Saturday, July 12, 2014

Wines of the Tour Stage 8: Our First Climbs of the Race: Kadri & Chateau de Vaux Pinot

Where are we:
Le Tour link:

We start where we finished yesterday in Nancy. Maybe time to try this Julia Child Quiche Lorraine recipe?

Our closing city is Vosges. The city owes its nickname, the “Pearl of the Vosges”, to Abel Hugo, brother of Victor who had been moved by the beauty of the lake just by the town. The memory of Gerardmer must also be moving for Pieter Weening who captured the greatest win of his career after a stage in Germany and France that had started in Pforzheim during the 2005 Tour. The young Dutchman had beaten to the line his only rival on the day, Andreas Kloden, by just 0,0002 of a second!
Specialities:  blueberry pie, mirabelle plums, tofailles (stewed potatoes), chique (white cheese with garlic and chives), smoked meats, potato pancakes, lorraine paté

Le Tour preview: We are now in the Vosges and, if I may say so, this is where the chips come down. Three off-the-wall days of racing in this region, three short but different stages which reflect our desire to force riders to adapt their strategies. What can we expect from this stage? A frenzied start in which breakaway specialists will seek to capitalise on the flat 130 kilometres which open the stage before the mountain goats come out to play! The menu features three difficulties: the Croix des Moinats, the Col de Grosse Pierre "revisited" with sections at over 15% and the final climb to La Mauselaine, in Gérardmer (1.8 km at 10.3%). The favourites will have nowhere to hide. However, it is entirely possible for a long breakaway to hang on and take the stage win.

The race: Not starting today: Mathias Frank, who broke his femur yesterday.
Expect an early breakaway and fireworks towards the end as they climb.
Indeed two interesting riders were looking to form an early break. Perhaps Chava was decided to leave his witness protection program after all?

On days days when a break could make it the starts are very fast and stressful. The peloton was already at 1'18" with 124 kilometers remaining to ride. In between the two groups three riders, Yates, Kadri and Petit, were attempting to bridge up to the break. They did catch on and had a gap of 3'34" with 118 kilometers to go. 

Road art:

Not a lot of action in the race as the break had over seven minutes with under 100 kilometers to go. The break covered 51.2 kilometers in the first hour of racing, a rather fast pace. Still to come though, the three highly anticipated, by viewers at least, climbs at the end of the stage. Eight nine kilometers to go and the gap was hovering around ten minutes. Ahead: rain and hills. Sixty five kilometers to go and the gap was still over ten minutes. 
At the sprintermediate, the break simply rolled through. In the field, Coquard once again took maximum points. Back with the break: rain and lots of it. 

Note Chavanel's orange bike. As I mentioned last year, it is painted to match his Camaro. Yates was the favorite, due to his climbing ability, but I was hoping for Chava. Under forty kilometers to go and the gap was still over ten minutes.

And finally the expected attack from Chavanel! Kadri bridged to him fairly quickly. Twenty four kilometers to go and the gap to the peloton was just over five minutes. With the pace set by Contador's Tinkoff-Saxo, the sprinters and others were dropped from the back of the bunch. Ahead, Kadri dropped Chavanel as Yates chased behind. At the top of the climb, Kadri had 48 seconds on Chavanel and 1:20 on Yates. Behind, more riders were dripped from the peloton including Kwiatkowski. Cue wilting flower jokes on twitter.  As he climbed the final part of the Grosse Pierre Kadri had a lead of 1:30 over Chavanel and 4:00 over the peloton. The peloton was getting very small. Among those dropped, Chris Horner. Very impressive riding from Tinkoff-Saxo. Plus, their highlighter jerseys are visible in the fog!

 It looked like Kadri would hold on for the win.  

Crash at the back and Talansky gets help from a random fan in a large hat:

Kadri wins the stage. Behind, Contador attacked with Nibali on his wheel. Right behind them was Porte. They would finish 2, 3 and 4 on the stage. Fun race today.

Stage: Biel Kadri

Yellow: Vincenzo Nibali

Wine: Chateau de Vaux Pinot 2012

From the importer:  Norbert Molozay is a true pioneer in French winemaking who has nearly single-handedly resuscitated France’s most northerly appellation, Moselle. This tiny VDQS (just 100 acres) is tucked up in the northeast corner of France, just over the Vosges Mountains from Alsace, near the Luxembourg border. Although an important wine region up to the mid-nineteenth century, phylloxera, industrialization and two world wars brought near obliteration of viticulture around Metz, in Lorraine, whose production was sold to make champagne until 1910, when the A.O.C. Champagne was created.

Farming practices: certified organic since 2014.

Moselle Pinot Noir - "Les Hautes Bassières"
100% Pinot noir - "Hautes Bassières" is a lieu dit. Harvesting is done by hand. The grapes are put into vats after destemming. The grapes are left to macerate with daily pigeages for three weeks. After a long cuvaison, the juice of the pressed grapes is drawn and the marc is pressed. The free-run and press wines are then blended. The wines are entirely aged in barrels of varying origins, ages and degrees of barrel heating or “toasting”. The goal is to have complexity but by no means forced extraction. The wine is matured in casks for 12 months. Blending and bottling is done at the Château at the end of September.

Pale rubis color, aromas of black cherry, peppery carnation and peony, silky tannins. This wine pairs well with rabbit and prunes, coq au vin, chicken with morels, or any cheese tray. 

 Producer website:

I say: We've been here before, but for the white.
More pinot, but still not from Burgundy, but from the Moselle, a region where the wines are mainly white and are made in some of the coldest climates used for commercial winemaking.
This wine is garnet red in color.  Earth and cherries. Some tannin. The producer suggests pairing it with pairs well with rabbit and prunes, coq au vin, chicken with morels, or any cheese tray.

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