Friday, July 25, 2014

Wines of the Tour Stage 19: An Elephant, Navardauskas & Cazottes Reine-Claude

Where are we:
 Maubourguet Pays du Val d'Adour / Bergerac
Le Tour link:

An area of plains and hills, the Pays du Val d'Adour is at the crossroads of the Béarn, Bigorre and Gascogne cultures.I think we should visit a market:
Country markets contain treasures and are perpetual invitation to sit at the table. The foie gras and duck course, not forgetting the eternal and so delicious duck. Fruits and vegetables from conscious productions to offer consumers products that taste good! We would not be complete unless we were talking about black Bigorre pig whose deli has an eternal taste of "back-y", ceps, chestnuts and Tarbes beans that can be said without harm they are ultimate bean. Finally, do not forget to wash it all down with Madiran or Pacherenc, in moderation of course.  
Market day is Tuesday from 7:30 to 1:30 p.m.

Specialities : Wines from Madiran, Pacherenc and Saint-Mont, the Mulard duck and its derivatives (foie gras, confits, whole duck), beans, garbure (French stew/soup), Gascon pastis, honey, Bigorre black pork.

Our finishing town is Bergerac. On the main square of the common, a statue of Cyrano is displayed, although the hero who inspired Edmond Rostand's theatre play never put a foot in the city.
Maybe it is time for a regional recipe? Given that peaches are in season, maybe duck roasted with peaches?
Specialities : wine, strawberries, ceps, duck, cabécou soft goats cheese, four michelin starred chefs, a world champion pastry chef

Le Tour preview: Time to take a breather! This 208 km stage is completely devoid of any real difficulties and, on paper at least, should smile upon the sprinters. However, I am betting on a lone rider to take it, a brave one who has still got something in the tank and manages to sneak away from a mammoth breakaway. Think of Rui Costa last year. He hit the bullseye twice in the final week. With the time trial and the Champs-Élysées, two specialist affairs where surprises are few and far between, looming on the horizon, this stage is last chance saloon for breakaway specialists.

The race: Our probably doomed break of the day: Slagter, Gérard, Gautier, Taaramae and Elmiger. After 75 kilometres, their gap was 2:32.Lousy weather may be the big story of the day:

Besides the weather, the main story of the day was lots and lots of flat tires. 

Some well done car field art:

Oh, and there was an elephant:

Fifty seven kilometers to go and the gap was still around 2:30. On the road: more rain. Ahead, Slagter attacked his break mates. 
More field art:

Twenty-five kilometers to go and Slagter's gap was under one minute. From the field, an attack by Bakelants, but he was quickly caught. As they got closer to town, there was a split in the peloton. Among those dropped, Kittel. Garmin was working hard for a stage win today, covering every attack. Also near the front: Sagan. He has been frustrated so many times this race, could he finally win the stage? Ahead on his own, Navardauskas. Ten kilometers to go and he had eleven seconds. Seven kilometers to go and twenty seconds. Behind though, the chase seemed to be organizing. Crash behind, just inside the three kilometer point so the riders would all get the same time as the main pack. Included in the pile up, Sagan, Greipel and Bardet. Ahead, Ramunas Navardauskas held on for the win. Tomorrow: the time trial.

Stage: Ramunas Navardauskas

Yellow: Vincenzo Nibali

Wine: Cazottes Reine-Claude (Eau de vie)
From Frankly Wines

Here is what Christy says: "Authenticity Mercenary" Laurent Cazottes is on a mission - he revived vineyards planted in the 1970s, returned to specific cultivation and distilling techniques traditional to French master practices and set about a life among the orchards and vines in the tiny village of Albi.

Using fruit from his organic orchard in the Albi area of Languedoc, Laurent distils eaux-de-vie and liqueurs with an unparalleled elegance and aroma. These elixirs have caught the attention of New Yorkers and some of the world's great chefs. Until Nicolas Palazzi started importing these lovely bottles, they could really only be found at the world’s top restaurants.  Pierre Gagnaire, the renowned Grand Vefour and a host of others have honored his unwavering dedication to each "noble" essence. Surrounded by greengages, quince, cherries plums and a host of flowers, Laurent monitors all from his home and garden at the center of the domaine's orchards. It’s basically his garden in these bottles. And we’re happy it’s no longer a secret.

Producer website.  
I say:  You might remember that I had a wild cherry wine from this producer last year. I liked it so much that I was eager to try something else from him this year.
Greengage, or Reine-Claude, are wild plums with a delicious, tart character. Much like the cherry from last year, this is highly perfumed and equally fascinating.

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