ascensions of Monte Carpegna.

The race:Not starting today, Cameron Meyer. Our break of the day:
Julian Arredondo (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), Marco Bandiera (Androni Giocattoli), Julien Bérard (AG2R-La Mondiale), Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky), Mattia Cattaneo (Lampre-Merida), Mauro Finetto (Neri Sottoli), Stefano Pirazzi (Bardiani CSF), Perrig Quemeneur (Europcar), Carlos Quintero (Colombia) and Eduard Vorganov (Katusha). EBH! The gap went out, but by 64 kilometers to go in the stage it was hovering around six minutes.

Fifty kilometers to go and the gap was just over four minutes. Not far ahead was the first category 1 climb of the day, the Cippo di Carpegna. It was full speed ahead and riders were already slipping off the back of the peloton, including the race leader Michael Matthews. Poor Matthews, he needs to find the grupetto (sprinters group on mountain stages). I find myself once again wishing that we could have a designated grupetto camera, with audio. Ahead the break had fallen apart with Pirazzi, Quemeneur and Arredondo in in the lead. 

The peloton too was quickly shrinking, with only 20 or so left. Still there though, all of the gc favorites.  Ahead Arredondo attacked in pursuit of the king of the mountain points. 37 kilometers remained with the gap to the small peloton about 1:30. Ahead, Arredondo crested the summit with 37 seconds over Pirazzi. The peloton was 2 minutes back. The descent ahead was technical and the organizers have put netting along the side of the road, in case riders make a mistake on a turn. In perhaps a not surprising move, Pierre Rolland attacked off the front of the peloton. This a stage where the narrow roads and wooded landscape make it impossible for there to be enough cameras to show us all of the groups on the road. Somewhere, unseen in EBH.

Twenty kilometers to go and all of the favorites remained together, except Scarponi, who had dropped off earlier. Would we see an attack from one of them?  

With 16 kilometers to go, Boasson Hagen, Quintero and Quemeneur were all dropped by that chase group and it was Rolland and Pirazzi together about one minute behind Arredondo. There was still 2:30 between Arredondo and the peloton.

5 kilometers to go and Rolland was making progress, only 40 seconds down. 

3 kilometers to go and Rolland had closed to within 10 seconds. The catch was clearly coming soon. The peloton behind was only 40 seconds back. 2 kilometers to go and it was only 30 seconds. As the peloton grew closer, Rolland dropped Arredondo. Wow, poor Rolland. It looked for a while there that he had it, but attacks from the peloton caught and passed him. In a sprint for the finish it was Diego Ulissi with his second win of this Giro. Evans into pink!

Stage: Diego Ulissi
GC: Cadel Evans

Wine: Fontezoppa Falcotto 2008
 $26 from Biondivino

From the producer: The concentration of loose soil, with stones and sandstone make this wine a full bodied dry wine with mineral and sulphur notes on the nose, and moderately tannin flavour. Hints of red mulberries, blackcurrants, wild cherries and smoky notes. Dry on the palate.

Year of Vintage 2008
Colour RED
Alcohol Content 13%
Altitude 450
Age of Vineyards 10
Aspects SOUTH
Training System GUYOT
Number of Plants per Hectare 8900
Yield per Hectare in Quintals 40
Ageing in STEEL for 3 months, in CASKS for 12 months
Not filtered or fined

I say:
Today's grape: Vernaccia Nera. Google tells me that "Vernaccia' comes from the Latin for vernacular. Farmers applied the name to random indigenous grapes of different regions, so now there are several well known Vernaccia that are completely unrelated. So, essentially: local grape.  

Dry with minerals indeed. Lighter than I expected, as reviews tended to say full bodied. Cherry, possibly even sour cherry with hints of other red fruits. As it warmed up, a bit more weight, but still herb and acid.

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