Sunday, May 18, 2014

Wines of the Giro Stage 9: Weening & Castelluccio Ronco dei Ciliegi

Where are we: Off the go, 172 kilometers from  in the Lugo to Sestola in Emilia Romagna. Sestola population 2600, is a ski station on the Apennine Ridge. 
Food wise, Emilia-Romagna is the home of Parmigiano-Reggiano, balsamic vinegar, prosciutto di Parma, tortellini, and much more. For a great look at the food of the region, look out for The Splendid Table by Lynne Rossetto Kasper. "Ask an Italian where to take only one meal in Italy, and, after recommending his mother's house, he will more than likely send you to Emilia-Romagna,"writes Kasper.

The route: 172 kilometers, the first 100 of so are relatively flat. After that, they will be climbing again, though the experts seem to agree that it should be an easier day than yesterday. Take a look at this excellent preview on Podium Cafe from a woman who rode the route yesterday.

The race: To watch this morning, a look behind the scenes on the Lotto bus with Adam Hansen. Not starting the race today: Francesco Chicchi. Eleven seasons as a pro, still no major tours completed.
Our morning break took a long time to get established today: Julien Berard (AG2R La Mondiale), Enrico Barbin (Bardiani CSF), Marco Bandiera (Androni Giocatolli), Jackson Rodriguez (Androni Giocatolli), David Tanner (Belkin), Oscar Gatto (Cannondale), Leonardo Duque (Colombia), Matteo Bono (Lampre-Merida), Jonathan Monsalve (Neri Sottoli), Tosh Van der Sande (Lotto-Belisol), Salvatore Puccio (Team Sky), Eduard Vorganov (Katusha), Pieter Weening (Orica-GreenEdge) and Davide Malacarne (Europcar). After 76 kilometres of racing the gap back to the peloton was 5:30. Not seen on video was an early crash that seems to have left former race leader Michael Matthews missing a large chunk of his shorts and some skin too.
The finish ahead:

78 kilometers to go and the gap was 6'42". At the front of the peloton, BMC  so far seemed happy to let the break stay away, as none of the riders were a threat to his pink jersey. With 50 kilometers to go, the gap remained at around seven minutes and Garmin came to the front of the peloton. Having missed out on the break, they apparently decided to fight for the stage win. That however did not last long and with 45 kilometers remaining the gap was still over six minutes. 
Poor Michael Matthews is having a bad day:

35 kilometers to go and the pace went up in the peloton. 

Another abandonment: Steven Kruijswijk, who had been been riding with a fractured shoulder. Back on the road, BMC was really pushing the pace on the descent. That pace caused splits on the road. A mechanical for Aru, but he had teammates to help him chase back on. 25 kilometers to go and the gap was just under four minutes. 20 kilometers to go and it had been cut to just over three minutes. Ahead, some attacks from within the breakaway group.

10 kilometers to go and the gap was 1:12 to the chase and almost four minutes to the peloton. It was looking good for the break. Crash in the peloton for Rubiano and Izagirre. Six kilometers to go and the gap was still over 3 minutes for the lead riders, Malacarne and Weening.  

And then an attack by Domenico Pozzovivo! Behind him, the gc leaders chased. How much time could he gain? He was unlikely to catch the leaders, but those seconds could be important later. Ahead, Weening won the sprint. A third stage win for Orica Green-Edge!
With the bonus points for finishing third, it looked like Pozzovivo's gain was about 29 seconds. 

Stage: Pieter Weening

The wine: Castelluccio Ronco dei Ciliegi 2007
A sample provided by Winebow.

From the importer: Owned by the renowned oenologist Vittorio Fiore, Castelluccio was originally founded in the 1970s. In the 1980s Vittorio Fiore became the consulting winemaker and in 1999 he purchased the majority of shares in the property.
Castelluccio is nestled in the Modigliana Hills, between the two towns of Faenza and Forlì, at an altitude range of 750 - 1500 feet above sea level. The territory is known as Emilia Romagna and was part of Tuscany until the 1930s. Castelluccio extends approximately 150 acres, with 36 acres of vineyards and 6 acres with olive trees. The soil is compact layered marl and limestone, the location is composed of micro-areas called “ronchi”, referring to the rock formations that protrude from the mountain side, and render a very high quality of grapes. Sangiovese di Romagna, Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc are the main grape varieties grown at Castelluccio. Sangiovese di Romagna is indigenous and expresses perfectly the character of the terroir and is a central grape to some of the world’s greatest wines.
The heart of Castelluccio’s philosophy is to respect and interpret the characteristics of “Romagna.” An ideal location near both the Adriatic Sea and the Apennine Mountains, it is recognized as a micro-zone for Sangiovese di Romagna as well as being the only DOC named after the ubiquitous grape. The notable uniqueness in terroir contributes greatly to the expression of the varietal. The elite members of the Castelluccio Estate team make every effort to produce wines that reflect its uniqueness. The outcome is wine that compares flawlessly to the Sangiovese grapes being grown in areas of Tuscany just on the other side of the Apennines Mountain.

I say: Very dark in the glass. Plums, pepper, leather and spice, balanced by some clear acidity. Rounder with more fruit as it opens up a bit. If you have the time and patience, it is one to revisit on day two.

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