A Ride Through Champagne
I love this time of year. The sun is out, flowers are in bloom, the new vintage of rosé is here for all to enjoy -- and the Tour de France rolls out on what also happens to be the birthday of our Country and my only son. Pro Cycling is a pretty cool sport if you're a wine enthusiast. Its three "Grand Tours" run through some of the world's greatest wine regions every year -- the Giro d'Italia (Italy), Vuelta a España (Spain) and the Tour de France. Whether you ride or not, Le Tour is thrilling to watch. The race itself is perhaps the most demanding athletic competition in the world, and the scenery is breathtaking. There are few things more visually stunning than seeing a Peloton of color gliding through miles of vineyard roads. It is inspiring in every respect, and it always makes me want to drink wine.
The 2010 Tour will be no exception, with stages through some of France's greatest wine regions. Stages 4 and 5 roll through the very heart of Champagne, with stops in Reims and Épernay, the commercial centers of the world's greatest sparkling wine region, and home to classic Champagne houses such as Taittinger and Perrier-Jouet. Stages 18 and 19 ride straight through Bordeaux's left bank, including St.-Julien and a stage-end in Pauillac, the mythical home of Château Mouton Rothschild and other giants of the wine world. Because of this great 2,200 mile, three week race, July is a perfect time to feature some of our favorite French wines!
Throughout this year's Tour, we will be featuring some of our favorite wines from the various Stage regions. To help maximize your Tour enjoyment this week, we are excited to feature one of our favorite Grower Champagne values: Pierre Gimonnet Champagne Selection Belles Annees. Gimonnet is considered a benchmark for quality in Champagne, and this entry selection doesn't disappoint. This is 100% Chardonnay with nearly 75% from Grand Cru villages. The chalky soils in the Côte des Blancs create wines of incredible focus and minerality. Intensely floral and spicy on the nose, which displays tangerine and pear scents. Orchard fruits and lemon on the palate, with floral honey, and a sappy finish. If you haven't discovered Grower Champagne, this is a perfect place to start! And it's even better while watching some of the world's greatest athletes ride through the fabled countryside where it is made. Stage 5 through Champagne will air on Versus in the on July 8, the same day we will have this bottle open to taste!
I'm a friend of Krista's, and she introduced me to your wine shop (thx for the St. Innocent Shea :-) as well as your website. My husband and I are avid watchers of the TdF so I loved reading your blog post. What would you recommend we drink for the mountain stages?