Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Wine & Food of the Tour de France 2015: Stage 17: Domaine Les Terres Promises & Beaufort Cheese

Stage 17 161km
Digne-les-Bains: The tourist website suggests that thermal baths: Located in the heart of the Eaux Chaudes "Hot waters" Valley, the Thermal Baths of Digne les Bains offer you a well-being break. If you are having a hydrotherapy or if you are a Pays Dignois resident or visiting the area, there is always a good reason to do you good in Digne les Bains.
Specialities: lavender, Sisteron lamb, honey, olives, truffles, oils, garlic.
Pra Loup Station de Montagne:  The tourist website tells me that Pra Loup is one of the largest mountain resorts in the Southern French Alps. Internationally known as a winter ski destination it is also very popular in summer and is renowned as a centre for mountain biking. Graded, waymarked bike trails descend from the summit station of the cable car and the resort offers many other open air activities such as pony riding, trampolines, and quad bikes.
The central square boasts numerous restaurants and bars, many with sunny terraces. Summer evenings see a wide variety of entertainment such as concerts and firework displays.
Specialities: fumeton (lamb), génépi (liqueur), Ubaye cheese.

Christian Prudhomme's comment
Eddy Merckx can witness this: the climbs up to the Col d'Allos followed by the one to Pra Loup are fearsome and can real trouble the established hierarchy. Like in 1975, the intense battle should start as soon as the climb up to the Col d'Allos. Forty years after, who will be the next Bernard Thévenet?

Ah, the Alps. We've been waiting for you. Busy start to the day, with groups all over the road. Among those dropped, Tejay van Garderen and he does not look good at all. Early on he was already more than three minutes down, riding with teammates. They way he was riding, it looked like he might not even complete the stage.
Chris Froome was hoping apparently for a quieter start.
Up ahead, the break of the day in visual form from Team Movistar:
Some very good climbers in that group and, of course, Sagan again. With eighty kilometers to go, they had two minutes over the yellow jersey group.


And wow, Tejay and his group would make it back to the yellow jersey group. Given how he had looked earlier, a surprise, though that yellow jersey group had clearly slowed. Could he stay with them?

Seventy four kilometers to go and an attack from Contador. Valverde would catch him, followed by a reduced group. Tejay van Garderen had been dropped from the group by that move. And indeed, he would abandon the race. That was hard to watch, as he had been having such a good race. 
Meanwhile, attacks continued from the yellow jersey group. All of those attacks had cut the gap to the front group to 2'47" with sixty six kilometers to go. Behind, dropping out of the race, the lanterne rouge, Sam Bennett. 

At the front of the race, an attack by Simon Geschke.  Another abandonment, Kwiatkowski. 

As they climbed, there were many groups spread out over the road. At the top of the climb, Geschke would go over first with almost one minute over the chasing Pinot. Meanwhile in the yellow jersey group Astana was pushing the pace at the front. Setting up an attack by Nibali on the descent? Only eleven riders left in that group as they climbed. An attack by Nibali would cut that group in half leaving Nibali, Froome, Valverde, Quintana and Contador. 
Next to go, Quintana. At that point, they caught back up to Richie Porte, who had dropped from the break and would now work for Froome. 
Ahead, Geschke up front alone followed by Pinot and Talansky with riders spread out ahead of the very small yellow jersey group. While we were in commercial, an issue for Contador. He had Sagan and Rogers with him. 
Ahead, Geschke on the climb to Pra Loup now, with a gap of 1.51 over Talansky with 5.5 kilometers to go.


One kilometer to go and it looked like Geschke would hold on. Behind, in the yellow jersey group, four Movistar riders. The stage win for Geschke! The fifth German stage win of the Tour. 

1 Simon Geschke (Ger) Team Giant-Alpecin 4:12:17
2 Andrew Talansky (USA) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team 0:00:32
3 Rigoberto Uran (Col) Etixx - Quick-Step 0:01:01
4 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) 0:01:36
5 Mathias Frank (Swi) IAM Cycling 0:01:40
6 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo 0:02:27
7 Nicolas Roche (Irl) Team Sky 0:03:02
8 Jonathan Castroviejo (Spa) Movistar Team 0:03:04
9 Serge Pauwels (Bel) MTN - Qhubeka 0:03:05
10 Adam Yates (GBr) Orica GreenEdge 0:03:21


Wine: Domaine Les Terres Promises
From FranklyWines
Jean-Christophe’s Domaine des Terres Promises is located in the village of La Roquebrussane, 1,300 feet above sea level, off-the-beaten track at the end of a long, steep road. Determined to farm organically, he found an area that made it more feasible. His vineyards are in a microclimate between Aix-en-Provence and Côtes de Provence that has colder winters and hotter summers on eroded hillsides that are composed mostly of limestone with gravel and flint.
He did, of course, have a lot to learn about grape-growing and winemaking, but he learned quickly, with help from generous like-minded winemakers like Catherine and Pierre Breton and Marcel Richaud. He works with many different grape varietals, including Ugni Rosé (a sub variety of Ugni Blanc), Carignan Blanc, Vermentino aka Rolle, Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre and Carignan.
He doesn’t use any chemicals in his vineyards, all harvesting is done by hand, and sorting is done in the vineyard. In the cellar, he uses natural fermentation and sulphur is kept to a minimum. He generally doesn’t fine or filter his wines and uses fiberglass tanks and oak foudres for fermentation. 
Read this:

I say: Very light yellow. Very minerally at first taste, with the fruit coming out as it warmed up a bit. 

 Food: Beaufort Cheese
From French Food in the US: Beaufort is an exquisite cheese made in the French Alps in the departément Savoie. Beaufort evolved over its hundreds of years of production and gained its own distinctiveness and renown. This dense cheese is of a harder, smooth texture, with a varying shades of yellow depending on which seasonal variety is being produced. Like other familiar cheeses such as Comté, Beaufort’s firm texture is obtained by removing excess whey and moisture, first by pressing the curds and then by heating the cheese before leaving it to age. But the bold flavor of the cheese can be directly attributed to the meticulous diet and unconventional environment of its two approved milk producers: the Tarine and Abondance cow breeds. The unparalleled quality and flavor of Beaufort was recognized on the national level in 1968 when it received its status as an AOC (Controlled Designation of Origin) and again by the EU in 2009, when it obtained its PDO status (Protected Designation of Origin).
Will from Podium Cafe even had a picture of Beaufort cows to share.

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