Sunday, July 24, 2022

Wine and Food of the Tour de France 2022 Stage 21: Paris

Where are we? 
Off to Paris!

Christian Prudhomme says: The Champs-Élysées, the traditional finishing point for the final stage of the Tour de France since 1975, will be the setting for an unprecedented double-bill, hosting not only the prestigious finale of the men’s race but also the start an historic women’s event. Prior to the Tour’s grand sprinting finale, the first stage of the first edition of the Women’s Tour de France with Zwift will be held on the final circuit in the heart of Paris.

The stage: Stage 21, or as I think of it, a parade with a battle at the end. It was rather sad to see Geschke wearing the polka dot jersey on this ceremonial stage, as he had lost dots and was acting only as a place holder. 
A retirement to celebrate:

This was a lovely gesture:
For those watching at home, don't drink and ride.
Final kom point of the race went to Geschke.
Some familiar sites:
Plus, a smoke art.
Oh look, a doomed breakaway. With 15 kilometers to go, Rutsch, Schachmann, Duchesne and Le Gac had 15 seconds.  Twelve kilometers to go and Le Gac had dropped off. The gao to the trio was shrinking. 
A remarkable stat: all the sprinters listed at the start in Copenhagen are still in the race: Caleb Ewan, Fabio Jakobsen, Jasper Philipsen, Dylan Groenewegen, Wout van Aert, Alexander Kristoff, Alberto Dainese, Mads Pedersen, Danny van Poppel, Hugo Hofstetter, Michael Matthews, and Peter Sagan.
And then came some entertaining attacks, including Pogacar. 
Finally the sprint and Philipsen!
Final GC:

The wineChampagne Suenen Grand Cru Extra Brut Oiry Blanc de Blancs NV from Copake Wine Works
As always, Champagne to finish things. 
From the producer, some philosophy: OAs the founder of the Suenen Champagne, I have assigned my philosophy to our wines and land since 2009. I wish to convert a unique agricultural produce into wine, in order to authentically represent the essence of my land. As a result, our wine growing and producing techniques will reflect the evolution of our wine year after year.
The fragility of my land and wine require care and a particular attention to the healthiness of the soil. We have reintroduced mechanical work in order to reduce packing down of the soil, thus increasing breathing and promoting land healthiness. By feeding the vine with its essential needs the growing of the roots is stimulated daily, allowing them to reach deep into the chalk layer to extract the finest in minerals and authenticity.
An exhaustive survey was carried out for each plot of land that constitutes my heritage. Each year, with the collaboration of their son Emmanuel, Claude and Lydia Bourguignon from the French soil analysis laboratory LAMS, select vine plots to conduct a detailed land analysis. I truly think that the organic element is my basic work tool and is therefore extremely valuable. Vine grows thanks to the energy found in soil and air. Brought to maturity, the greatly expected grapes will be picked in profusion at a precise moment.
Oak barrels and tuns are used for the wine making process, perpetrating my grandfather’s legacy in the wine and spirit store. I have added an ovoid concrete tun and locust tree barrels in the historical part of the store. The use of wood an earthy natural material, allows the micro-oxygenation process our the wine barrels. Besides, I like to use enamelled tuns for some of our non-vintage wine year.
Thanks to a long aging process, wine feeds on its own organic material during a six to nine-month period. Each year, conditions and production quality define the use of either poor or rich lees. Nowadays, natural yeast is partly used for fermentation of the grapes. In the future and for a first period of time, we are planning on using only our own natural yeast on selected land plots. As for the malolactic fermenting process, it is a natural and time consuming action of the wine itself that needs to be regulated for certain wines and in very specific cases. Finally, wine bottling takes place only when longer and sunnier days come closer again at the Suenen Champagne vineyards.

The food: I turn to Le Tour for this final stage and their choice is perhaps unexpected? Champignon de Paris (Button Mushroom)

Its real name is bispore agaric, and it was first cultivated under Louis XIV in Versailles and then under Napoleon in the catacombs of Paris. Hence its given name in France. But it was only at the end of the 19th century that its cultivation developed, not in Paris, but in Touraine and the Saumur region. As the bispore agaric is the easiest mushroom to grow in a mushroom house, it quickly conquered the whole planet and is nowadays produced mainly in China and the United States.

Saturday, July 23, 2022

Wine and Food of the Tour de France 2022 Stage 20, Lacapelle Marival to Rocamadour

Where are we? In the Lot!
Lacapelle Marival: Another first time stage city!  Le Tour says The Quercy town of Lacapelle-Marival has played the role of a small capital of its territory since the Middle Ages.
Lacapelle-Marival is situated at the meeting point of three very different natural terroirs. To the west are the Causses du Quercy, karstic plateaus whose vast rocky expanses are ideal for sheep farming. This territory provided the wealth of its flocks of sheep, whose numbers were sometimes impressive. To the west are the wooded and fertile Ségala mountains, suitable for cattle breeding and, traditionally, for chestnut cultivation. Between these two very different environments, Lacapelle-Marival was established in the Limargue region, with its rich agricultural land favourable to cereal crops, walnut orchards and vines.
Le Tour regional specialtiesfarm lamb from Quercy (IGP designation, protected geographical indication), Quercy truffle, Quercy walnuts, pescajoune (pancake filled with fruit), golden greengage, walnut liqueur, Bois Bordet spring water

Rocamadour: A second first time stage city on the day!  The local tourist site tells me that: Just southwest of Padirac in the Causses du Quercy Regional Nature Park stands the sacred village of Rocamadour. Built on 3 successive levels, Rocamadour is both a place of legend and history where old stone houses, majestic towers and a castle keep cascade off the cliff into the Alzou Canyon.
Not only is the village one of France's most important tourist destinations and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it has also been a crucial pilgrimage site on the 'Way of Saint James' for hundreds of years.
Rising up 120 metres, this vertiginous Citadel of Faith is best summed up by an old local saying: 'Houses on the river, churches on the houses, rocks on the churches, castle on the rock'.
The sacred city of Rocamadour boasts 4 beautiful arched stone gates: Porte Basse, Porte du Figuier, Porte Salmon and Porte Hugon.
The town below the monastic buildings lies on the lowest slopes. Trimmed with beautiful gold stone houses and lauzé roofs, the main street is entirely car-free and houses a number of charming restaurants and quirky boutiques.
Le Tour Regional specialties:Quercy lamb, duck, truffle, Rocamadour (goat cheese), walnut oil, Rocamadour (wine)

Christian Prudhomme saysPerforming well in a time trial at the end of the Tour always requires a certain kind of alchemy, deriving from a rider’s degree of freshness after three weeks of racing, the extent of their motivation given their possible finishing position in the overall classification and their intrinsic qualities in this solo discipline. Added to that, in 2022 there will be a final with two climbs on the way to the high point of Rocamadour.

The stage: The early leader on the day was not surprising.
Eventually it was time for green, a potential challenger to Ganna's time. And, wow. He would smash Ganna's time by 42 seconds.
At the first time check, fastest time of the day by Pogacar. Yellow does give you wings, because he was 7 seconds faster.
An update from LeTour: Wout van Aert has been unanimously designated the super combative of the 2022 Tour de France.
Some would threaten, but he would hang on for the stage win.


The wineFabien Jouves A Table!!! Rose 2021 from Copake Wine Works
Christy says: Cahor is about as close as I can get. How about a nice rose from Malbec??
From the importer: Fabien Jouves is from an old farming family in Causse and became a winemaker in 2006 when he created his first cuvée, “Mas del Périé”, on the highest slopes of Cahors.

Jouves’ estate, 21 hectares in the junction of Quercy and Cahors, was selected to highlight the many expression of Côt. Reinforcing this is Fabien’s commitment to biodynamic viticulture that respects “life, plant, man, and the environment.” Following biodynamic agriculture adds strength to his terroir by supporting the whole environment from the vines to the animals.

The vinification is completely natural without any oenological inputs. His wines are then aged in concrete vats, barrels, or casks, according to its characteristics and personality.

The food: The local tourist site has a summery recipe for us. 
Rocamadour summer fritot:


4 Rocamadour cheeses
1 aubergine
2 tomatoes
Olive oil
fresh herbs

Cut the aubergine and tomatoes into 8 mm thick slices.
Salt them and leave 5 mins to remove excess water.
Rinse and dry on kitchen paper.
Fry the vegetable slices in a little olive oil over a high heat.
Assemble the ingredients in an oven dish: a well-browned slice of aubergine, a slice of tomato, a Rocamadour, a slice of tomato and one of aubergine.
Bake for 8 mins at 200°.

Decorate with the herbs and serve with a little salad.

Friday, July 22, 2022

Wine and Food of the Tour de France 2022 Stage: 19: Castelau Magnoac to Cahors

Where are we? Out of the mountains and into the Lot.

Castelau Magnoac: A first time stage city!  The name Castelnau-Magnoac is a remnant of the castle built in the 13th century by the Viscount of Labarthe, but now destroyed. The originality of Magnoac lies in its history: it formed a political unit with three other lands: the Four Valleys grouping Magnoac, Neste, Barousse, and Aure. In the 13th century, the Four Valleys passed to the Counts of Armagnac. It was only under Henry IV that the they were definitively attached to the crown of France. At the time of the revolution, the Four Valleys were united with Bigorre to form the department of Hautes-Pyrénées.

Le Tour specialtiesblack pork from Bigorre, black Gascon chicken from Astarac-Bigorre, duck breast in a casserole, pigeon salmis, alicuit or alycot (poultry offal stew), massacanat (omelette enriched with onion rings and pieces of veal), millasson and spit-roast cake (pastry)

Cahors: From Le Tour: Cahors is of course a wine. Cahors is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its AOC. It was in 1971 that Cahors obtained its appellation but, due to Covid, the festivities were postponed to this year.
The history of Cahors goes back well before 1971. As early as the 12th century, Cahors wines were exported to Northern Europe via the port of Bordeaux. In the 16th century, Francis I introduced Cahors wine at Renaissance banquets and in the 18th century, Czar Peter the Great consumed it extensively and the Russian Orthodox Church declared it a liturgical wine. A victim of phylloxera at the end of the 19th century, the vineyard took several decades to recover before obtaining the Holy Grail of the AOC in 1971. Since then, the policy of quality production has borne fruit and today, Cahors is distinguished by an emblematic grape variety, Malbec, and its great diversity of terroirs.
The vineyard is located on two main types of terroir: the limestone Causses and the Lot valley. Such a wealth of terroirs is not found in all vineyards and undeniably contributes to the uniqueness of the Cahors appellation. Thus, with the same Malbec grape variety, we obtain different wine profiles depending on the terroir of origin of the vines.

Le Tour specialtiesduck in all its forms, Quercy lamb, black truffle, Rocamadour (cheese), Quercy melon, walnuts, saffron, Cahors wines.

Christian Prudhomme saysCuriously, after passing through the departments of Gers and Tarn-et-Garonne, the Tour’s sojourn in the Lot offers a nod back to the race’s opening days: the castle of Cayx, located close to Cahors, belongs to the Danish royal family. Among their subjects riding in the peloton, there should be no lack of sprinters who are capable of shining in Cahors.

The stage: For the breakaway or the sprinters? Time would tell, but the early break was not given a large gap. Another protest on the road, much shorter than the last.
I also learned a new term. He would not succeed. With 100 kilometers to go, the break of Honoré, Simmons, Van der Hoorn and Mohoric had 1 minute. 
Some excellent field art on the road.
The break continued to stay away, but with a small gap.
Setting off alone at the front, Simmons. Behind, the peloton had split in two.
Plus, a puncture for Pogacar. The race would come back together, but a little but of excitement was nice. Pogacar attack! He made no progress, but still nice to see. 
Thirty two kilometers to go and there was a new break group of Fred Wright (Bahrain), Alexis Gougeard (B&B) and Jasper Stuyven (Trek). Fifteen kilometers to go and they were holding onto 30 seconds. Wow. Just when it looked like it was setting up to be a sprint, Laporte attacked and took the win! A French stage win at last.


The wineClos Siguier, Cahors 2018 from Copake Wine Works
Christy says: a fresh, juicy style of malbec. I once called this a gamay in a blind tasting, so you get an idea of how fresh it is!
From the importer: Gilles Bley knows the history of Cahors and can trace his winegrowing roots in the AOC back many generations. His intimate understanding of the Malbec (Côt) and Tannat vines on his 15-hectare estate led to a desire to create wine that highlights this storied region’s unheard potential for delicacy. Cahors is divided into two distinct terroirs — this appellation is traditionally known for its heavy and brooding black wines that take years to reveal any fruit. These dark tannic wines come from the heavy soil down by the Lot River. Gilles Bley’s vines, by contrast, are on the lesser-known, better-drained terroir, up on the flat terraces above. His wines express the lighter and brighter side of Cahors. He produces wines that are surprisingly bright and fruit-driven with depth of red and black fruit, subtle terroir and silken tannins. Clos Siguier produces wines that are at once readily accessible, but also age-worthy. Drink now or put down for a few years. All grapes are handpicked.

The foodMillasson, recipe from Saveur 
Yield: serves 8


  • Unsalted butter, for greasing
  • 14 cups flour, plus more for pan
  • 23 cup sugar
  • 14 tsp. kosher salt
  • 4 cups milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs
  1. Heat oven to 425°. Butter and flour a 10″ pie plate; set aside. Whisk flour, sugar, and salt in a bowl. Whisk milk, vanilla, and eggs in another bowl until combined. Slowly whisk dry ingredients into wet ingredients to make a smooth batter. Pour batter into prepared pie plate; bake until browned in places, puffed in the center, and set around the edges, about 1 hour and 45 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature. Chill 30 minutes before slicing.