Wines (and some other drinks) of Giro d’Italia 2017 – Stage 13: Reggio Emilia — Tortona

Today it is flat, almost as flat as a stage can be. In one of the preview videos from one of the cycling magazines, they said that this stage will be a challenge for the commentators. They will have to find something to say, during a stage where very little will happen.

The stage is short, “olny” 167 km (which is about the longest distance I have been cycling in one day). The speed may be high, is someone is willing to set speed. I do not know the Po plain very well. But it is protected by the Alps to the north and the Apeninnes in the south. I do not think wind will be very much of a challenge. But with a bunch of tired riders, some may loose constentration and something may happen. It will probably end with a bunch sprint, and the sprint teams will have to control the stage.

We start in Emilia, and end in Piedmont.Emilia is still not a very interesting wine region. But we can bring along some Parmeggiano-Reggiano cheese, if we should like to have som pasta, risotto or salad. And we can get som ham when we come to Parma.

We can make a detour about 10 km to the south when we come to Piacenza. Here we can find the producer “La Stoppa”, run by Elena Pantaleoni. They produce a wine I think of as an oddity: An orange wine: “Ageno”.

There are basically two processes to produce wine. The colour is in the grape’s skin, tannins are in the seeds. When producing red wine, the must is fermented with skin and seeds. When producing white wine, the sin and seeds are sifted from the must. A white wine can be produced from red grapes, as the champagne blanc de noirs. When making a rosé, the skin and seeds are left in the must for some time, before they are sifted out.

An orange wine is produced from white grapes in a red wine process, with skin and seeds in the entire fermentation process. This gives an ofte tanninic white that is almost orange in colour.

The may issue of Decanter has a tasting of “nature wines”, a not very clear concept. It is a blind test of 122 wines of all types and from many countries. They selected on winner, and a list of top ten from each of the panelists. And the winner is: La Stoppa Ageno 2011.

To be honest, the La Stoppa Ageno is not my favourite. I have not tasted the 2011 vintage, my reference is 2006. I will not generalise to all orange wines, as I have tasted orange wines that are more to my taste. But it is an interesting wine a wine lover should taste, and make up his or her own mind.

Today’s stage ends in Piedmont, the leading wine region in Italy, with great wines like Barolo, Barbarsco, many Barbera and Dolcetto-wines, and many other wines. But we end in an outskirt of Piedmont, Colli Tortonesi DOC. They produce reds from Barbera. But the wine that has gotten the most attention is a white made from the local grape Timorasso.

Dagens etappe ender i Piemonte, Italias ledende vinregion, med storheter som Barolo, Barbarsco, mange Barbera og Dolcetto-viner, osv. Men vi ender i en utkant av Piemonte, et stykke fra regionens vinflaggskip. Vi er i det ikke veldig kjente vinområdet Colli Tortonesi DOC. Her produseres det en del rødvin av Barbera. Men den vinen som særlig har fått oppmerksomhet, er en hvitvin laget av den lokale druen Timorasso.

A Timarosso from Colli Tortonesi DOC should be the wine of today.

Wines (and some other drinks) of Giro d’Italia 2017 – Stage 12: Forlì — Reggio Emilio

It was more action than I had expected yesterday, and I hope to see action on the remaining stages.

Today I think there will be a bunch sprint. The stages goes in flat terrain, but take a turn into Tuscany. There are two categorised climbs, but they should not be too difficult. After these two climbs, the rest is flat to the finish. It should not be too difficult to control a break away. But the sprint teams will have to do the job.

We are in Emilia-Romagna. This is in fact two areas: Emilia is the area to the west and north-east. Romagna is the southern corner.

Before we start looking for wines, we have to lay the table. About 10 km from the start, the riders come to the town Faenza. This town is known for pottery and tableware faience. The word faience derives from the name of this town. It was French traders that called it faience. The production started in the 16th century. The workshop Casa Pirotta was regarded as the best producer.

We are on the Po-plain, probably Italy’s richest agricultural area. Rich soil can give high quantity, but usually not high quality. We get the best wines from poor soil, with challenging climatic conditions. Grapes that have to fight to survive, produce the best wine.

We can start with a wine we can keep for the dessert. When the stage turns to the left in Faenza, the riders come into the wine district Albana di Romagna. Here they make wine from the grape Albana. We get the wine in various degrees of sweetness, from dry to a sweet passioto, dessert wine. It is the sweeter wine that is more interesting.

We continue into the wine district Colli di Faenza before we go into the mountains. It is a rather new classification, and has yet to produce very interesting wines.

When we return from the mountains, we are in Emilia. The first wine district is Colli Bolognesi. Within this classification, they produce a large number of wines from many different grapes. They make some very good wines from international, or rather French grapes, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. But the more interesting wines are made from the white grape Pignoletto.

The region can offer a lot more like wine. To be honest, other products may be more interesting than the wine. We can start with the dish we find on almost every childs menu: Pasta bolognese. Pasta with meat sauce. It can of course be an intersting dish, if made properly.

We are then going through Modena. Modena is known for its Balsamico Vinegar. Balsamico is made from a reduction of cooked white Trebbiano grape juice. For the real (and very expensive) thing, we must go for traditional Balsamico, Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale. There is an inexpensive imitation Aceto Balsamico di Modena. It is made, or rather mautured in a process rather simialar to how Oloroso Sherry is made, called Solera in Sherry production. It must be aged for at least 12 years. At the end of the aging period, a small portion is drawn from the smallest cask. Then it is topped up with the contents of the preceding (next larger) cask, and so the process goes on. Freshly cooked grape must is then added to the largest cask. Every subsequent years, this process is repeated.

We are in the area for one of the region’s more well known wines: Lambrusco. Lambrusco is a red, sparkling wine. Its popularity is growing. I have to admit that Lambrusco has never been among my favourites. But I have to give it another try. It could be a god wine to go with a dish like pasta bolognese. For more on Lambrusco, I will refer to the Decanter article from February 2016, Five of the best Lambrusco wines to try.

We finish in the town Reggio Emilio. Here we can find something we need for the pasta dish: Parmeggiano Reggiano, often, and uncorreclty referred to as “parmesan”. Parmesan is a designation that is illegal to use in Europe. Parmeggiano Reggiano is the version of this hard cheese from small producers.

There are ca 600 producers of the cheese, getting milk from 10.000 farmers in the region. The well known, high quality cheees are made with good raw materials, by highly skilled small scale producers, witin strict regulations.

Grana Padano is a rather similar cheese, often produced in larger scale, further to the west.

Italian Wines 2016

Italian Wines is published yearly by Gambero Rosso. This is a detailed guide to Italian Wines. 22 000 wines from 2 400 producers are listed in the book. If you want to fine the best wines from the various regions of Italy, this is your guide. This is a type of book I usually use when I am visiting producers, to find the producers to visit.

The book is available in a paper edition and a Kindle edition. One year, I bought the Kindle edition. But for this kind of book, I prefer the paper version. It is available from Amazon UK on paper and for Kindle. And from Amazon US in paperback and as Kindle edition.

Wines (and some other drinks) of Giro d'Italia 2017

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Wines (and some other drinks) of Giro d’Italia 2017. Stage 11: Firenze (Ponte A Ema) — Bagno de Romagna

Today, May 17th, is the National day (Constitution day) here in Norway. This is why I have included the Norwegian flag.

We are now in the middle of the Giro. This is stage 11 of 21. We (or the riders) have done 10 stages before today, and it remains 10 stages when today’s stage is completed.

Yesterday was as I hoped, and expected. Tom Dumoulin gained so much time on Nairo Quintana that Quintana has to attack. In the week.end, and even more next week, the giro goes into the mountains. Here Nairo Quintana must attack, not only to catch up with Tom Dumoulin. The final stage of the Giro is another ca 30 km time trail. Nairo Quintana will need a time buffer before this time trial, to win the Giro. This should give us a lot of action. I also liked that Geraint Thomas did a good time trial, and climbed to a good position in the GC. But he is too far behind to win the Giro.

Today, there are four classified climbs. But from the last summit, there are 25 km more or less downhill to the finish. I do not think that the GC-contenders will attack, after having used a lot of energy in yesterday’s time trial. If they attack on the last climb, it will be difficult to maintain a lead to the finish. The sprint teams will not be strong enough to control the peloton. I think it will be a break away with riders who took it easy yesterday, and are no threats to the GC-contenders, can make it to the finish.

When I saw the details of today’s stage, I was disappointed. We start in Florence, the heart of Tuscany. The stage follows the only route out of Florence that does not go through any wine district.

If we choose almost any other way than today’s stage out of Florence, we will come into Tuscany’s most famous wine region: Chianti.

tuscany-wine-map

Chianti is Tuscany’s heart and soul. It is made from Sangiovese, sometimes with some other grapes.

Chianti was “invented” by baron Bettino Riascoli i the middle of the 19th century. He made a recipe which said it should be Sangiovese, with some Canaiolo added to soften the wine. The recipe has been changed many times since that.

Chianti_ClassicoThe producers in the orginal area did not like that many others sold their wines as Chianti. In 1924 they formed a producers association, the first in Italy: Gallo Nero — The black rooster. 95% of the Chianti Classico producers are now members of Gallo Nero. Gallo Nero is the logo of Chianti Classico. I do not know why it says 1716 on the label.

Chianti was, as som many wines, in decline until the 1970s. The productoin was high, and the quality low. They blended in to much white/green grapes, sometimes as much as 30%, and they blended in low quality wind from Soutern Italy.

Chianti_bastflaskeChianti was for a long time mainly known for the straw covered bottle fiasco (“flask”; pl. fiaschi), more than for the wine in the bottle. It may have been good for marketing. People did not know much about Italian wine, and maybe there was not too much of interest to know some decades ago. But the knew the Chianti bottle, and Chianti was the Italian wine. But things have changed. Serious producers wanted that their wine should be known for the content in the bottles, not just for the bottles. They wanted to escape from the cheap tourist wine image.

I visited Italy for the first time when I was traveling on Inter Rail in the mid 1970s. It was very exiting for me, who had hardly been outside of Norway at the time. I remember the Chianti bottles, not the wine. When the train stopped at the stations, sellers where walking along the train with their trolleys, shouting “Birra! Chianti vino!” But with my travel budget at the time, it was important that the wine was cheap. I could not afford to think about quality.

Through the years, the area for classified Chianti has been expanded, and some will say watered out. In Italy “Classico” designates the original production area, which is often the best area. Chianti got DOCG classification in 1984, and Chianti Classico their own DOCG in 1996.

Gambero Rosso Italian Wines use glasses as symbol of classication. Three glasses, (Tre Bicchieri) is awarded to an excellent wine in its category. When a producer has been awarded ten Tre Bicchieris, it is awarde a star. Another ten Tre Bicchieris, and they get a new star. The Piemont producer Gaja is on top of the list of Italian producers, with five starts for 54 Tre Bicchieris. A star designates a producer with consistent, high quality over time.

This year, 19 Chinati Classico-producers have been awarded Tre Bicchieri. The Chianti Classico producers who have been awardes stars, are:

  • Marchesi Antinori **
  • Barone Ricasoli **
  • Brancaia *
  • Castellare di Castellina *
  • Castello di Ama **
  • Castello di Fonterutoli ***
  • Fattoria di Felsina **
  • Tenute Ambrogio e Giovanni Folonari *
  • Fontodi **
  • Isole e Olena **
  • Ruffino (not to be confused with the area Rufina) *
  • San Felice *

A top producer does not produce only top wines. The majority of the large producers have wines in many categories and price levels.

Italian Wines 2016

Italian Wines is published yearly by Gambero Rosso. This is a detailed guide to Italian Wines. 22 000 wines from 2 400 producers are listed in the book. If you want to fine the best wines from the various regions of Italy, this is your guide. This is a type of book I usually use when I am visiting producers, to find the producers to visit.

The book is available in a paper edition and a Kindle edition. One year, I bought the Kindle edition. But for this kind of book, I prefer the paper version. It is available from Amazon UK on paper and for Kindle. And from Amazon US in paperback and as Kindle edition.

Wines (and some other drinks) of Giro d'Italia 2017

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Wines (and some other drinks) of Giro d’Italia 2017. Stage 10: Foligno — Montefalco

I wanted action on Sunday. But I did not want trouble because a police officer had parked his motorcycle on the wrong side of the road. But the attack from Nairo Quintana, this was what we had been waiting for. Today, the question is if Nairo Quintana’s advantage is enough to stay ahead of riders like Tom Dumoulin, Thibaut Pinot and Vincenzo Nibali  after the time trial.

The riders do not get a soft start after the rest day, at least not the riders with GC ambitions or rides who want to win the stage. The cannot take it easy in the beginning, to get the body going again. For domestics with no indiviual ambitions and not very much to fight for, it may be what Jens Voigt once called a “semi rest day”. They have to finish within he time limit, without using too much power.

Usually it is hard to find wine along a rather short time trial. But today the major part of the stage is within the Montefalco district. We enter Montefalco when we get the first intermediary time.

Montefalco is the district for one of Italy’s top wines. Montefalco DOC include reds made mainly from Sangiovese, and whites made from Grechetto.

But the really interesting wine is Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG. This is the jewel of the district, and one of Italy’s rather unknown gems. Sagrantino is Umbria’s own grape, even though its origin is unknown. It is a small, thick skinned grape with much of everything: Colour, acid, tannins and sugar. It gives dark and powerful wine with great depht and flavour, tanninic, high in acidity and alcohol.

The original Montefalco Sagrantino was a passioto, a sweet dessert wine made from dried grapes. It is regarded as one of Italy’s better dessert wines. A dry Montefalco Sagrantino did not hit the market before 1972.

A Sagrantino must be stored for at least 30 months. For a dry Sagrantino, at least 12 of these months must be in oak barrels. Montefalco Sagrantino is said to be a good alternative to Barolo. Give it a try. It should be the wine of today.

Italian Wines 2016

Italian Wines is published yearly by Gambero Rosso. This is a detailed guide to Italian Wines. 22 000 wines from 2 400 producers are listed in the book. If you want to fine the best wines from the various regions of Italy, this is your guide. This is a type of book I usually use when I am visiting producers, to find the producers to visit.

The book is available in a paper edition and a Kindle edition. One year, I bought the Kindle edition. But for this kind of book, I prefer the paper version. It is available from Amazon UK on paper and for Kindle. And from Amazon US in paperback and as Kindle edition.

Wines (and some other drinks) of Giro d'Italia 2017

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Giro d'Italia

 

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Wines (and some other drinks) of Giro d’Italia 2017 – Stage 9: Montenero di Bisaccia — Blockhaus

There was a bit more action yesterday. Maybe we can get some more. After the Etna-stage, Geraint Thomas said that no one wantet to dig deep the first week in the Giro. But they cannot hold back too long. Today it is top-finish after a hard climb, then a rest day, and Tuesday there is time trial. If they dig deep today, they will at least have the rest day for restitution. After Tuesday and the time trial, there will be time differences.

A grand tour is won in the mountains and the time trials. On these stages it is possible to win significant time, which one do not do on flat sprint stages. The strong climbers, who may not be very good time trialers, may try to get at time buffer before the time trial.

The stage starts i Molise, follows the coast of Abruzzo, before turning inland to the highest place in Abruzzo: Blockhaus. As we understand form the name, this is not an Italian name. It is German, from the time the Habsburgs dominated the area. Blockhaus is a guards house.

When I come to this area when writing about wine and Giro d’Italia, I include a reminder of the typical naming of classifications in Italy: They often are [Grape] + [region]. Montepulciano d’Abruzzo are wines made from Montepulciano, in Abruzzo. Trebbiano d’Abruzzo are wines made from Trebbiano in Abruzzo. But it can also be wine type + place. In Tuscany, there is a town named Montepulciano. There they produce Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. It is made from Sangiovese, and the Montepulciano grape has to my knowledge no connection to the town Montepulciano. The first time I drank Montepulciano d*Abuzzo, or at least the first time I remember drinking it, I did not know that. I was probably not the first, and will not be the last to make this error. I knew Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, at least to some extent. I was surprised how light bodied the Montepulciano d*Abuzzo was, compared to the Montepulciano wine I knew. But I eventually learned the difference.

Controguerra is located further north from today’s stage, and we do not include it this year.There is also a DOCG-classification for Montepulciano-wine from Abruzzo, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Colline Teramane. But this district is also to the north of today’s stage. Cerasuolo overlaps with Montepulciano d*Abuzzo and Trebbiano d’Abruzzo. This DOC is for rosé. There is also a wider DOC, called Abruzzo DOC, which has brought some high quality Montepulciano wines under DOC-Classificatoin, like som Terre di Casauria, Terre dei Vestini and Alto Tirino. But apart from this very brief information, I have only found information on this in Italian. And as I do not read Italian, it is not of very much help to me.

The stage goes through the small areas Villamagna DOC og Ortona DOC. These areas got ther DOC-Classificatoin in 2011. Villamanga covers red wine made from Montepulciano, and Ortona in addition to the red, include white made from Trebbiano. They do not distinguish themselves very much from similar areas in Abruzzo.

Trebbiano is a grape grown many places in Italy. I am sure they grow Montepulciano other places as well. But Montepulciano really shines in Abruzzo. So in my opinion, the wine of today should be a Montepulciano from Abruzzo.

After this stage, there is a rest day.

Italian Wines 2016

Italian Wines is published yearly by Gambero Rosso. This is a detailed guide to Italian Wines. 22 000 wines from 2 400 producers are listed in the book. If you want to fine the best wines from the various regions of Italy, this is your guide. This is a type of book I usually use when I am visiting producers, to find the producers to visit.

The book is available in a paper edition and a Kindle edition. One year, I bought the Kindle edition. But for this kind of book, I prefer the paper version. It is available from Amazon UK on paper and for Kindle. And from Amazon US in paperback and as Kindle edition.

Wines (and some other drinks) of Giro d'Italia 2017

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Giro d'Italia

 

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Wines (and some other drinks) of Giro d’Italia 2017 – Stage 8: Molfetta — Peschici

Finally, it was Caleb Ewan’s day yesterday. But he will not win today. On TV yesterday (Eurosport) I heard some intersting comments about Fernando Gavaria form the sport director of Quick Step. He comes from track racing, and have to learn to ride grand tours. He is not used to being exhausted from the days before, and then start another long stage. He is not ready to race in the morning, and it takes time before his engine starts working again.

We are still in Puglia. Molfetta is located at the coast, around 20 km north west of Bari.There is an error with the detailed map for stage 8. They had republished the map for stage 7 instead of stage 8. But we do not stay far from the coast, before the finish in the costal town Peshici. The stage is mainly flat, but the last 1500 meters ar uphill. It is not a finish for the sprinters.

Puglia is one of the regions in Italy with largest wine production. There have been large investments in wine production. Some of the major producers have established production here. For some years, the large producers prduced the better wine. But in more recent years, many smaller producers with strong focus on quality and terroir have established themselves in the area. It is a region worth following, and we can find good wines at reasonable prices.

The world is not fair, and neither is the wine world. For some days, we have had problems finding interesting wines along the stages. But here in Puglia, there is too much wine. If Puglia had been a country on its own, it would have no 10-11 among the countries with largest wine production. We have to pick a few wines.

Primitivo is most common grape in Puglia. But the main district for Primitivo is a bit further south. We leave these districts for another year, when the Giro goes through these districts.

If we make a turn into the country we come to the district Castel del Monte, which is located around the mysterious castle Castel del Monte.

The red wines are the more interesting. In addition to primitivo, the more interesting wines are single grape wines made from Uva di Troia. This grape do of course have different names in different regions. After all, we are in Italy. Some believe that these grape comes fom Troy, as the name indicates. But there are several theories on that.But I do not think it was transported to Italy with trojan horses. Uvo di Troia is a grape that ripens and is harvested late, often in october, compared to Primitivo which ripens and is harvested early (that is what the name indicates). It does not get the “baked” carachter that Primitivo can have, when harvested in a hot period.

The quality of these wines have improved a lot in the more recent years, with more modern viniication. Il Falcone is a Castel del Monte made from 70% Nero de Troia and 30% Montepulciano.

WIMG_0109From Puglia we get a sweet dessert wine made from Aleatico di Puglia. It is one of the few wines that can be prduced all over Puglia. After Gioia del Colle and Salice Salentino got there own wines made from Aleatico within their classifications, the production of Aleatico di Puglia has diminished, and is now very small. Castel del Monte’s Santa Lucia is regarded as one of the better wines of this type.

Italian Wines 2016

Italian Wines is published yearly by Gambero Rosso. This is a detailed guide to Italian Wines. 22 000 wines from 2 400 producers are listed in the book. If you want to fine the best wines from the various regions of Italy, this is your guide. This is a type of book I usually use when I am visiting producers, to find the producers to visit.

The book is available in a paper edition and a Kindle edition. One year, I bought the Kindle edition. But for this kind of book, I prefer the paper version. It is available from Amazon UK on paper and for Kindle. And from Amazon US in paperback and as Kindle edition.

Native Wine Grapes of Italy

0520272269If you are or want to become an Italian wine nerd, you can add this book to your library. Italy has many native grapes, many more than the 375 that are discussed in this book. There are many unclassified grapes that cannot be used in classified wines.

This book is available in hardcover and Kindle edition, and to my surprise: Last time I checked, the Kindle verison was mor expensive than the hardcover version. For a book like this, I prefer a paper version.

Buy hardcover version from Amazon UK or Amazon US.

Buy Kindle version from Amazon UK or Amazon US.

Wines (and some other drinks) of Giro d'Italia 2017

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Wines (and some other drinks) of Giro d’Italia 2017 – Stage 7: Castrovillari — Alberobello (Valle d’Itria)

I was not really much that happened yesterday. I had ekspected some more attacs in the peloton. But it seems that we do not get that the first week in grand tour. Today, we can expect another sprint.

Today, we start in Calabria, in the wine district Pollino. We weill go down to the arc, that we will follow through Basilicata, before entering the heel and Puglia.

Pollino is not a very interesting wine district. I was a DOC classified district, but i lost its DOC status in 2011, and is now part of Terre di Cosenza. It is located at a fairly high altitude, at the foot of the Pollino massif. The altitude and proximety to the sea, has a cooling effect.

Loosing or not obtaining DOC-status, does not mean that on cannot find good wines, classified at the level below DOC, IGT. But these wines are much harder to find, at least without beeing in the area.

Basilicata is not amont the leading wine regions in Italy. The most well known wine from Basilicata is Aglianico del Vulture. But this wine is produced further north, and we will not make this detour today.

We end in the town Alberobello, know for its Trulli-houses, small stone houses with round stone roofs. This has put Alberobello on the UNIESCO world heritage list.

We are in the wine district Martina DOC in Puglia. Puglia is the wine region in Italy with largest production. As in so many aother areas with large production, they have been turning form quantity to quality. Today we get very good wines at reasonable prices from Puglia.

Puglia is mainly producing red wine, often from Primitivo. Primitivo is the same grape called Zinfande in California. Now we can see red primitivo from Puglia sold as Zinfandel, which I do noe like. I see no reason to americansie italian grape names.

But here in Valle d’Itra, where the stage finish is, the tradition is to produce white wine. One has recently rediscovered the native grapes Bianco di Alessano and Verdeca, which give very promising results. It is not a wine that is easy to find. But I think this should be the wine of today.

We will remain in Puglia tomorrow, and I will come back to some reds then.

Italian Wines 2016

Italian Wines is published yearly by Gambero Rosso. This is a detailed guide to Italian Wines. 22 000 wines from 2 400 producers are listed in the book. If you want to fine the best wines from the various regions of Italy, this is your guide. This is a type of book I usually use when I am visiting producers, to find the producers to visit.

The book is available in a paper edition and a Kindle edition. One year, I bought the Kindle edition. But for this kind of book, I prefer the paper version. It is available from Amazon UK on paper and for Kindle. And from Amazon US in paperback and as Kindle edition.

Native Wine Grapes of Italy

0520272269If you are or want to become an Italian wine nerd, you can add this book to your library. Italy has many native grapes, many more than the 375 that are discussed in this book. There are many unclassified grapes that cannot be used in classified wines.

This book is available in hardcover and Kindle edition, and to my surprise: Last time I checked, the Kindle verison was mor expensive than the hardcover version. For a book like this, I prefer a paper version.

Buy hardcover version from Amazon UK or Amazon US.

Buy Kindle version from Amazon UK or Amazon US.

Wines (and some other drinks) of Giro d'Italia 2017

Norwegian version

Giro d'Italia

 

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Wines (and some other drinks) of Giro d’Italia 2017 – Stage 6: Reggio Calabria — Terme Luigiane

Yesterday’s stage was as expected. No really dramatic events, and a sprint in the end. But Luka Pibernik had not done his homework, when he started celebrating as if he had won, when in was still a lap of 5 km to go.

Today we have the first stage at mainland Italy. We start at the toe, and follw the instep up and a little bit beyond the ankle. It is a rather flat stage. But the final two kilometers is an ascent of 5-10%. It is unlikely that the typical sprinters will be first up here.

We are in the region Calabria, located between the Tyrrenain see over the instep, and the Ionian sea under the arc.

Continue reading Wines (and some other drinks) of Giro d’Italia 2017 – Stage 6: Reggio Calabria — Terme Luigiane

Wines (and some other drinks) of Giro d’Italia 2017 – Stage 5: Pedara — Messina

The GC-contenders wanted to save energy. We did not see any real attacs, at least not the kind of attacks we want to see. “No-one wants to go too deep, too early” said Geraint Thomas. But Javier Moreno’s attack on Diego Rosa is the kind of attack we do not want to see. Javier Moreno was kicked out of the race for this incident..

We are still on Sicily, and go in the direction of Messina and the Messina Strait, before we go to the mainland tomorrow.

We end in the district Faro, and choose a wine from there. The wines are red, made from three different, traditional grapes: Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappucio are the two dominant grapes. Some times they also use Nocera, which can be up to 10% of the wine. The production is small, only ca 180 hl, or ca 2.000 cases. At the end of the 1970s, there were no Faro producers left.

Palari is the producer that is most frequently mentioned as a quality producer from Faro. Salvatore Geraci started to produce Faro wine to save the Faro DOC and prevent that the classification shold disappear. The wine was launched in 1994, and every year since, it has received honours in Gambero Rosso. The wine from Faro is an iconic, top Italian wine.

Italian Wines 2016

Italian Wines is published yearly by Gambero Rosso. This is a detailed guide to Italian Wines. 22 000 wines from 2 400 producers are listed in the book. If you want to fine the best wines from the various regions of Italy, this is your guide. This is a type of book I usually use when I am visiting producers, to find the producers to visit.

The book is available in a paper edition and a Kindle edition. One year, I bought the Kindle edition. But for this kind of book, I prefer the paper version. It is available from Amazon UK on paper and for Kindle. And from Amazon US in paperback and as Kindle edition.

Native Wine Grapes of Italy

0520272269If you are or want to become an Italian wine nerd, you can add this book to your library. Italy has many native grapes, many more than the 375 that are discussed in this book. There are many unclassified grapes that cannot be used in classified wines.

This book is available in hardcover and Kindle edition, and to my surprise: Last time I checked, the Kindle verison was mor expensive than the hardcover version. For a book like this, I prefer a paper version.

Buy hardcover version from Amazon UK or Amazon US.

Buy Kindle version from Amazon UK or Amazon US.

Wines (and some other drinks) of Giro d'Italia 2017

Norwegian version

Giro d'Italia

 

Tour de France

 

Wines (and some other drinks) of Giro d’Italia 2017 – Stage 4: Cefalù — Etna

We are done with Sardinia for this year. We have transferred to another island, Sicily. This is the beginning of a different Giro d’italia. Today, there are two real climbs, with mountaintop finish. After today, there will be no spriter in the pink jersey. Today the GC-contenders can start to show their intents, and try to gain some time. It is expected that Vincenzo Nibali, who is from Sicily, will do something for his home fans.

The riders are going up on the Volcano Etna, one of the more active volcanos in the world. It is almost constant activity there. There was an eruption as late as March 16 this year, where 10 persons got injuried, among them a TV-team from BBC.

Desipite the high activity, Etna is not regarded as very dangerous. The lava from the volcano is flowing slowly, and is not a major threat to the surrounding villages. But if there should be an eruption, it can be very “interesting” to ride up there. The last time there was a Giro stage to Etna, the 9th stage in 2011, there was an eruption three days before the stage, and it was uncertain it they could ride the stage. But it was not cancelled. We must hope that the volcano will not disturb the race this year.

The volcanic activity may give many challenges, but it also gives a soil well suited for wine production. The last few years, Sicily has become one of the more interesting wine regions in Italy.

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