Wednesday, July 20, 2011

To Italy and the Alps

Today the Tour begins its alpine swing traveling from Gap in the Hautes Alpes to Pinerolo on the Italian side with a few category 2 & 3 climbs and a category 1 over the Sestrieres at 2035 meters. Over the next several days the Tour will be decided in the Alps, with Alberto Contador flexing some muscle and giving the Schleck brothers, Claudel Evans and the other GC contenders something to worry about before a time trial in Grenoble and the final day in Paris on the Champs Elysee on Sunday.

The route runs a little south of the Alpine growing areas of the Savoie and Jura, but close enough to include a perfect tour sipper Cerdon de Bougey. Located in the foothills of the Alps about halfway between Lyon and Geneva, the vineyards are a patchwork of parcels facing southeast or southwest, interspersed with fields, pastures, grazing cattle and patches of forest. The wines of Bugey were produced as VDQS since 1958 and received full Appellation status in 2009.

Father and son team Alain and Elie Renardat-Fachet employ a technique called "ancestral method" for this incredible pink sparkler. Harvest is by hand, then the grapes are pressed and fermented in cold vats until the alcohol reaches about 6 degrees. The wine is lightly filtered with most of the active yeast left in the unfinished wine, it is then bottled and ferments in the bottle to about 7.5 or 8 degrees of alcohol, and a good amount of its original sugar. Fresh, fruity and sparkling, loaded with raspberry and strawberry notes, it is sweet but not cloying so. Perfect aperitif or after dinner, its natural low alcohol means you can have another glass on a warm summer day!

Cerdon de Bugey, Renardat-Fache - Click to purchase at 56 Degree Wine

Region: Bugey, France
Grapes: Gamay, Poulsard
Drink: Now and within first year of release
Cuisine: Apertif or Desserts with berries or chocolate

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