Sunday, July 27, 2014

Wines of the Tour Stage 21: And This is How the Race Ends: Kittel & Andre Robert Les Mesnil 2006

Where are we: Évry - Paris Champs-Élysées 137.5km
Le Tour link:

LeTour preview: The pictures of the 2013 apotheosis, with the pack riding past the Louvre and around the Arc de Triomphe, are still fresh in everyone's minds. These two highlights will be back this year, as well as the traditional climb up the Champs-Élysées, which is much trickier than it seems! It will all lead up to the spectacular pictures of the final sprint, magnified by the France Télévisions footage. I will go out on a limb and say Cavendish will take another win in Paris to go with the four he has got already. But that is just my opinion...

The race: Always such a strange stage. Purely ceremonial for a very long time generally followed by a very aggressive bunch sprint. Oh Cav, we miss you! 
Meanwhile, ceremony:

While waiting for the excitement, read about La Course:

And there they went, around and around. Crashes, attacks and eventually lots of tv time for Richie Porte:

Behind, would our lanterne rouge finish?

Just over seven kilometers to go and Porte was caught. All seemed set for a sprint finish. An attack from Simon Clarke. 2.9 kilometers to go and he was caught. I'm hoping for Renshaw. Hey, Bernie!  A bit of a chaotic sprint there, but at the end, the expected result. 

Stage: Marcel Kittel

Yellow: Vincenzo Nibali

1 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 89:59:06  
2 Jean-Christophe Péraud (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:07:37  
3 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) 0:08:15  
4 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team 0:09:40  
5 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:11:24  
6 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:11:26  
7 Leopold Konig (Cze) Team Netapp-Endura 0:14:32  
8 Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) Trek Factory Racing 0:17:57  
9 Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling 0:18:11  
10 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling 0:21:15  

Wine: Andre Robert Les Mesnil 2006
From Dig
From the importer, Return to Terroir: André Robert is a Recoltant Manipulant, or “grower-producer” Champagne, identifiable by a small “RM” on the label. This means that the wine is made by the same person who owns the vines and farms the grapes. While common in other regions of France, this is rare in Champagne, where growers historically have contracted with one of the 110 houses (for example, Veuve Clicquot or Krug) to buy their grapes each year. Out of 19,000 growers, only 1200 produce their own label, largely due to the cost to produce, age and market good Champagne. The Roberts, however, are a part of the rising number of growers to take this on since after World War II. Winemaking has been a way of life for the Robert family since the 1800′s, but they did not own their current estate until 1960 when Andre bought the house, along with its maze of cellars, and 6.6 hectares of vines. The vines are broken up into extremely small plots – so small that the Roberts like to say they are gardeners, not farmers. Many of these are situated in the Grand Cru village of Le Mesnil sur Oger, which is known for its chalky soil. The Robert’s vines are located midway up the chalky slopes where the limestone reaches the surface in a block sometimes over 200 meters deep.

Overall, 2006 was a warm yearwith a hot July, grey and cooler August, followed
by a warm, dry September.
TASTING NOTES Floral and minerally on the nose withlots of apple, meyer lemon and unripe peachon the palate. Fresh and not overly toasty. It finishes clean and crisp

From the producer:
100% Chardonnay­ Grape – Dosage 7 to 8 g/litre
The wine is raised and stirred for 7 months in 225- litre oak barrels with occasional stirring. There is no malolactic fermentation.

Style Fine and elegant as an English Lord, refreshing as a sunny summer morning – these are the features of the 2006 vintage faithfully revealed in this MESNIL vintage.

I say:  Champagne today, though I considered a favorite Sicilian wine to honor Nibali. But, I've written about it before. Do know that my love of the Calabretta Rosato remains strong.
Rich and nutty with pear, apple and yeast.


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