Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Wines of the Tour Stage 5: Boom, Nibali and Wine from Luxembourg

Where are we: Le Tour link

Ypres  is located in West Flanders. Though Ieper is the Dutch and only official name, the city's French name Ypres is most commonly used in English due to its role in World War I when only French was in official use in Belgian documents, including on maps.
During World War I, Ypres was the centre of intense and sustained battles between German and Allied forces. During the war, because it was hard to pronounce in English, British troops nicknamed the city "Wipers." Lots more on World War One in the area here.
Specialties : apjesvlees d'Ypres (braised meat with lardons cooked on a bed of vegetables), Tarte sénateur, Tartine d'Ypres (sweet bread with cinnamon), Patte de chat (Danish pastry shaped like a cat's claw) Cockerulle Cake (with almonds and candied fruit), Terrine de roussette (fish terrine)

As for Arenberg, Le Tour tells me that: The Arenberg quarry punctuated the life of the Wallers common for most of the 20th century. Even after the mining site was closed down in 1989, most of the former miners were called upon to take part in Claude Berri's film, Germinal. In terms of cycling, Arenberg is also known for the famous “tranchée” where Paris-Roubaix is sometimes won and often lost, since it was introduced on the course in 1968, thanks to Jean Stablinski's idea.
Specialities:  Saint-Amand mineral waters, beers, “Le terril de Germinal” chocolates, “Le pavé d'Enfer” gâteau

Le Tour preview: The time has come for the famous stage and its nine cobbled sectors, which promise, dare I say it, a "battlefield". It all starts in Ypres, Belgium, a city notorious for the gas attacks launched in it. It would have been unacceptable for the Tour not to commemorate the Centenary of the start of World War I in its own way... However, we will focus on the race, which promises to be a spectacular showdown. I do not expect Froome to thrive on the cobblestones but, who knows, he may want to prove us wrong... For him and many others, this is a stage riddled with dangers. The cobblestones will be a hinge moment in the race.

The race: Like many others, I've been waiting for this one. Cobbles! I do so love cobbles. And in the rain. Of course, it will be much more fun to watch than to ride. On a somber note, OPQS is commemorating the fallen soldiers of World War 1 with poppies and the hashtag #wedonotforget on their jerseys.

There was early news that at least two of the cobbles sections would be removed from the course: "Two cobbled sectors removed from the route
Due to bad weather and road conditions, two cobbled sectors have been removed from stage 5. From LeTour: "They are sector 7, the 1,000-metres stretch of cobbles at Mons-en-Pévèle, and sector 5, which is the 1,400-metres long portion from Orchies to Beuvry-la-Forêt. It takes the total of pavés sections down to 13 kilometres but the race will remain highly attractive!" 
Speaking of highly attractive, our early break is interesting: Lieuwe Westra (Astana), Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), Tony Gallopin (Lotto-Belisol), Marcus Burghardt (BMC), Rein Taaramae (Cofidis), Simon Clarke (Orica-GreenEdge), Mat Hayman (Orica-GreenEdge), Janier Acevedo (Garmin-Sharp), Samuel Dumoulin (Ag2r-La Mondiale). 
120 kilometers to go and Chris Froome crashed. Strangely, there appeared to be no teammates around. It took a lot longer than I would have expected for his teammates to come and pace him back to the peloton. At that point they were one minute down on the main peloton. They did eventually make it back.
Ahead there was a crash in the break involving Tony Martin and Acevdeo.

The break was shrinking after crashes and flats.Tony Martin and Samuel Dumoulin were able to get back although Burghardt and Acevedo returned to the peloton. Wow: given the weather it was amazing to hear that they had ridden 49.2km in the first hour. 

Eighty four kilometers to go and their gap was at three minutes.  
Meanwhile, as the riders continued to crash, including Kittel, Cav had his surgery:

More crashes, including this time: Fabian Cancellara. Next: Froome down again and he did not look good at all. And just like that his race was done. 

Nice riding so far from Nibali today. 

And there went Bak with a crash that included a bike flip. Yikes. 

Oh Taylor:

Note: if I had any idea where the riders were at this point, I'd update. But in this case, I feel like Phil and Paul. The perils of writing these posts live. I do admit to a few Go Nibs go shouts!)

At the front, it felt like we were all waiting for an attack by Fabian Cancellara. Behind, the Contador group was at two minutes. 

The yellow jersey group contains:  Nibali, Fuglsang, Westra, Sagan, Boom, Kwiatkowski, Renshaw, Trentin, Cancellara, Lemoine, Hayman, and Keukeleire. Strangely, the small Nibali group distanced everyone else. Final section of cobbles and there went Boom. Behind Sagan and Cancellara continued to mark each other. With two kilometers to go, Boom had 40 seconds. What a great ride from him today. Plenty of time for celebrating. Next up: Fuglsang and Nibali. Some significant time gaps behind. 


Stage: Lars Boom
Yellow: Vincenzo Nibali

Wine: Clos de Rochers Auxerrois
From  Frankly Wines

From the producer: Situated on the slopes running down to the Moselle river which acts as a natural border between Luxembourg and Germany, the vineyards lie in a gentle micro-climate influenced by the river and an ideal south-westerly orientation.  They stretch over 42 km (26 miles) from Wasserbillig to the eponymous Schengen of European fame.

The 1235 hectares (3052 acres) of vines are divided into two areas: the canton of Remich with deep, rich soils and that of Grevenmacher, on slowly eroding clay soils.  The former produces generous and fleshy wines; the latter is distinguished by the mineral character of the wines and their finesse.

The grapes, harvested by hand, are selectively picked at the most favourable moment of their maturity.  End of october, the harvest is generally over.

The grapes are collected in crates of 200 kg and are transported twice a day to the Domaine's pneumatic wine presses.

The must ferments in small stainless steel or oak vats under temperature control.  After ageing for a few months on fine lees, the wines are bottled in the spring following the harvest. 

I say: Weird grape alert. Wikipedia tells me that Auxerrois blanc is thought to have originated in Lorraine, rather than near Auxerre in the Yonne. Recent DNA fingerprinting suggests that it is a cross between Gouais blanc and Pinot noir.

Between this wine and the Cav tribute wine earlier, I'm feeling a little like I am dooming the riders with my choices. I couldn't resist  a wine from Luxembourg for a cobbled stage. Also when else would I ever drink a wine from Lxuembourg?
Feel free to insert your own Schleck joke here.
Very pale white, muted nose, has some richness. Floral notes, along with some fruit. Not going to be the wine of the Tour, but pleasant.

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