Yesterday’s stage of the Tour de France featured all the incredible highs and devastating lows that make the race so exciting to watch. Frenchman Tony Gallopin won the stage, to the delight of local crowds, but the terrible effort an injured Andrew Talansky made to finish the stage at all was followed not by a triumphant return to form at the start of Stage 12, but with the news he has had to withdraw from the race. Peter Sagan’s frustration continues, and he thinks he’s partly a victim of his own success:
“I was in a good position, I wanted to do well, but nobody wants to work with me, because they know if I come into the finish with them, it’s hard to beat me in the sprint,” Sagan said. He’s going for his third green jersey in a row, but after winning three stages in his first Tour de France in 2012, he only won a single stage last year, and none so far in this edition. “I have to thank to my team, they did very good work pulling all day. I tried. Every day is harder because everybody knows me.” (http://www.cyclingnews.com/tour-de-france/stage-11/results)
Today’s stage takes the race from Bourg-en-Bresse to Saint-Étienne, and it’s the last chance for the sprinters to make their mark until Nîmes on stage 15, so expect Sagan and other strong sprinters to give their all to collect the points and the glory.
From the standpoint of wine, today’s stage is all about Beaujolais. We’re preparing a post on the wines of Beaujolais to appear soon, but in the meantime, here are three to try (and if you have any Comté cheese around, as we do after yesterday’s very cheesy TdF stage 11), try pairing it with one of these.
The Society’s Exhibition Fleurie 2013
Fleurie is one of the ten crus of Beaujolais, and each one is distinctive, despite the fact they are all in a relatively small area and all made of Gamay. Gamay produces deeply red wines and relatively soft tannins. Fleurie is one of the most widely exported of the Beajolais crus, and in an ideal vintage a Fleurie can age for up to sixteen years. This particular Fleurie is a classic example of the type, with a heady floral perfume, elegant fruit, a smooth, balanced structure. It also has a good length, with a delicious fruitiness in the middle before a slightly drier finish.
Château de Lacarelle Beaujolais-Villages 2013
Château de Lacarelle is one of the great estates of Beaujolais, with a 250-year history. It’s also large for the region at 150 hectares, with ten trusted families of tenants called métayage working the land. We detected the characteristic aroma of carbonic maceration, a bit like bubblegum, with flavours of red fruit and tannins that aren’t too grippy. It’s round and refreshing. 2013 is a good vintage, ready for drinking now or drinking to 2017.
Trenel Beaujolais 2013
Claude-Henri Trenel established a small family-run négociant business back in 1928 and over the decades the family developed relationships with some of the best growers in Beaujolais. They pick the best casks from top estates and blend them into wines that define the regions various crus and terroirs. Trenel is no longer family owned, although the family is still involved in certain aspects. New owner Gilles Memoun continues the Trenel family’s tradition of high-quality blends. This is a good example from the very good 2013 vintage: simple, sappy, refreshing, with brambly dark fruit. We also tasted a bit of earthy, peppery spice, which added a slightly savoury complexity. Drink from now to 2016.