Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Wine and Food of the Tour 2015 Stage 11: Millet Gros Manseng Moelleux & Petit Basque

Stage 11 188km 
Pau / Cauterets - Vallée de Saint-Savin

From the tourist website:
In the nineteenth, Pau is a prestigious resort. From Russia to Brazil, city, resort winter and summer tourist center, is the fashionable meeting of high society.The geographical location of the city, the magnificent views across the countryside from a hillside, the presence of native castle of Henry IV, all combine to make the city the gateway to the Pyrenees. Gateway to the benefits of spas, the grandeur of its mountain scenery is celebrated by the romantic fashion of the "trip to the Pyrenees". Thus, at an early stage in the history of the spa and health resort , Pau began selling in the early nineteenth century an intangible product, which all have and yet belongs to no one: the air!
From the years 1830-1840, the history of the city then takes a unexpected turn marked with the seal of the development of global tourism . The success further increases from 1842, when a Scottish doctor, Dr. Taylor Alexander, based in Pau recovering, began to show his countrymen that the local climate can have beneficial properties in the treatment of tuberculosis. It now becomes fashionable to spend the winter at Pau for his health care there ... or just show it! This period is commonly referred to as "English Town". 
Specialities: Béarnaise sauce, garbure, poule au pot (chicken in a pot), foie gras, confit, Jurançon, Béarn wines, gâteau à la broche, merveilles (fritters), coucougnettes du Vert Galant (sweets), jams, honey

Cauterets - Vallée de Saint-Savin: From the local tourist website: At the foot of the pistes, Cauterets is an attractive resort situated at the heart of the Pyrenees National Park in a unique and protected setting, perfect for a family holiday. The village has all the services you need. It is a mixture of modern and traditional pyrenean styles, a clever mix of 1900 spirit and today commodities.
Specialities: berlingot (boiled sweets), black Bigorre pork, apple stuffed with foie gras, tastou (truffle bread), Tarbes beans, Jurançon

The stage:
Christian Prudhomme's comment
At the heart of the three-day Pyrenees chapter of the Tour, the Col d'Aspin and the Tourmalet will have to be climbed by the peloton on the way to Cauterets - Vallée de Saint-Savin. The stage could give riders having struggled on the previous day a good opportunity to hit back and move back up the GC.

I should have mentioned this yesterday, but I highly recommend Will's Mountains Preview here. A great chance to learn a lot more about this year's climbs. 
Up again today. An early break of the day was reeled in and the main break that reformed would not dangle as far as I might have expected:

A closer look at the stage profile:
With seventy seven kilometers to go the had 6'45" on the peloton. Martin was 1'30" behind them. Another abandonment on the day following a crash yesterday: Bennati. Just under seventy four kilometers to go and Martin would catch the breakaway group. Meanwhile, that group had dropped Demare. Behind, dropped from the yellow jersey group one of the French hopes, Bardet, apparently suffering from heat stroke. Another abandonment, Vansummeren. Fifty eight kilometers to go and the gap to the break was at 7'20". 
As they climbed past the half distance marker of this year's race, word from Italy that Ivan Basso's surgery was a success and that he will leave the hospital tomorrow.  
As they continued to climb, Pinot and Peraud were dropped from the yellow jersey group as Astana pushed the pace on the front. Action ahead? Fifty kilometers to go and the gap to the break was 6'49". 

Ahead, a move from Majka. Behind more abandonments reported, Rui Costa and Rein Taaramae. Astana continued to work in the main group, perhaps setting up an attack on the decent from Nibali? In that very small group:
Vincenzo Nibali, Tanel Kangert (Astana), Chris Froome, Richie Porte and Geraint Thomas (Sky), Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo), Nairo Quintana and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar),Tejay van Garderen and Samuel Sanchez (BMC), Tony Gallopin (Lotto), Pierre Rolland (Europcar), Robert Gesink (Lotto-Jumbo), Bauke Mollema (Trek Factory Racing).


And then it was time to descend. And if that descent was not scary enough: Cows!

Majka went under the 20 kilometer to go banner and he had 5:41 on the yellow jersey group with Pauwels 1:10 back on him. 
Oh and some field art:

It was looking good for Majka. 

Martin would catch and pass Pauwels. Hairpins!
1.5 kilometers to go and Majka still had 1'24" over Martin. Majka would hold on for his third Tour stage win. Behind, an attack by Mollema split the yellow jersey group and dropped Nibali. In second, ahead, Dan Martin.



Wine: Millet Gros Manseng Moelleux 2012
From FranklyWines $21.99 
From the producer:100 % gros manseng Vinification: This variety is harvested as soon as it is ripe (not over ripe), once the must reaches 14 degrees. The slow fermentation stops when 
the must gets to 12.5%. There is a residual sugar naturally present that added to the fact that it is conserved on the fine lees, gives this wine fatness and structure.
Tasting notes:  Sweet white wine with a clear, bright yellow colour. Complex bouquet that is quite typical with aromas of citrus, exotic fruits and fresh apricots. In the mouth the sensation is lively, round and full : a very good balance.

I say: Very pale yellow. Sweet but not cloying. Apricots.

Food: Petit Basque Cheese

From Janet Fletcher in The San Francisco Chronicle:
"The cheese debuted only in 1997, created by the French dairy giant Lactalis, and its enormous success -- most cheese counters stock it -- testifies to its broad appeal. Lactalis exports about 400,000 pounds a year of P'tit Basque, half of that to the United States. . . . 

As its name implies, P'tit Basque is a diminutive cheese, much smaller than most wheels of aged sheep's milk cheese. The petite cylinder stands about 3 inches tall and weighs about 1 1/4 pounds. It's made with pasteurized sheep's milk and aged about 70 days, whereas Manchego, weighing perhaps 6 pounds, might be aged six months or longer."

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