Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Wine & Food of the Tour de France 2016: Stage 10: Teamwork, Rouge Gorge Blanc & Bethmale Cheese

Where are we? Leaving Andorra and heading back to France. Riding 198 kilometers from Escaldes-Engordany to Revel.

Escaldes-Engordany Visit Andorra tells me that Escaldes-Engordany developed between the 1930s and 1960s and its evolution and path to its segregation from Andorra la Vella is related to different important events in Andorra’s development, such as the birth of spa tourism and the electrification of the country. Of the large number of examples we could mention, we especially have the Casa Lacruz, the work of the Catalan architect Puig i Cadafalch, or the Hotel Valira and the Hotel Carlemany as examples of the first establishments that used spa water to bring in tourists. An essential visit for lovers of historical details.
LeTour Specialities: Trinxat de muntanya (potato omelette with bacon and green cabbage), escudella (soup with pork, pasta and vegetables), cured meat

Revel: Back to France in the Haute-Garonne. Revel is situated about 35 miles (54 kilometres) east of Toulouse.  Revel has a central square, partially covered by a 14th-century roof, supported by wooden pillars and topped by a distinctive bell-tower. Originally, the marketplace erected in the fourteenth century, but was rebuilt after a fire in the 1830s. It is the home of a Saturday market, which is apparently considered one of the 100 most beautiful markets in France.  
LeTour Specialities: Cassoulet, capons, millas (cake made of corn flour), poumpet (layered cake), châtines (chocolate)

From LeTour:  Christian Prudhomme's comment
Not any kind of rider will be able to take off early and shine on this stage made for spectacular attacks. Only the most determined and solid men will manage to seize their chance when leaving Andorra to immediately take on the climb to the Port d'Envalira. And once in Revel, the final 6-kilometre hill leading to the finish line seems made for the most volatile punchers.

The stage: Sprint stage? One for the breakaway? Sagan stage? A flurry of action early in an attempt to find the right mix for today's break of the day. And that break would have some interesting riders including Nibali, Sagan (who would regain green), Van Avermaat, Matthews and Chavanel. 75 kilometers to go and their gap was over six minutes. Fifty kilometers to go and it was about five minutes. Soon enough, the attacks within the breakaway would start. Would they stay away or be caught?
Why look: Voeckler:

LeTour social media seemed to think that the break will amke it:

Splits in that group up front and Orica has managed to keep three riders in the reduced group.

As they approached the late climb, would there be attacks? Yes. Impey attacked for Orica, hoping to soften up Sagan. Eventually, it was Sagan back to the front with Matthews glued to his wheel and Sagan would continue to shut down every attack as Impey went again and again. Rather awesome riding to watch. And the team work would win the stage: Michael Matthews.



Wine: Rouge Gorge (Cyril Fhal) 2010 VdP des Côtes Catalanes Blanc (Maccabeu) 

From Selection Massale: Cyril works a variety of mostly old vine, north facing parcels on gneiss around his hometown of Latour de France.  He has long been one of the leading proponents of Biodynamics in the South of France, as well as championing traditional blends and grapes that often aren't allowed in the AOC.  He works entirely by hand (or horse) in the vineyards (it would be impossible to work them any other way, given the steep slopes) and his work in the cellar is the same, foot stomping and then mostly traditional vinification (he does blend a small amount wine done cold carbonic to tame the wines a bit and preserve some of their freshness, something he thinks is sorely lacking in so many wines from the region).
Chambers Street write up:
I say: Pale golden. Wax and minerals with some honey.

Food: Bethmale cheese
A goat milk cheese that hails from the Couserans region of the Comté de Foix in the Pyrénées mountains of Southern France.
Culture, the cheese magazine, tells me that: Mention of Bethmale cheese dates back to the early 12th century, when Louis VI of France tasted it during a visit to the region. At the time, it was described as 'the fat cheese of Saint-Girons', a description that could still apply today since, when cut, the interior paste glows with fat and is distinctive for its horizontal slits.

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