Saturday, May 16, 2015

Wine & Food of the Giro 2015 Stage 8: Di Majo Norante Ramitello & Scamorza

Where are we: Fiuggi - Campitello Matese 188 KM - Medium mountain 

Campitello Matese is one of the most important tourist destinations in Molise and the snowiest ski resort in Central-Southern Italy. 
The Molise is a region that I knew little about.  Until 1963, it formed part of the region of Abruzzi e Molise, alongside the region of Abruzzo. The split, which did not become effective until 1970, makes Molise the newest region in Italy. Among the southern regions, it is one of the richest in waterways, which cross the land from the Apennine watershed to the Adriatic Sea. Other rivers, flow into the Tyrrhenian Sea, after crossing the region of Campania. For cycling fans, the most interesting statistic may be that forty percent of Molise is covered by mountains.

The stage: Second mountain top finish of the race. Lots of back and forth early as there are attempts to form the break of the day. A group out front, a split in the peloton, and then yet another group forming. A busy start. Eventually, with about seventy kilometers to go, things looked like this: 

As they continued along, Pellizotti has gone back to chasers, leaving  Kruijswijk, Betancur and Vandewalle with fifteen seconds on that group and 9'19" on the peloton with 57 kilometers to go. 
Along the way:

Forty three kilometers to go and the gap to the leading group was still over eight minutes. It would hold around there for many kilometers. 

Red flag? Apparently the peloton is being slowed down to allow some team cars through before the final climb. I don't remember seeing that before. Astana to the front of the peloton. Perhaps time to see how Contador's shoulder is holding up?
The Giro twitter feed has fallen in love with emojis.

As they near the bottom of the final climb, all of the favorites have come to the front of the peloton. The gap to the lead group had dropped to under six minutes. The final climb is 13 kilometers long and has an average gradient of 6.9% and 12% max. As the gap continued to drop, the group up front started attacking each other. With ten kilometers to go Kruijswijk was solo at the front. 
With 7.5 kilometers to go,  Astana was still on the front. Kruijswijk had 1’08” on the chasers and 3’10” on the peloton. 

Attack Aru with around five kilometers to go! Contador, Porte and Uran quickly caught him. Others soon joined them. Ahead Reichenbach, Inxausti caught Kruijswijk. Three kilometers to go and it was Inxausti solo and he would hold on for the win. Behind, the GC favorites finished together.

Stage:BeΓ±at Intxausti 


Wine: Di Majo Norante Ramitello 

from Winebow 

Sent as a sample SRP $18.00

From the importer: 

This wine is made from a selection of the best Montepulciano and Aglianico grapes grown in the Ramitello vineyard.  After fermentation in stainless steel, the wine is aged in a combination of stainless steel tanks and barriques for eighteen months. The final wine shows firm structure yet ripe, accessible fruit.

85% Montepulciano and 15% Aglianico 

From the producer:
In the Molise region, wine has traditions dating back to the Sannites and Romans, the first to introduce grape growing. Production methods are those passed down through the generations in the southern Apennines, constantly tied to the farming world. The Masseria Di Majo Norante is located north of the Gargano promontory in the district of Ramitello, in the countryside of Campomarino, where the loose, partially sandy soil and summer breezes combine to create a particularly favourable environment. Alessio Di Majo, a determined and somewhat innovative wine-maker, sacrificed productivity and uniformity of flavour in a constant quest for quality and distinctive characteristics, in the firm conviction that southern vines are the best suited to the pedoclimatic conditions of the "Molise countryside".

Di Majo Norante has been making wine from grapes ever since 1800, as is evidenced by the old cellars underneath the square and in the old family building at Campomarino. Commitment to grape growing was inherited first of all by Luigi and then by Alessio Di Majo and continues today alongside research and experimentation. Di Majo Norante produces its own wines from grapes grown in the 85 hectare vineyard of the ancient fief of the Marquises Norante di Santa Cristina.

I say: More nimble than I expected. Plums, dried sage, anise. Acid and backbone.

Food: Scamorza tells me that;  Scamorza is a cow’s milk cheese. A semi-soft white cheese with a texture comparable to that of a firm, dry Mozzarella, Scamorza is made throughout Apulia and in some parts of Campania and Molise. The cheese is made from pasteurised cow’s milk or from a mixture of cow and sheep milk. At the end of the cheese making process, which is akin to Mozzarella, the cheeses are hanged together in strings to ripen for about two weeks. The process of ripening the cheese has given Scamorza its name, which in southern Italy means ‘beheaded’. After two weeks of ripening, the cheese is sold as it is or smoked.

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