Monday, July 19, 2010

Stages 15-17, July 19-22: The Pyranees

The mountain stages of the Pyrenees are one of the places where the Tour can certainly be won or lost, and this year the should offer some of the most exciting days of the entire race. This year the riders climb the Hors Category Col du Tourmalet twice, with a brutal finish there on stage 17 after a rest day. They will also climb the HC Col D'Aubisque and several category one climbs along the way. Not as high as the Alps, the mountains are older and more rugged, with fewer passes that tend to be higher than those in the alps, and some of the climbs are steeper as a result. The mountains stretch over 260 miles from the Mediteranean west to the Atlantic, and include the Spanish Provinces of Girona, Barcelona, Lleida, Huesca, Navarra, and Guipúzcoa and the French Départements of Pyrénées-Orientales, Aude, Ariège, Haute-Garonne, Hautes-Pyrénées, and Pyrénées-Atlantiques. It is a rugged, beautiful region and the wines tend to reflect this character. 
The wine regions include Irouléguy, Jurançon, Madiran, Pacherenc de Vic Bihl Sec. Grape varieties include Petit Manseng, Curbu, Tannat, Bouchy (Cabernet Franc), Cabernet Sauvignon, Fer, Arrufiac, Gros Manseng, and Sauvignon Blanc. Todays vin du Route is a Madiran from the hear of the Pyrenees - enjoy!

2005 Chateau Laffitte-Teston "Reflets du Terroir" Madiran - $18.50 - French country wine at its finest, this is a rugged blend of 70% Tannat, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Cabernet Franc from vines ranging from 12-50 years of age. Totally de-stemmed, fermented 18-22 days. It is full of fragrant aromatics and solidly structured fruit. Leather and mixed berries with notes of dark fruits, smoke and spices are all set upon a solid frame work of tannins. Classic bistro wine for classic bistro fare, enjoy this now and over the next four years. Steak and frites! To order visit us at 56 Degree Wine!

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