Sunday, July 24, 2016

Wine & Food of the Tour de France 2016 Stage 21: Lelarge Pugeot & Chantilly Cream

Where are we? Headed to Paris of course. Riding 113 kilometers from  Chantilly to Paris Champs-Élysées

Chantilly is a first time stage town in the canton of the Oise. From Michelin: The name Chantilly conjures up a chateau , a forest, a racecourse and the horsing world. The Montmorency family, the Condé family and finally the duke of Aumale have made this town proud with the chateau they have maintained in succession over the years, and in the Duke's case for the collections which he has also amassed and bequeathed to the French Insatiate. Chantilly draws in the crowds, with its magnificent chateau, reputed park and forest, which are perfect for walks.

Specialties from LeTour:  Chantilly cream, lace, porcelain 

Paris: We finish again this year on the Champs-Élysées for the 42nd time. 

From LeTour:  Christian Prudhomme's comment
From the Château de Chantilly to the Arc de Triomphe, the last act will be quite prestigious!The start of the final stage wasn't given from the north of Paris since 1984. At the time, it was in Pantin. It'll therefore invite the riders to discover new areas of the capital. Will that however trouble the plans of the sprinters on the Champs-Élysées? That remains to be seen…

The stage: Sky opted to start with beer:

There would also be Champagne:

Essentially, this is a ceremonial stage with a sprint at the end. With Cavendish home training for the Olympics, I'd kind of like a Griepel win. A puncture from Kittel may have hurt his chances, although he made it back to the bunch with several laps still to go. 
I laughed:

Abandonment of Tony Martin with a knee injury, bike issues for Dan Martin and Kittel: not a good day for Eitxx Quick Step so far.

Lutsenko and Van Avermaet to the front. Why not? 
Nice bell:

Coquard mechanical. Awful timing for him. 
And Greipel! Well done. 



The wine: Lelarge Pugeot Les Meuniers de Clemence
From Franklywines:  100% pinot meunier, natural ferment base, organically grown, this was a hit of the Feiring Line Wine Society last holiday.

The winery site tells me that: Settled in the Champagne Region since the 18th Century, the LELARGE Family acquired its first vineyards, thanks to Pierre Henri Lelarge, married to Madeleine Dravigny, from a family of winegrowers in Vrigny.
As of 1987, Dominique Lelarge took over the family-estate alongside his wife, Dominique Pugeot, the winery then became: CHAMPAGNE LELARGE-PUGEOT. 

100% Pinot Meunier from the harvest 2010 only. 2010 was the first organically certified harvest. This blend emanates from the selections of these blocks: Les Pierres, Les Fourgons, Le Jour, Sous la ville.
Flavor: First aroma; brioche, then it opens up on yellow fruits and plums with very subtle hints of orange peel. In the palate, crispy yellow fruits. Liveliness and mineral finish. 

The Food: Chantilly cream, of course. Not just a Tour specialty, but perfect for topping the leftover Gateau de Savoie. 
Whip cream, add sugar to taste and celebrate another completed Tour.  

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Wine & Food of the Tour de France 2016 Stage 20: Domaine Lucas and Tomme de Savoie

Where are we? Riding 146.5 kilometers from Megève to Morzine-Avoriaz
Morzine is a twenty time stage town and a mountain resort in Haute-Savoie. Michelin tells me that: Situated at 980 m altitude, the resort of Morzine is the tourist capital of the upper Chablais. Its ski area will please all ski lovers, from beginners to experienced sportsmen. There are easy pistes (Choucas), difficult pistes (Creux and Aigle) and long-distance ranges. 

Specialties from LeTour: Berthoud (fondue using Abondance cheese), fondue, raclette, tartiflette, diots (sausages), merveilles (fritters), rissoles (turnover filled with stewed pears or apples). 

From LeTour: Christian Prudhomme's comment
The Grand Final for the climbers and maybe for the Yellow Jersey will once again be played in the Alps on a short and intense stage for which one will have to keep energy… and cold blood.Indeed after the climbs to the Col de la Ramaz, and then Joux Plane, the Tour could well be decided on a long 12-kilometre downhill portion. A first!

The stage

Another fully live stage, so in between commercials we get to see the break develop. It appeared that the first attempt to establish a group did not please the peloton and they chased, essentially dividing the peloton into two large groups. 37 riders in the lead with 130 kilometers to go.
De Gendt would set off alone, but would be caught by riders from the very large group out front. At the sprint point it would be Matthews followed by Sagan and De Gendt.
The riders up the road are: Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal), Sergio Henao (Sky), Ion Izagirre and Nelson Oliveira (Movistar), Vincenzo Nibali and Jakob Fuglsang (Astana), Peter Sagan and Roman Kreuziger (Tinkoff), Ben Gastauer, Cyril Gautier and Alexis Gougeard (AG2R-La Mondiale), Wilco Kelderman and George Bennett (Lotto-Jumbo), Frank Schleck and Jasper Stuyven (Trek), Jarlinson Pantano (IAM), Pierre Rolland, Tom-Jelte Slagter and Dylan van Baarle (Cannondale), Patrick Konrad (Bora), Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha), Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida), Tony Gallopin (Lotto-Soudal), Sylvain Chavanel and Fabrice Jeandesbosz (Direct Energie), Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx), Nicolas Edet (Cofidis), Warren Barguil (Giant Alpecin), Chris Juul-Jensen and Michael Matthews (Orica).

Lots of fans along the roadside today.

 With 89 kilometers to go, the gap was 5:24. Virtually, Kreuziger had pushed Quintana off the podium. The break would split with Izagirre, Nibali, Sagan and Kreuziger, Rui Costa, Pantano, Alaphilippe and Gougeard at the front. 

At the front, Gougeard went off solo as Mollema dropped off the yellow jersey group. Sixty kilometers to go and the gap was under five minutes. Mulitple attacks at the front with De Gendt, Rolland and Costa all making attempts to get away.   

Wet descent and De Gendt was caught and passed by Pantano, with others not far behind. 35 kilometers to go and Alaphilippe, Pantano were ahead, followed by Nibali, Henao, Rui Costa, De Gendt, Kreuziger, Keldermann, and Izaguirre. 
Further behind, Mollema had made it back to the yellow jersey group.
Pantano and Alaphilippe had a gap of 1:30 over the chasers as they started the Joux Plane. 
Behind, Aru was dropped from the group as Mollema attacked.Ahead, Nibali attacked the chase group. Time for the Jaws theme? Alaphilippe would surge ahead of Pantano, but failed to get a large gap. Nibali would catch them. He would attack and get a small gap. Izagirre would catch Alaphilippe and Pantano, dropping Alaphilippe. The duo would catch Nibali.

Lots of talk on Twitter of Nibali not taking risks on the descent due to the upcoming Olympic road race. Indeed Izagirre would take the lead and would stay away to take the stage win.




Wine: Domaine Lucas Quintessence Chasselas

From Selection Massale:  Dominique Lucas has chosen what many would seem a Quixotic pursuit, to make Chasselas in that Savoie that stands with the best white wines of France.  Despite the grapes low reputation Dominique has been planting the grape (along with a little bit of Savagnin) on serious terroirs overlooking Lake Geneva and farming them biodynamically since day one.  So far the results are eye-opening and deserving of a serious look in the same way that Dominique Belluard has managed to make Gringet fought over by his buyers.  He also makes a small amount of Burgundy from his family’s old estate near Pommard.  We expect great things from him in the future as his vineyards come into maturity.

Food: Tomme de Savoie tells me that:
Tomme de Savoie is often made with skim milk after the cream has been used to make butter. This is why Tommes are traditionally low in fat content (20-40 %). There are many varieties of Tommes, and they are often named after the village where they are produced. Tommes made in winter are from the milk of cows that are fed hay, very different from the Tommes made with the summer milk from cows that gaze in the high mountain pastures. The maturing process often takes several months, which gives the cheese a thick rind with a rustic appearance. It is grey in colour with patches of yellow or red moulding. The taste is soft and fruity, and occasionally one can detect a subtle flavour of grass. The pâte is pale yellow, nearly white and has small holes. It sticks to the palate and has odours of cave.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Wine & Food of the Tour de France 2016 Stage 19 Belluard Mont Blanc and Beaufort

Where are we? Riding 146 kilometers from Albertville to Saint-Gervais Mont Blanc

Albertville is a third time stage town in the Savoie and the host city of the 1992 Winter Olympics. The local tourist site tells me that: Since its foundation, Albertville situated at the crossing point of four alpine valleys the Combe de Savoy, the Tarentaise, the Val d’Arly and the Beaufortain; has always been a place of cultural exchange and meetings.
Since its creation in 1836 by King Charles-Albert, who united the city of Conflans and the borough of l’Hopital, Albertville developed through commercial exchange between France, Italy and Switzerland. It harnessed the water course and installed thriving industries (paper mills, tanneries, hydroelectricity…) and became the administrative centre for the entire district. In the second half of the 20th Century as winter sports took off and agricultural thrived, Albertville consolidated its position as a properous alpine town.

Specialties from LeTour: Cheese (Beaufort and Tome des Bauges), Savoy wines. 

Saint-Gervais Mont Blanc is a third time stage town, a spa and mountain resort in Haute-Savoie. The local tourist site tells me that: Natural spring waters have irrigated the spa for more than 200 years. The hydrotherapeutic properties of the water here class Saint-Gervais as the only alpine spa resort in the Alps, one of 10 other spa towns in France.
The 19th Century spa architecture gives the town an antique-chic atmosphere, quite original in a ski resort!Saint-Gervais lies at the heart of the Evasion Mont- Blanc ski area offering 445 kilometres of slopes towards Megève, Combloux, Les Contamines Hauteluce and La Gietaz.
The resort also benefits from 55 kms of slopes on the opposite side of town in Le Prarion and Les Houches, accessible by the Mont-Blanc Tramway, one of the oldest rack and pinion railways in the country.

Specialties from LeTour:  Farcement (potato and bacon pie) with prunes and raisins,cheeses (goat's, Tomme de Savoie, Abondance) 

From LeTour Christian Prudhomme's comment:
An amazing scenery: the Mont Blanc will be ever present all along the day.It'll also be the opportunity to discover two mountain passes of La Forclaz which will make it a total of three with the swiss Forclaz.Will then follow, the brand new climb up the Mont Bisanne which will hurt the legs of many before the final climb to Le Bettex through the tough paths up the Côte des Amerands.

The stage: The stage profile for today is intimidating, but at least the scenery will be nice.

The twenty man early break consisted of Alexey Lutsenko (Astana), Robert Kiserlovski and Rafal Majka (Tinkoff), Alexis Vuillermoz (AG2R-La Mondiale), George Bennett (LottoNL-Jumbo), Pierre Rolland (Cannondale-Drapac), Markus Burghardt and Amaël Moinard (BMC), Natnael Berhane (Dimension Data), Laurens ten Dam (Giant-Alpecin), Emmanuel Buchman (Bora-Argon 18), Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida), Thomas De Gendt and Tony Gallopin (Lotto-Soudal), Tony Martin (Etixx-Quick Step), Daniel Navarro (Cofidis), Michael Matthews (Orica-BikeExchange), Eduardo Sepulveda and Vegard Breen (Fortuneo-Vital Concept).
The Astana led peloton did not let them get a large gap. With 100 kilometers to go, the gap was around 3 minutes. Abandon Tom Dumoulin after a crash and wrist injury.

Snow! Man-made, but still. Also, rain ahead.

Ahead, an ugly crash for Rolland as the start of the rain made the new road surface slick. He would eventually remount. Back up ahead, Rui Costa is in the lead, descending with speed. 
Another crash, this one involving FDJ riders and slowing Richie Porte. With the help from teammates, he would rejoin the yellow jersey group.

More crashes. The wet roads are wreaking havoc. Froome down and taking a bike from a teammate. Nibali fell and slid into him. Many riders spread out over the road. 
10 kilometers to go and Costa had 45 seconds over Bardet and 1:41 over the yellow jersey group. Mollema is even further behind that group, so there may be podium changes.
At the front, Bardet would catch Costa. Six kilometers to go and their gap was under 45 seconds. He would drop Costa. Behind, an attack by Dan Martin. Yates looked to be in trouble. 

Stage win for France! Rodriguez, Valverde, Meintjes, Quintana next at 25 seconds.




Wine: Domaine Belluard Mont Blanc
I had not planned on this wine, but all the images of Mont Blanc convinced me and I'm both glad that I opened the bottle and that I have more to drink later. 

From Selection Massale: Ayze is only about 30 miles from Mont Blanc, but the Belluard vineyards are planted relatively lower to allow ripening.  Dom has vineyards planted from 300 to 450 meters above sea level.  Make no mistake, these are mountain wines.  But they are not planted next to ski slopes.  All are farmed biodynamically and were planted by selection massale.  The vine ages vary from ten to sixty yearls old.  Domaine Belluard has about half of the Gringet planted in the world.
Mont Blanc is a vintage méthode Champenoise that spends years on the lees, made from grapes grown at 450-meters in iron heavy soils. 

Food: Beaufort Cheese tells me that:
Beaufort has been celebrated since the Roman era. It takes about 500 litres (130 gallons) of milk to make a 40-45 kg  wheel of Beaufort. The cheese is made from the milk given by the mahogany-coloured Beaufort cows, called the Tarines or Tarentaises. This ancient mountain breed originally came from the Indo-Asian continent. Beaufort cheeses come in three versions, Beaufort, Beaufort d'été (summer Beaufort),and Beaufort d'Alpage which is made in the mountain chalets and is the most tasty. Ripening takes at least four months in humid (92%) cellars with the temperature below 15° . The cheeses are constantly wiped and rubbed with brine. Young cheeses have a mild fruity, sweet taste then the taste become stronger and complex. The pate of the winter cheese is white, whereas the summer cheeses are a pale yellow, due to the cows munching on the alpine flowers.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Wine & Food of the Tour de France 2016: Stage 18 Belluard Gringet & Gâteau de Savoie

Where are we? Time trialing 17 kilometers from Sallanches to Megève.

Sallanches is a third time stage town, in the canton of Haute-Savoie. Sallanches is situated on the Sallanche river near Mont Blanc, west of Chamonix-Mont-Blanc and north of Megeve.

Specialties from LeTour: Farcement (grated potatoes, bacon and prunes), sallanchard (white chocolate and raspberry cake), rissoles (apple turnover), bugnes and merveilles (fritters), Glaçons du Mont Blanc (chocolate)

Megève is a ski resort in the Haute-Savoie. Michelin says: Taking its name from meg (middle) and eva (water), Megève, situated near to the Arve, is a charming resort. During the holiday period, it attracts a fashionable clientele. With the quality of the ski area that covers 1,000 ha with 300 km of pistes and its luxury hotesl, Megève can be proud of the fact that it has preserved a soul and a reputation that can be appreciated during a sled ride.

Specialties from LeTour:  Savoy cheeses (Reblochon, Beaufort, raclette, tomme de Savoie), artisan cured meats, Glaçons et flocons de Megève (chocolate) 

From LeTour: Christian Prudhomme's comment
The format isn't that frequent on the Tour but it fits in perfectly to the four-day Alpine sequence of the race.Before reaching Megève, the best climbers among the ‘rouleurs' or the best ‘rouleurs' among the climbers will find a terrain to express themselves on the tough Côte de Domancy and then in the Côte des Chozeaux.

The stage: Nice setting for a time trial:

The early leaders:

Those times would not hold up. Eventually, Dumoulin would come in with a 31:04. 

Commentator comment: I do think that Phil and Paul say "Richie Froome" more often than they say Richie Porte. That, of course, meant that the GC riders were on course. And we would see gaps and changes in that GC.



Wine: Belluard Gringet
From the importer, Selection Massale: Ayze is only about 30 miles from Mont Blanc, but the Belluard vineyards are planted relatively lower to allow ripening.  Dom has vineyards planted from 300 to 450 meters above sea level.  Make no mistake, these are mountain wines.  But they are not planted next to ski slopes.  All are farmed biodynamically and were planted by selection massale.  The vine ages vary from ten to sixty yearls old.  Domaine Belluard has about half of the Gringet planted in the world.

Le Feu, is Dom’s single-vineyard Gringet.  Dom named the vineyard Le Feu (the fire) because of its reddish soils, comprised of clay with a lot of iron.  The vineyard sits at 450 meters.  Le Feu shows the heights of Gringet and Dom’s work as a vigneron.
Producer's notes.  

Food: Gateau de Savoie
The local website says: A true gâteau de Savoie is a very light sponge cake cooked in a fluted mould that has been lined with butter and sprinkled with flour and sugar in order to give the finished cake a thin and crispy crust.
It can be filled with jam or covered with cream.

We used the Dorie Greenspan recipe from Baking Chez Moi.