Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Wine and Food of the Giro 2017 Stage 4: Etna!

Cefalù – Etna, 180 km

Where are we? Sicily!
Cefalù is situated on the north coast of Sicily. In the 4th century BC the ancient Greeks founded the polis of Kephaloidion, where the present old city centre now lies. In 254 BC the town was conquered by the Romans who called it Cephaloedium. In 858 the town was conquered by the Arabs and then in 1063 by the Normans. In 1131 King Roger had a cathedral with the characteristics of a fort built.
From the Giro site:
FOOD  Meat-stuffed arancine (rice balls), carne murata, aubergine caponata, swordfish rolls.
WINE  Contea di Sclafani (white, red, rosé), Fontanarossa di Cerda (white, red, rosé), Catarratto (white), Nero d’Avola (red). 

Etna: The history of Nicolosi is connected to that of the early 12th century Benedictine Monastery of San Nicolò  around which the original village was built and which was many times destroyed by lava flows. The greatest and most destructive of these in 1669 devastated the Etna villages all the way to Catania. Nicolosi represents historically “the gate to Etna” because of its central position between the sea and the mountain. Great video here of a recent eruption on Etna.
WINE: Etna red and rosé (Nerello cappuccio, Nerello mascalese), white (Carricante, Cataratto, Minnella, Bianco, Trebbiano, Grillo). 

The stage:  First summit finish and a volcano!
The break of the day:

Our first abandonment of the race, Rohan Dennis, due to a crash on stage three. On they went with the break maintaining a significant gap. Sixty kilometers to go and it was still at six minutes. Under twenty five kilometers to go and the remaining break riders had just about five minutes. Just under twenty kilometers to go and some sort of confusion over the right route and a crash. 

Up ahead, Polanc solo now, leading by four minutes with 16.4 kilometers to go.
As the peloton hits the final climb, the pink jersey drops. Great ride by him today. Hey, Rolland. Mikel Landa with a mechanical and a very slow wheel change. 

Five kilometers to go and Rolland was reeled in. Polanc was still two minutes up the road. All of the favorites still together. Would there be an attack? Three kilometers to go and 1:30 to Polanc. Attack by Jesper Hansen. Nibali! But he would be brought back almost immediately. Finally under one minute. Could he hold on as the attacks come behind? 
Polanc! Wow. That was fun to see.

Wine: Girolamo Russo 2015 Rosato
  from Dig Wine
From the producer: The Girolamo Russo estate was founded in 2005 by Giuseppe Russo, in memory of his late father. The family are native of Passopisciaro, one of the key villages at the heart of the rebirth of Etna’s most important grape variety, Nerello Mascalese.
This is the north face of Europe’s largest active volcano, Mount Etna, in the north-eastern corner of Sicily.
The Russos have 26 hectares of land in and around Passopisciaro, with 15 hectares of vineyards surrounded by olive and hazelnut groves. The vineyards are high up, between 650 and 780 metres above sea level, inland from the beautiful town of Taormina. Many of the free-standing bush vines are over 80 years old, surviving in harmony with Etna’s black, mineral-rich volcanic soil.

Tasting notes: Made from Nerello Mascalese , this is one of those "Wow, it went quickly bottles." Very pale, with strong notes of cherry and pomegranate balanced by the zing of acid. 

Food:  Pistachio crema
I admit it, I went off the Giro food list because I love this pistachio crema so much. The first time I bought it I planned on using it in-between cake layers. Turns out, I needed to buy a second jar for that, simply because I could not going back for another taste. Kind of like a pistachio Nutella.

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