We have a confession to make. We have followed cyclist and presenter Matt Stephens (@MattStephens) on Twitter for quite a while and have seen him cheering Vincenzo Nibali and calling him “Nibbles,” a bad habit we’ve picked up. So yesterday, of course, when Nibali made his move and dashed past the other cyclists to take the stage win and the yellow jersey, the room was filled with shouts of “Go, Nibbles!” “Nibbles for the win!” and chants of “Nibbles, Nibbles, Nibbles.” The neighbours must have thought we’d gone mad.
The BBC is reporting that 2.5 million people lined the route to see the Tour on the roads of Yorkshire, and it certainly looked like there could have been that many, judging by the live television coverage and photos appearing afterwards. Some of the best shots (and probably some of the most difficult cycling) were of cyclists pushing up narrow, winding, cobbled streets, such as this one in Keighley.
We’re wondering how Stage 3 can possibly compete with what we saw in Le Tour Yorkshire, but have our fingers crossed that it can be just as exciting.
Stage 3 starts in Cambridge and travels through Hertfordshire and Essex before arriving in London on the Mall just about in time for afternoon tea. Perhaps someone in Buckingham Palace will pop the kettle on for the winner.
If not, we’d like to suggest a celebratory English sparkling wine for the winner. English sparkling for the Tour de France? When the cyclists are soon to spend two days cycling through Champagne? Absolutely. There’s a very good reason some English growers can make sparkling wine to compete with the best Champagne: the geological formation is the same, meaning the soil is very similar. So is England’s climate these days. All it really lacks is a catchy name. There’s a good article on the BBC website that goes into much more detail on the history and current rising status of sparkling wine in England.
We’re recommending one of Ridgeview’s sparkling wines, most of which are (appropriately enough for today’s Tour arrival in London) named for places in London. Ridgeview is located in Sussex in the South Downs and it specialises in growing the traditional Champagne varieties, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier.
One that we have tried and particularly like is Ridgeview Fitzrovia Rosé. According to the producer’s website, it is unusual for rosé as it is Chardonnay dominant, with a portion of red wine made from ripe Pinots added to it. As for taste, it has a “gorgeous salmon colour with an abundance of bubbles and a beautifully creamy mousse. Chardonnay dominance brings freshness and finesse, whilst the Pinots simply hint at the classic red fruits for which England is so acclaimed. A raspberry and red currant nose with hints of strawberries and cream carry through to a delightfully fruit driven palate. The finish is lively and long.”
We tasted Ridgeview Fitzrovia Rosé 2010 during English Wine Week, and it’s a real favourite of ours. Crisp, salmony-pink, and fresh without being brightly acidic, the Fitzrovia Rosé is delicious on its own, but Daniel heartily recommends trying it with a few strawberries or smoked salmon to really enhance the flavours of both. Great for romantic picnics too.
Ridgeview’s wines are widely available, even outside of England. If you want to pick up a bottle to celebrate the Tour’s arrival in London this afternoon, you might just have time. Check the full list of stockists on Ridgeview’s website to find the closest.