Sunday, May 10, 2015

Wine & Food of the Giro 2015 Stage 2: Albenga - Genova

Where are we:  Traveling 173 kilometers from Albenga to Genova/Genoa.

Albenga: Albenga is situated on the Gulf of Genoa on the Italian Riviera in the Province of Savona in Liguria, northern Italy. Albenga has the nickname of city of a hundred spires.

Genova: Tourist website here.  The folks at Michelin tell me that it is the birthplace of Christopher Columbus and capital of Liguria. Genova features picturesque districts huddled on the slopes of the surrounding mountains. The city revolves around its port (re-designed by the architect Renzo Piano) and the sea, to which it owes its wealth and reputation. Genova “la Superba” is a city of contrasts where splendid palaces and ornate churches stand alongside more modest buildings, criss-crossed by a network of narrow streets known as carruggi.“The most winding and incoherent of cities, the most entangled topographical ravel in the world,” Henry James called it.

The stage: What should be our first sprint stage today. Alas, though, No Cav for the Giro this year, as he is riding the Tour of California. The favorite for the day is probably Andre Greipel, but there are other contenders.
They are heading here:


We have our first break of the year, featuring Frapporti, Owsian, Berlato, Zhupa, and Lindeman. Their gap would grow steadily, up to eight minutes at one point. Along they went, with lovely images of the local coastline.  

With 52 kilometers to go, the break had 2'55" on the peloton. From the break, we have our first mountain jersey leader of the race, Bert-Jan Lindeman. 
Meanwhile, the water bottles must be brought up to teammates, so we have a new device in action.
 More history:

Twenty seven kilometers to go and the gap was under two minutes. Twenty four kilometers to go and caduta! Haussler and much of the IAM team involved. Everyone appeared to be back up and riding. 
Aware of the possibility of more trouble on the circuit in Genova, Tinkoff came to the front to protect Alberto Contador, the pre-race GC favorite.  Sure enough, how come the small cadutas. Haussler down again, among others, creating some splits in the peloton. Caught behind, Pozzovivo and Hesjedal. Eleven kilometers to go and the break has been reeled in. Time for the sprint trains to start organizing. Under three kilometers to go and the teams of the gc men can relax, as after this point all riders would receive the same time as the bunch if there were to be a crash. More here


Our stage winner: Elia Viviani, with his first grand tour stage win. 


Wine: Rocche del Gatto Rossese 2012

I say: I know. I don't like to repeat producers, but I could not resist a Ligurian red. Plus, as I mentioned yesterday: Fortress of the Cat. Plus, a new grape:
From Winemonger:
Rossese immigrated to Italy from France, brought most likely into Liguria by soldiers of the powerful Genoese Doria family in the high Renaissance. Rossese owes its name to the vibrant color of the grape bunches, although the wines are not so deeply colored, ranging in hue from garnet to light ruby. Varietal characteristics include bright wild strawberry, blackcurrant and other forest fruit flavors, heralded by enticing rose and black-pepper aromatics. Modest of alcohol and vibrant of acid, Rossese shows intense fruit aromas when young, and does quite nicely with a slight chill” typically a wine for the pantry rather than the cellar.

I say: Light and delicate. Check on the acid, also the cherries, flowers and plums I expected.

Food: As you can see, I made focaccia. In honor of the herbs prevalent in Ligurian cuisine and all of the mentions of flowers in the region, I included radish flowers, rather than more traditional herbs. The basic recipe I used can be found here. I'd make it again, but would add more salt and more of the radish flowers. 

You can learn a lot more here from Bruce Schoenfeld on the region's food.

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