Thursday, May 26, 2016

Wine and Food of the Giro 2016 Stage 18: Spanna & Bettelmatt Cheese

Where are we? Riding 244 kilometers from from Muggio to Pinerolo.
From the Giro site
Muggiò: The city was probably founded by the Longobards. It has survived as a rural village for centuries, and then it embraced industrialisation after World War II.
Muggiò thrived and prospered especially in the 18th century, when it became the country residence of two noble Milanese families, Casati and Isimbardi. Valuable neoclassical buildings have survived to the present day, such as the wonderful “Villa Casati”, the current seat of the Town Hall.
COOKING: Cassoeula (or cazzoeula, a traditional pork and savoy cabbage stew), trippa (tripe soup), polenta, risotto alla monzese (saffron and sausage risotto); torta paesana (stale bread and chocolate cake)
 Pinerolo: Pinerolo, lying at the edge of Val Chisone, is known as the “town of cavalry”. Horsemen have come here from all over the world to learn the most important skills in horse-riding since the 19th century.
One of the major events is the historical re-enactment of the legend of the “Man in the iron mask”. According to folklore, this mysterious historical figure was said to live in the village of Pinerolo, and a little monument on the San Maurizio hill was dedicated to this legend. 
COOKING: Tomino del Talucco (cheese), panettone basso, torta Zurigo (chocolate pie with a crème Chantilly, nougat and chocolate filling) 
WINE: Pinerolese (red and rosé)

The stage: Today we have a large break to start things off:

With 80 kilometers remaining, their gap was 11:30. 

Twenty six kilometers to go and Brutt would be caught by a reduced break group of 11.  The gap was still over thirteen minutes. And so it would continue with Moser and Brambilla gaining a small gap over their breakaway companions.

But at the end:



Wine: 2010 Vallana Spanna del Piemonte
From the importer: Spanna, the local name for Nebbiolo, is a grape of terroir. While the Langhe showcases a beautiful expression, especially in the Barolo and Barbaresco regions, no list is complete without the wines of Alto Piemonte. Here, at the base of the Alps, at the foot of Monte Rosa, where the Mediterranean and Continental climates meet, Alto Piemonte takes on a charming and highly aromatic character. Alto Piemonte has acidic soils, rather than the alkaline soils of the Langhe, giving the wine its acid backbone and ultimately the structure and character that adds to the age ability. These vineyard sites are on gently sloping terraces along the left bank of the river Sesia and Lake Maggiore. Vallana owns vineyard sites within Colline Novaresi including the 2 important crus of Boca and Gattinara.
The classical labels that adorn Vallana’s bottles represent the family’s connection to the past, as well as their deep roots in the wine world. The estate as we know it today was formed in 1937, but the Vallana name was synonymous with great wine as early as the 18th century. Vallana is situated in the village of Maggiora in the Alto Piemonte, more than 100 miles north of Barolo. Today, the estate is run by Giuseppina Vallana, together with her son Francis, a Ph.D. in Viticulture and Oenology, and her daughters Marina and Miriam.
I say: Deep garnet. At first tastes of balsamic and cherry. With some air, herbal notes and hints of licorice.

Food: Bettelmatt cheese
From the importer: The history of using alpine huts in Val d’Ossola has been known since before the first century. The mountains of this area, even at very high altitudes, have wide, sheltered pastures for the animals and it is this characteristic that the local alpine shepherds have turned to good account in creating excellent cheeses throughout the centuries.  The most famous alpine cheese-making hut in the Ossola area is Bettelmatt, in the high Val Formazza, in the northern part of Ossola, but equal fame has spread to those in Toggia, Kastel, Sangiatto, Lago Vannino, Alpe Forno and Poiala – all situated at over two thousand metres and all in the Val Formazza. They have a very limited production of only a few hundred forms each every year. These are all made during July and August and used to be brought down to the valleys by mules but, more recently, they make the trip down in helicopters. Since the summer season of 2003, in order to distinguish them from their numerous and widespread counterfeits, the alpine Toma from Bettelmatt have been fire branded with their name.
I say: Very yellow. Firm. Almost Fontina-like.

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