What a fantastic start to the Tour de France! Blue skies, sunshine, enthusiastic crowds, the delight of seeing French names for very English places flash across the screen (Côte de Buttertubs, anyone?) — even the sheep were painted yellow to celebrate the arrival of the Tour de France in Yorkshire.
Black Sheep Brewery in Masham created a Velo Pale Ale for the occasion and threw #LeGrandParty, which was very popular, judging by their Twitter feed (@BlackSheepBeer). Masham was also home to this cycling sheep display. As you can tell, sheep were very much a theme.
But for the crash at the finish that may have taken local favourite Mark Cavendish out of the race, it was a perfect day for British cycling fans. Congratulations to winner Marcel Kittel, and also to Sky’s Chris Froome, who surprised everyone by coming in sixth on a sprinter’s stage.
THE headquarters for Stage 2 of Tour de France, which this year takes cyclists from York to Sheffield, seems to be Holmfirth Vineyard. The vineyard is located in the West Yorkshire town of Holmfirth, which is within the metropolitan borough of Kirklees and near Huddersfield, and if it looks a bit familiar as you watch the television coverage, it was actually the setting for the long-running television series, “The Last of the Summer Wine.” We hope they haven’t painted Nora Batty yellow.
If you are close enough to Holmfirth Vineyard to get there today, we’d recommend seizing the opportunity because they are hosting an England vs. France wine tasting with Oz Clarke and a Wine and Beer Sports and Family Day, combining bouncy castles for the kids and English beer and wine for the adults. We really loved these glasses they created for the occasion.
Holmfirth also created a special wine to commemorate the Tour passing through Holmfirth. It’s called Holmfirth Solaris, and it’s a dry white wine, and we can’t really tell you more than what you see on the bottle, but we do know that the vineyard won an award from the Mercian Vineyard Association for its 2009 Hillside Seyval/Phoenix white wine, 2009 Holmeview Seyval/Rondo rosé, and 2010 Holme View Rondo.
Holmfirth also sells its Holmfirth Seyval Dry White Wine 2012 and Holmfirth Rondo “Rosé for Men”2012 via the Holmfirth Vineyard website. The rondo is particularly interesting, as the rondo grape has red juice and produces a dark red colour although the wine has had no skin contact. That also means no tannins, and the result is a deeply coloured, medium-dry, very fruity rosé with complex cherry notes and aromas.
And, of course, all the cycling action will be on big screens so vineyard guests don’t have to miss a moment as the peloton winds its way through Yorkshire to today’s finish in Sheffield.