Sunday, June 1, 2014

Wines of the Giro Stage 21: Luka Mezgec and to Finish in Pink: Nusserhof Lagrein Kretzer Rosato

Where are we: Finishing the race with 172 kilometers from Gemona to Trieste.
The territory has been inhabited since prehistoric times; it was ravaged by the earthquakes of May and September 1976.
Trieste is a one-of-a-kind hub, with its historic cafès and a city centre where neoclassical, eclectic and Liberty styles coexist; an unparalleled ethnic, cultural and religious crossroads. From this New York Times article: "With a convoluted history of serial conquest, culminating in a century-long tug-of-war between Italy and Austria, a melting-pot population, a street plan that ranges from serenely rational to bewilderingly crooked and steep, and a forbidding limestone plateau crowding it down to the waterfront, Trieste is like a modernist novel — complex, layered, ambiguous."

La Gazetta foods of the day:  Frico (a wafer of shredded Montasio cheese and maize flour) with potatoes, prosciutto crudo di San Daniele (raw ham), barley and beans soup, brovade e muset (turnip and cotechino); formadi frant (traditional cheese) fondue, rabbit meat (stuffed or seasoned with herbs); gubana (a dessert made with filled yeast dough)
Jota triestina (a soup made of beans, sauerkraut and bacon), prosciutto cotto triestino (ham) with horseradish, gnochi de pan (bread dumplings), baccalà alla triestina (stockfish with potatoes and anchovies), cevapcici (grilled meatballs), goulash soup with potatoes; putizza (a dessert of the Carso area, made with filled yeast dough), fave di Trieste (almond dessert with eggs and maraschino liqueur), rigojanci (chocolate cake)

The route: 172 kilometers. Our ceremonial final day's ride into Trieste. The beginning of the day will be a Sunday ride. The end, a high-paced urban criterium as the sprinters seek one more moment of glory after eight laps of a 7.2km circuit. Bouhanni is the favorite, but my fantasy team is hoping for Ben Swift. 
The Giro throne awaits Quintana at the stage finish.

The race: Finishing in the sun. 90 kilometers to go and the peloton remained all together. Final day trivia: two teams, Movistar and Trek have their entire teams finishing. In contrast, Orica GreenEdge has only two riders.
The pink bike of Nairo Quintana:

Meanwhile, away from the Giro, more about the Taylor Phinney crash here. Fingers and toes remain crossed for him.
On tv, lots of ceremonial air plane footage. Eventually this:

Forty four kilometers to go and an attack from the peloton from Lars Bak and Svein Tuft. 

Twenty kilometers to go and the duo had only a 14 second gap. On tv, Carlton Kirby was worrying about rain. Hey, Basso. (I know, but it makes me laugh.)

Final lap time and they were going very fast. Go Sky, go! Well times attack from Oss. But caught. Here come the sprinters. Alas, no Swift. 

Stage: Luka Mezgec
Final GC:  

1 Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team    
2 Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team 0:03:07  
3 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:04:04  
4 Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar 0:05:46  
5 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale 0:06:41  
6 Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:07:13  
7 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team 0:11:09  
8 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:12:00  
9 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin Sharp 0:13:35  
10 Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Trek Factory Racing 0:15:49  

The wine: Nusserhof Lagrein Kretzer Rosato 2012
From the importer: The Nüsserhof estate lies directly beside the Isarco River facing south, practically in the center of the city of Bolzano. The Bolzano Valley Basin enjoys a fantastically warm climate and the deep alluvial soils are rich in eroded porphyry. It’s a perfect place to ripen grapes for a northern Italian climate.
Elda & Heinrich Mayr are the latest generation of their family to work this land, where the records date back to at least 1788. The Nüsserhof gets its name from the walnut trees that once lined the house on the river side. Not so long ago they were torn out to put in a municipal bike path. This is typical of the recent history of Nüsserhof. As the years have gone by, the urban environs of the city of Bolzano have continually encroached the estate. And the city has systematically made it harder and harder for the Mayrs to continue their farming. In fact, it is believed that the only reason the estate is still in existence is due to the fact that one of Heinrich’s relatives was an early opponent of the Nazi occupation and died as a Catholic martyr and conscientious objecter in a concentration camp.

On their 2.5 hectares, the Mayrs cultivate Lagrein and Blatterle, two native grapes of the region. There is also a tiny bit of Teroldego. The vines are about 50% in guyot trellising and about 50% in pergola. The viticulture is organic, certified by the German agency Bioland.

Lagrein is a much older native grape, dating back at least 600 years. Heinrich’s Riservas are made with an idea to preserve the full-bodied, freshly aromatic woodland berry character of the grape. He does not use any barriques and the wine is bottled a year or so after the harvest and then aged in bottle before release. DOC law allows for a Riserva to be sold 3 years after the harvest at the earliest. It is a deliciously round wine that is served well by decanting for aeration. From older vintages we have tasted at the Nusserhof cellar, the wines age brilliantly.

There is also a limited amount of Lagrein Kretzer (Rosé) available each year. Like the white it is made from destemmed grapes that are immediately pressed and fermented in stainless steel at controlled temperature. It is a beautiful cherry pink color and also will age quite well over a few years.

I say: So I had the Ronchi di Cialla Ribolla Gialla  on tap for today. But how I could resist a Podium Cafe request for a pink wine? So a little further away geographically, but this wine will more than do.
Made from another one of those Alto Adige red grapes that I adore, this time: Lagrein.
Herbs, spices, cherries.