Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Wine and Food of the Giro 2016 Stage 16: Bele Casel Extra Brut Prosecco & Lavarone Vezzena cheese

Where are we? Still in the Dolomites Riding from 132 kilometers  from Bressanone to Andalo. 

From the Giro site: Bressanone/Brixen Art, culture and history of ideas are the deeply rooted features of the city of Brixen, South Tyrol. It has a thousand-year old history, and is considered as the oldest city in the whole region; it was a favoured destination for emperors, as well as a sumptuous episcopal city. Major annual events include the traditional Christmas Market, a unique opportunity to enjoy local crafts and savour the delicious, traditional sugary treats, just a stone’s throw away from the Plose Ski Area, where you can spend wonderful days in the snow. 
COOKING: Spätzle, knödel, wurst and sauerkraut; strudel, strauben (fried funnel cakes); South Tyrolean speck
WINE: Sylvaner, Traminer, Müller-Thurgau, Pinot gris, Veltliner (white, Doc Bressanone)
Lying on a verdant plateau, and surrounded by lush conifer forests, Andalo was originally divided into twelve separate hamlets (which can be still clearly identified) that grew around ancient mountain farmhouses, and scattered all over the wide grassy plain that stretches from the Paganella mountain to the eastern slopes of the Brenta Dolomites.
The city has grown steadily over the years to become a renowned summer and winter tourist destination.
COOKING: Carne salada (traditional corned beef), venison and mushroom dishes, polenta, knödelWINE: Teroldego Rotaliano (red), Metodo classico (white); Grappa trentina

The stage: The remaining sprinters are probably not very happy about the remaining stages.
Today may be a challenge. Lots of early attacks and excitement.

They are riding very quickly today, much faster than the fastest predicted time from the race organizers. With Dombrowski dropping from the front group, Cannondale was now leading the chase for the Chaves group. Chaves would attack from that trailing group and with 18 kilometers to go was only 13 seconds behind. Fifteen kilometers to go and an attack by Valverde. Zakarin and Kruiswijk would go with him. Nibali looked to be struggling. His group would be caught by the Chazes group. Thirteen kilometers to go and they were 22 second behind. Ten kilometers to go and they were 30 seconds back as Nibali looked to be in big trouble. Alas, cue the shark has sunk type jokes.

Ahead, Valverde had to be the favorite for the stage victory. Sure enough, he would take the day. 



Wine: Bele Casel Extra Brut Prosecco
The hillside vineyards and winery are situated in the province of Treviso between the small towns of Conegliano and Valdobbiandene in a little known subzone of the Prosecco DOCG-Asolo Superiore.

The family owns 1.5 ha and controls and farms another 10 ha of vineyards through long-term contracts. The hillside vineyards belonging to the family are all organically farmed and produce three very distinct Proseccos – Extra Dry, Extra Brut and Col Fondo. 

I say: Light, small bubbles. Apple and citrus, with some peach. This is lovely.

Food:  Lavarone Vezzena cheese
From Slowfood: This cow’s milk cheese is made with milk from two milkings, one of which is skimmed for cream. The technique is the same as for other medium-fat Alpine cheeses, but Vezzena is made unique by the wild herbs of the Lavarone plateau and a long aging. Even when very aged, it still preserves an exceptional buttery smoothness, releasing aromas that change depending on exactly when the cows were pastured. After a year or a year and a half, the eyes disappear and the very yellow paste becomes slightly grainy. The fragrance becomes more complex and herbaceous, spiced notes fill the mouth. It takes time for Vezzena to reach its full potential and for it to be obvious why it is one of the jewels of Trentino cheesemaking and why Emperor Franz Joseph wanted it on his table every day.
I say: Very firm, reminds me of gruyere

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