They did not have to measure differendes in 1/10 000s of a second yesterday. And in France they are enthusiastic about another French stage win.
Today, the riders are facing hard climbs. The final part of this stage is more or less the same as stage 6 in this year’s Criterium du Dauphiné. Those who rode this race may have an advantage when knowing the ascent, and even more the technical descent from Mont du Chat realtively fresh in memory. But the stage is still very different. In Dauphiné the riders had been over a third category before climing Mont du Chat, with a fourth category before they started the HC-climb. Today the riders have been over one second category, two third category and two HC before they start the last climb.
I cycled along the Rhône river from the start in the Swiss Alps to the Mediterrenian se last summer. Part of my route followed the route the riders will cycle today. But my stage was “only” 115 km, compared to the TdF stage of 181,5 km. And more important: I followed the river as much as possible, and did not climb the mountains. Our routes meet at Bassy, where the rides cross the river, or rather rivers Les Usses. From there we cycled more or less the same route to Seyssel, where I had planned to stay over night, but I could not get a room. It is anice place.
It was at this hotel I tried to get a room, but it was fully booked.
Here the riders cross over to the right bank, and start the climb to Col de la Biche and further on to Grand Colombier. I stayed on the bike path along the river, on the left bank.
Jeg fulgte Circuit des vignoblbes de Savoie.
The riders are climbing Grand Colombier the same way as last year, but the descent is different. Our routes crosses at this roundbout just outside Culoz.
I am sure it will be decorated with a bike this year as well. The riders in the TdF keeps on the main road, but I followed the cycling path at the same side of the Rhône to Cressin Rochefort. From here, I continued along the Rhône, while the riders cross the river and start the climb to Mont du Chat before they ride down to Chambéry.
But I have to stop playing with my memories, and get back to the Tour.
Between the mountains, we are for the most part in the rather unknown wine region Bugey, between Jura and Savoie. Bugey got AOP-classification in 2011. The wines from Bugey will often have a geogrephical name after the designation Bugey.
We can start with the wine that is calle Bugey, with no other names added. It can be produced in the entire area. They produce red, white and rosé, as well as white and rosé sparkling wine.
The white wine is made with 70% chardonnay. In addition they can use the grapes alligoté, altesse, jacquère, mondeuse blanche and pinot gris.
The red wine is made from gamay, mondeuse noire and pinot noir.
The rosé shal have at least 70% gamay and/or pinot noir. It is said in the criterias that it shall be white juice from gamay, meaning that it cannot be skin contact during the fermentation, and that the colour must come from pinot noir. In addition, they can have mondeuse noir, pinot gris and poulsard. I do not know the process for producing this wine, as it seems to be a blend of black/red grapes, white jucie from black/red grapes, as well as pink grapes.
White sparkling wine shall have at least 70% chardonnay, jacquère and molette. In addition it can be aligoté, altesse, gamay noir (white juice), mondeuse blanche, mondeuse noire, pinot gris, pinot noir and poulsard.
Sparkling wine shall be made with second fermentation in the bottle, and shall rest at least nine months at the remains of yeast etc (sur lie).
As I have said, one can some places put a geographical name after Bugey. The first such area we come to is Bugey-Cerdon. If I have got it right, which I do not guarantee, the cool climate and long winters stopp fermentation, and the second fermentation starts in the spring, without rebottling. This wine shall be labeled “Methode Ancestrale”. It is a sparkling wine very low in alcohol.
For the other geographica areas, there are in genereal stricter criterias when it comes to grapes, with fewer allowed additional grapes, compared to the basic Bugey.
In the area Roussette du Bugey, they make white wine from the grape Altesse, or Roussette as it called locally. THis is a grape I think of as typical for Savoie.
It is not easy to find wine from Bugey outside the region. And if I shall be honest, there are no reason to search for it, unless you are interested in tasting the wine. Chardonnay, Gamay and Pinot Noir are grapes they grow many places, where they usually give better wines, at least based on my rather limited experience with wines from Bugey. Rousette de Bugey may have a more distinct character, but I have to admit that I have not tasted it. But Rousette de Savoie is a good and interesting wine, proving that Rousette is a good and interesting grape.
After the riders have crossed the final mountain, they arrive in Savoie. Savoie is in my opinion an underestimated wine region. The production is small. We can go straight to the finish, and find a wine from Cluse de Chambéry in Savoie.
Cluse de Chambéry is divided into six crus.
Chignin is, according to Grand Atlas des vignobles de France, regarded as the wine capital in Savois.
The area Cru Chignin-Bergeron is, still according to Grand Atlas des vignobles de France, the very best area. But the production is small, only 315 hl per year, which should be aroung 50.000 bottles.
North of Chignin we find Cru Saint-Jeoire-Prieuré. It is 20 ha where they produce 460 hl or a little less than 70.000 bottles per year.
Further north is Cru Monterminod, which is eve smaller. The yearly production is only 150 hl or 22.500 bottes. This is a very sought after wine.
Further west are to larger areas, Cru Apremont and Cru Abymes, where they produce respectively 26.000 and 20.000 hl a year.
After this stage, there is a well deserved rest day.
Grand Atlas des vignobles de France
This is the kind of atlas I would like to have for all wine producing countries in the world. Good and detaield maps, with informative text. Could we wish for more? Some may wish for another laguage, as this is in French only.
How to find the best French wines?
I could have added: The best wines in a region or in a category. When I am searching for good wine producers in France, be it to find wines along the Tour de France roue, or wines I would like to taste and maybe buy, I use three books to orient myself. There are (too) many wine producers offering wine tasting. We cannot just visit them randomly. Then we risk to taste a lot of uinteresting wines, and miss the better wines. When I visit a producer and taste their wines, I feel a pressure to buy some wine, despite that I know I can just say merci beaucoup, and leave. It is necessarry to do some research, and find the wine producers to visit. For this purpose, I use the three books. There are three books, published yearly. Now I use the 2017-editions. I always have problems deciding which is the better one, and end up buying all three. Some of the books are available in Kindle, versions, but for this kind of books, I prefer the paper versions. I have to add that these books are in French only.
Le Guide des Meilleurs vins de France
This book is published by the Wine Magazine La Revue du Vin de France. This is in practise my favourite, and the the book in which I start searching first. But I cannot say that it is better than the others
This year's edition covers 1120 producers and 6592 wines.
Le Guide Hachette des vins
For me, this is the book I consult as number two. I have no other explanation than that this was the second of these book I got to know. It includes more wines than Le Guide des Meilleurs vins de France
Guides des vins. Bettane + Desseauve
I started to buy this book to have all three. As it was the third book I got to know, it has become the third book I consult. But this is a habit, more than a result of critical evaluation.
Guides to reasonably pirced wines
There are guidebooks for reasonably priced wines. I have bought a few of them, but has stopped buying them. This does not mean that I am snobbish (or rich), and only drink expensive wines. Most of the wines I am drinking is reasoably priced. Reasonable wines are not excluded from the books mentioned. If there is a resonably priced wine of high quality, you will find them in these books. But I am searching for good wines, not cheap wines. I am not trying to locate a producer because of its cheap wines. Then I choose one of the wines I find in the supermarkets when I am in France.
Some Wine Magazines
In addition to these books, I read about wine in quality newspapers back home in Norway. But I see not point in mentioning the Norwegian newspapers in this English language version. I also read regularly two French wine magazines, La Revue du Vin de France and Terre de Vins. The latter is published in Languedoc, and has a kind of southern profile. I also read the English wine magazin Decanter.
Tour de France 2017
Tour de France