Monday, July 14, 2014

Wines of the Tour Stage 10: Bastille Day Drama Indeed: Nibali Wines the Stage, Contador Out & Guy Bussière Flûte

Where are we:
Le Tour link:

Our start town is again our finishing town from the night before. 

Our finishing town is the only skiing resort of the Haute-Saône Department. Le Tour tells us that La Planche des Belles Filles entered the history of the Tour in style among the finishing sites of the race in 2012. The final part can only suit the best climbers. That day, Chris Froome was to conquer his first stage success. After working hard for his leader Bradley Wiggins, he replied to a Cadel Evans' attack in the last kilometres where the ascent was the hardest. Glory awaited team Sky at the top: stage for Froome, Yellow Jersey for Wiggins.

Sadly, Le Tour offers no specialties today. 

Le Tour preview: Another famous stage, this time to La Planche des Belles Filles, where Chris Froome took his maiden stage win at the Tour in 2012. If it ain't broke, don't fix it, so we are going for a short but challenging stage again! Spectacular fireworks await, with a sequence of seven mountains over 130 kilometres, including the Col des Chevrères (with sections hitting up to 15%) and the final climb up La Planche des Belles Filles (with a 20% gradient on the last ramp), which will feature in the Tour for the second time. By the time we cross the finish line, I cannot say whether we will know the name of the winner in Paris, but we should have a list of those who are out of the running for good.

The race: Today should be very exciting: a very challenging course meets Bastille Day. Plus, heavy rain expected. Guinea on Podium Cafe reports that:  
"I packed my tent away this morning and rode the first 30kms of the stage. Got wet again. After returning to the car drove to the mountain and parked about 1 km south of le Markstein and walked the 8 or so kms to the summit of Col du Plazterwasel.
The road surfaces are slippy here in the hills.
And it’s raining again."  And later: "absolutely pissing it down
Had to buy an umbrella. Rivers running down the roads."

Who do we all expect to see in the break? Yes, indeed:

As the break was being established, I was watching this video:

Group one on the road contained Voeckler, Riblon, Westra, Moinard, Aranburu, Gerard and Visconti. Chasing behind were Sagan, J-Rod and Barta and with 136 kilometers to go, they caught the front group. 

Behind them, lots of splits in the peloton. 

Behind, Ted King has abandoned the race. Ahead, the Martin and Kwiatkowski group were approaching the lead riders. And they caught them, creating a lead group of thirteen riders. Out of the race after a crash: Machado, who had been in third at the beginning of the day. Kwiatkowski was now the race leader on the road. Word that Machado was actually back in the race. and while we were in commercial, a crash for Contador. He was on the side of the road getting medical attention for a very long time. As he started again, he was four minutes behind the main peloton. Rumors on twitter that his bike frame had snapped in half, causing the crash. 

Soon Contador had teammates to help him chase. Apparently they could not ride back to him, but were able to wait on the road. Yikes. Once they got going again, Contador again called for the medical car. But he remained on the bike and continued to look calm. He had his full team and Andre Greipel with him.
Ahead, riders in the fog:

Astana had been riding pace at the front of the peloton, they did not want to attack after a crash, but they also could not let Kwiatkowski get too much time.
And then it was done as Contador climbed off his bike and into the team car. His race was over. I've never been a Contador fan, but this was just awful. Going to be an incredible Vuelta this year.

I think we all noticed, but this is a good reminder:

With 64.7 kilometers to go, Kwiatkowski was the virtual leader on the road by 28 seconds. The nine riders in the lead group are Kwiatkowski, Martin, Visconti, Moinard, Wyss, Voeckler, Rodriguez, Taaramae, and Riblon. Astana led the chasing peolton, which was 4’24” behind. But that lead was dropping: with 35.8 kilometers to go, it was down to 2’41.

Hey, field art: map? Tomato? Cherry?

At the front of the peloton, the appearance of the Sky train. Ahead Tony Martin continued to power on. Just remarkable. And when he ran out of energy, it was sudden and dramatic. Soon after, the break fell apart. In the lead J-Rod and Kwiatkowski. Behind Gallopin, Talansky and Rolland were dropped from the peloton. At the top of the col des Chevrères: J-Rod, followed by Visconti, Kwiatkowski and Moinard. But there was one more climb to come. Yikes. Scarponi off the road and over the well-placed hay bales. 

Back up ahead J-Rod and Kwiatkowski were in the lead.

Up they would go. With just over five kilometers to go, as expected, J-Rod attacked. Behind, an attack from Nibali. He sure made that look easy. He caught and passed J-Rod, taking the stage win. 

Stage: Vincenzo Nibali

Yellow: Vincenzo Nibali

Wine: Guy Bussière Domaine du Val de Saone Gamay Flûte Enchantée
Selection Massale $24

From the importer:  
This will be our last offer ever from Guy Bussiere.  He's retired now and the lands of the domaine have been sold and the last of the stock came over to us.  He has worked as hard as anyone in wine in the Val-de-Saone an obscure part of Burgundy (near the end of his career he was the only person making wine there).  It's been an absolute pleasure to get to work with these wines for the brief time we got to.  So for the finale we'll raise a glass of Guy's "Flute Enchantee".

Guy has always made rose out of his Gamay, either still or sparkling, but never red. It's funny because most folks in the Beaujolais don't think the grape makes great roses, but I guess he's not in the Beaujolais. Soils are absolutely different (Granite vs Limestone/Clay) and the climate is much cooler.

Add to that the fact that Guy doesn't green harvest and gets a bunch of small berries, bringing a whole lot of phenolics and structure to the juice, and you get a very special bottle of bubbles.
The wine is absolutely dry, the first fermentation occurred naturally, and then the wine goes through methode Champenoise, without the addition of any So2 or dosage.
Pure, vibrant,evolved, surprisingly complex, based on the 2008 and 2009 vintage, this is absolutely one of the best sparklings we've ever brought in, and you know how much we like our fizz.

I say: Small bubbles, salmon colored. Dry. Color and label had me thinking light and easy but there is a lot going on here. I'm glad I have a few more bottles on hand.

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