Monday, May 11, 2015

Wines of the Giro 2015 Stage 3: Çimixâ & Pesto

Where are we: Rapallo - Sestri Levante 136 kilometers

Rapallo is a municipality in the province of Genoa, in Liguria, northern Italy. As of 2011 it counts 30,742 inhabitants. It is situated on the Ligurian Sea coast, on the Tigullio Gulf, between Portofino and Chiavari. The climate is moderate. Among its famous visitors: In 1928 Yeats moved to Rapallo where he published The Tower in 1928 and The Winding Stair in 1933. 
According to tradition, Sestri Levante was founded by the Ligurian tribe of the “Tigullii” and it was already known in the Roman Age under the name “Segesta Tigulliorum”. The ancient core of the town developed in the Middle Ages in a fortified position on the "island". After the 15th century, the town expanded onto the alluvial plain south of the Gromolo river. Sestri Levante then became part of the Fieschi family’s domain, until it passed under the flags of the Republic of Genoa, which built the castle on the “island” and kept control of the town until the Napoleonic conquest." 

The stage:  Happy birthday Adam Hansen! As I've mentioned before, he is trying to set a record for the most consecutive grand tours ridden. Read more about it here.
Twenty-five riders in front before we even have live video? I wasn't expecting that. Our group consists of:


That large group would breakup and reform, as behind Tinkoff-Saxo drove the chase. Seventy-one kilometers to go and the gap was around one minute. Here somes our first grupetto of the race. I once again make a plea for a grupetto cam. (In case you are new here, a grupetto is a group of cyclists in a road cycling race who form a large group behind the leading peloton.) With fifty kilometers to go, the gap was still under a minute. Riders were dropping both from the lead group and the peloton as they continued climbing. 
As the gap continued to drop, Pirazzi attacked from the peloton. He reaches the break, though their gap is only eighteen seconds. With the top of climb in sight,
Kotchetkov attacked, getting enough points to be in the mountain jersey tomorrow. 

And then with about thirty eight kilometers to go, a bad crash for Pozzovivo. The images are awful and as the commentators said, there are too many of them on our screens. 

A report:

Further word came that he was conscious and breathing. 

Ahead, it appeared that the break would be caught. Sure enough, a bunch sprint to end things with Michael Matthews taking the stage in the pink jersey. 

Stage: Michael Matthews
Pink: Michael Matthews
Wine: Bisson Cimixia L'Antico 2013
From the importer: Enoteca Bisson was born in 1978 when Pierluigi Lugano fell in love with the wines of the Ligurian coastline. He began as a trader in small lots of bulk wine, later became a wine merchant and finally a grower in his own right. He now splits his time between his busy wine shop in Chiavari, the wine cellar and his vineyards.

For the grapes he purchases, he works hand in hand with local growers from pruning to harvest, then carefully vinifies the different lots of grapes. Lugano is a serious student of oenology and is an expert on the local grape varieties. His passion extends to the preservation of local traditions and this is reflected in the distinctive character and personality of his large range of wines from the Cinque Terre region.

It takes a heroic effort to cultivate vines on the steep slopes of the Ligurian coastline high above the Mediterranean Sea. Mechanization of vineyard tasks is out of the question and everything must be done by hand. Only truly passionate winegrowers are willing to carry on the traditions that have come down through the generations since the ancient Greeks first planted vines on the steep, stony slopes here. Lugano works closely with several small, local growers. He believes, as we do, that wine is made in the vineyards and he closely controls the work done in the field. Further, he has embarked on an ambitious program to purchase his own parcels in prime zones throughout the Cinque Terre and surrounding areas. He staunchly defends indigenous, and increasingly rare, grape varieties and works tirelessly to ensure that they do not disappear for future generations of wine lovers.  He is in the forefront of the movement to prove the worthiness of the Bianchetta Genovese, the Alberola and Bosca as well as the scintillating Ciliegiolo.

I say:  Cimixa. That is a new one for me.  More here, from the Ark of Taste site including this tidbit "The Scimiscià or Çimixâ vine has been widely grown in the area of Genoa since ancient times; however there are no written documents that can help determine their exact place or era of origin. The grape, as shown by historical data, was widely cultivated in the district of Chiavari and especially in the Val Fontanabuona, where other varieties were once widespread and blended." 
Apricot and chalk. Riper than I expected, though balanced with minerality. Pale yellow.

Food: Pesto! Most of the pesto I make these days is from random CSA greens, often arugula. It tends to be a whatever is in the fridge blend: greens, nuts, garlic and cheese. 
So it was a nice change of pace to make a more traditional version with basil, pine nuts, olive oil and Parmesan cheese. 

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