Saturday, May 28, 2016

Wine and Food of the Giro 2016 Stage 20: Institut Agricole Regional & Sola Cheese

Where are we? In France to start, heading 134 kilometers from Guillestre to Sant'Anna di Vinadio.
 From the Giro site: Guillestre, located in the French province of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, lies at the crossroads of major communication routes among the valleys and towards the Alpine passes leading to Italy.
The village thrives on winter and summer tourism, which is growing steadily as the location offers many sporting opportunities, as well as a spa resort at the “Plan de Phazy” hot springs.
COOKING: Traditional cheeses and cold cuts, Guil Durance lamb, sea buckthorn (argousier) and larch flower syrup; honey

Vinadio, at the heart of the Stura river valley, is a major tourist and thermal resort. For centuries, it marked the frontier between France and Italy, which explains the wealth of military fortifications stretching for 1,200 metres, on three different levels, with approx. 10 km of internal routes.
The most famous landmark is the sanctuary of Sant’Anna, the highest-rising sanctuary in Europe (2,035 m). The church was erected on a rocky surface that ancient glaciers had smoothed out, which explains its unusual slanting floor.
COOKING: Crouset (fresh pasta) with cheese sauce, oula al fourn (vegetable soup), agnello sambucano (native lamb meat), wild game dishes

The stage:  With so many riders close at the top, today should be very interesting. Indeed, riders attempted to form a break from the very start. A reminder of our top 10 on GC going into the day:

1 Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-GreenEdge 78:14:20
2 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:00:44
3 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo 0:01:05
4 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 0:01:48
5 Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff Team 0:03:59
6 Bob Jungels (Lux) Etixx - Quick-Step 0:07:53
7 Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar Team 0:09:34
8 Rigoberto Uran (Col) Cannondale Pro Cycling 0:12:18
9 Kanstantsin Siutsou (Blr) Dimension Data 0:13:19
10 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale 0:14:11

Kruiwijk, by the way, is starting the day with a rib injury after his snowbank crash yesterday.  

The early break consisted of Mikel Nieve (Team Sky), Joe Dombrowski (Cannondale), Stefan Denifl (IAM), Tanel Kangert (Astana), Giovanni Visconti (Movistar), Darwin Atapuma (BMC), Gianluca Brambilla (Etixx-QuickStep), Rein Taaramae (Katusha) and Aleksey Rybalkin (Gazprom).

Horrible news from the Tour Belgium of another bad moto crash, injuring riders and causing the neutralization of the stage.

Ahead, attacks seemed likely.

With 50 kilometers to go Nieve had 15s seconds as a gap to the chasers with the Maglia Rosa group  at 8.55.
A few kilometers on and Nieve would be caught by the chasers. Forty six kilometers to go and they had 8:45 over the pink jersey group.

Thirty two kilometers to go and the gap to the main pack was 9:45. Twenty seven kilometers to go and it was time for that group to start climbing. When would the attacks start? I have hit the point in the stage when I start to hear the helicopters as the Jaws theme. 
Twenty one kilometers to go and Astana finally comes to the front. The peloton was getting smaller, but at 18 kilometers to go, that main favorites were still all there. Scarponi to the front. The word of the day so far is wait. And there went Scarponi followed quickly by Nibali. The other favorites would catch them. Action time? And then there were eight.

Lots of attacks from the group up front, fighting for the stage win, as behind things remained steady with Scarponi continuing to lead the group. Twelve kilometers to go and there went Nibali. He appeared to be distancing Chaves and Valverde. Eleven kilometers to go and he had a twenty second gap. Keep in mind, he started the day 44 seconds back. Nibali made it to his teammate Kangert. Could he help? Behind, Uran had arrived to help Chaves. Wow. 
Seven kilometers to go and Nibali was alone. Behind, Chaves could not stay with Uran and Valverde. This is remarkable. At the top of the climb, the gap from Nibali to Chaves was 55 seconds.
Ahead, Rein Taaramae looked to be in position to take the stage win. Second, Atapuma. Third, Joe Dombrowski. 
And behind the came in, with Valverde gaining time as well. The big winner, obviously, Vincenzo Nibali as he will win this Giro. 



Wine: Institut Agricole Regional Fumin 10 
From the importer:
IAR was established in 1951 as a professional agricultural program, designed to preserve the indigenous Valle d’Aosta agrarian products (vegetables, fruits, cheese, wine), and to teach the next generation as well. Master winemakers and professors work both in the fields and in the lab. A large part of the group’s focus is also on genetically identifying the many indigenous grape varietals. IAR is responsible for determining the origins and traits of many clones and phenotypes of vitis vinifera.
Deep color, lots of vibrancy, herbal, cherry

Food: Sola cheese
Sola is a cheese with a tradition that lies in the alpine pastures, as documented by the historian Tulio Pagliana in a study on the lives of the shepherds of the Upper Tanaro Valley.The name derives from the particular shape of the cheese on maturing, which is similar to that of the sole of a shoe.
Semi soft, mild, sweetness, slight tang, really like this one. Favorite cheese of the race!

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