Sunday, July 19, 2015

Wine and Food of the Tour de France Stage 15: Domaine Romaneaux-Destezet White and Aligot

Stage 15 183km

From the tourist website:
Set on the banks of the Rhone River in south France, Valence has a history dating back to Roman times.
As you ramble through the city, you discover the Cathédrale St-Apollinaire, the oldest monument in the city.
Close by you will find the facade of the Maison des Têtes and the astonishing Maison Mauresque. Valence also boasts its Musée d’Art et d’Archéologie, a little theatre 'à l’italienne' and the Centre du Patrimoine Arménien (one Valence inhabitant in every ten is of Armenian origin).
In the town centre, the Parc Jouvet is one of the most beautiful parks in the Rhone valley, with an impressive view over the ruins of the Château de Crussol. Valence is crossed by 17 kilometres of canals, a place for family strolls. The Port de l’Epervière ('Pavillon Bleu d'Europe'), is the number one river port in France. 
Specialities: dragées de Valence (praline sweets), Suisse (biscuit), fruit

The stage: Christian Prudhomme's comment
All the conditions should be set for the sprinters' teams to work hard before a bunched finish in Valence. The day's course doesn't make this stage the hardest of the event but what many might predict could be troubled when the pack enters the Rhône valley where wind can be a real nuisance.

Stories after yesterday's stage include, fans behaving very badly and a strange disqualification.  The break today, in color:


Eventually a smaller group would split off into the lead: Sagan, Rogers, Geschke, A. Yates, Kwiatkowskii, Trentin, Hesjedal, Pinot, and Bak. With 125 kilometers remaining, their gap was 1'31". Further behind was a dropped group of riders including Cavendish, so if it does turn out to be a sprint today, he would be unlikely to be involved. 
Along the way:

At the intermediate sprint point, more points for Sagan in the green jersey competition. With seventy kilometers to go, the gap to the break was just under two minutes. 
Nice field art:

Fifty kilometers to go and the gap to the break was just over one minute. With forty five kilometers to go, Trentin had attacked his breakmates and had twelve seconds on them. Behind him, the rest of the break would be caught, except Hesjedal who was closing in on Trentin. 36.8 to go and they were together with just forty three seconds over the bunch. 
A strange scene that we may here more about later. While Sagan was getting his bike changed, he appeared to kick at the cameraman. As well, someone from the team car through a bidon. 

Just under thirty kilometers to go and they were all together except for the grupetto. 

Twenty kilometers to go and it looked like they were setting up for a bunch sprint. Kristoff? Greipel? Degenkolb? Sagan? Lots of possibilities still in that front group. Behind, the Cav group is twelve minutes down. Five kilometers to go and there was a rather strange band, with bagpipes. On the road, BMC was at the front of the peloton. An attack by Stybar. He would be caught at one kilometer to go. Wow! Greipel again. He is having a great Tour. 


1 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky
2 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team 0:03:10
3 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:03:32
4 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 0:04:02
5 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:04:23
6 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky 0:04:54
7 Robert Gesink (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo 0:06:23
8 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:08:17
9 Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal 0:08:23
10 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek Factory Racing 0:08:53

Wine: Domaine Romaneaux-Destezet, Herve Souhaut's white
From FranklyWines

From the importer:  Hervé Souhaut created Domaine Romaneaux-Destezet in 1993. Hervé works 5 hectares of old and ancient vines—between 50 to 100 years-old. He is very fortunate to own two vineyards in the Rhône Valley just opposite the storied hills of Hermitage in Saint Joseph. This region is widely recognized as being one of the finest areas for wine production on the planet; thanks in part to its elevation, ancient vineyard sites and the southeastern and southern exposures. The domaine is located further into the hills of the Northern Ardeche in the tiny town of Arlebosc, about a 30 minute drive from St Joseph, winding through the hills. The winery is underneath the 16th century “les romaneaux” fortified farm and sits in the middle of the vines that make up the souteronne, syrah, and white cuvées.
Hervé works with entirely whole grape bunches and semi-carbonic maceration. His philosophy is to extract a delicate balance of tannins from the grapes, to make a wine with subtlety and finesse. This stands in contrast to many of the storied wines of the Northern Rhone, that are made with much more extraction of tannin, designed to be practically undrinkable in youth and soften and open with time. Hervé prefers to make a wine that is drinkable right away, but we must say his wines have such a fantastic level of purity and acidity, that the older bottles we have tasted have incredible potential to evolve into what we find to be one of the most spectacular natural wines in existence.

:70% Viognier, 30%Roussanne—10 year-old non-cloned vines. Vinification Method: Grapes are hand-harvested and undergo a very long maceration at a low temperature—without destemming the fruit. The wine is fermented in wooden tanks and aged on fine lees in second-hand oak casks for eight months. The wine is bottled without filtration. Total SO2 is only 25mg/L. Tasting Note: Golden straw in the glass with lovely scents of white flowers, tropical fruit, wet stones and notes of oak. The palate is supple with loads of pear and fig flavors that are backed by elegant mineral notes. Moderate acidity, apple preserves and a warm note of oak lingers on the finish. 

I say: I've very much been looking forward to this one. Very aromatic. Flowers, fruit and minerals indeed.  Both rich and slightly oily, but with plenty of acid. I was not disappointed.

Food: Aligot 
Potatoes, cheese, butter, why not? As tasty as we found it, our pictures were lousy. You can see a few better images, along with a recipe at SeriousEats.

The tourist website provided an easy recipe:

Serves 6 :Ingredients
* 1 kg of floury potatoes
* 100 g of butter
* 250 g of creme fraiche
* 400 g of tome fraîche de Laguiole
* clove of garlic
* Salt pepper
Prepare a classic mash potatoes, add to this purée the butter and the creme fraiche. Season with salt, pepper and a hint of garlic.
Heat up the mash and add the cheese cut in small strips, then stir slowly with a wooden spoon. (This takes a little while and is very good arm exercise!)
When the mixture becomes stringy the Aligot is ready!
Serve with sausages or a pork or beef roast.
Tip: take the cheese out of the fridge early enough, the stirring will be much easier.

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