14 July 2011

The Tour moves into the Pyrenees

We hope everyone is enjoying the sights and tastes of the Tour de France as much as we are.

Today Bastille Day 2011, the Tour moves into the Pyrenees. We have reproduced here some information from our Taste of the Tour packs. It's not too late if you want to join the chasing peleton!

Stock up on some nice fillet steak and some french cheese and with our 6 pack you have an instant Tour de France experience for the weekend!

Thursday 14th July Stage 12   
Cugnaux  Luz-Ardiden 211 km – first major climb.
“The race’s first major climb, the Hourquette d’Ancizan, an off-shoot of the Aspin, makes its first appearance on the Tour. The riders then head onto the Tourmalet. They descend off that and finish with the climb to Luz-Ardiden….”*
This stage commences in the flat valley of the upper Garonne, crossing the pilgrim’s routes that go through Madiran. Madiran is an ancient wine growing region first planted by the Romans. The wine developed an excellent reputation and was carried by pilgrims and said to be the origin of “alter wine”. Using these ancient soils and know how, the winemakers in the region have embraced organic methods in the vineyards, and new technology in the winery, to produce wines with a growing reputation in France and across the world.

Wine 3: Domaine du Crampilh - Madiran Vignes Vielles 2006
Made from 70% Tannat and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, the wine has a beautiful deep purple colour. It has an intense and savoury nose with black fruits, vanilla and leather. A concentrated palate with rich black fruit and peppery spices balanced with great structure, fine chalky tannins and acid. Intense, powerful but great length and balance.

Perfect with a fillet steak or a beef casserole. See our erlier blog for a vey simple and delicious beef stew. Enjoy your wine in preparation for the ascent of the Aubisque.

Wine 4: Domaine du Crampilh - Pacherenc Moelleux Cuvée Céleste 2007
The white wines of Madiran are called Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh. Cuvée Celeste from Domaine du Crampilh is a late harvest wine made from Petit Manseng.  The Cuvée Céleste is luscious and complex wine with a honeyed and harmonious finish.
Perfect with a late night dessert - the perfect accompaniment on the late night stages.

Friday 15th July Stage 13
Pau  Lourdes 152.5 km - high mountains.
“This is a stage that will suit the breakaway specialists, the baroudeurs, who can take some big climbs in their stride, because the Aubisque features about halfway through.” *

The tour passes through the stunning wine region of Jurançon, one of the most beautiful in France. Rolling green hills, relatively unpopulated and stunning views to the nearby snow-capped Pyrenees. The ripening period in autumn is long and cool, lending itself to producing late picked white wines. Australians often think of sweet wines as dessert wines but the Jurançon wines are perfect as an aperitif.  Light in texture, and finely balanced with acid they are perfect with foie gras/pâtés or cheeses. 

Wine 5: Château Jolys Jurançon Sec, 2009

This dry wine is made using 50% Gros Manseng grapes blended with 50% of Petit Manseng.  A delightful, complex, fruity but dry, and great value for money wine. Could this be the next big thing after New Zealand sauvignon Blanc? Discover for yourself!

It would be a perfect match with seafood and shellfish, but also goes down a treat with pre-dinner nibbles and dips as you re-live the cols. What a way to start the weekend!

Wine 6:Domaine Bellegarde Cuvée Tradition, 2008
The pale gold Domaine Bellegarde Cuvée Tradition 2008, has delicious fruit flavours and balance.
It can be consumed on its own, but the French often drink it as an aperitif with pâté or terrines.  Of course it’s a perfect match for a fruit dessert.
This bottle would be perfect to open as you watch the 6pm highlights on SBS, with some friends and the chicken terrine or pâté and cheeses that you picked up on the way home.

*Transcribed from the Le Tour de France official website.

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