Category Archives: Uncategorized

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

Norwegian version

Giro d'Italia


Tour de France


Wines (and some other drinks) of Giro d’Italia 2016 – Stage 18: Muggió — Pinerolo

Giro_2016_00-18It was a strange finish on yesterday’s stage. It looked almost link no one would go for a win.

Today is another flat stage, but with a difficult last part. The sprinters will have difficulties up the last climb, and the 20 km from the top to the finish is probably not enough to catch up with the front.


We Norwegians have good cycling memories from Pinerolo. Tour de France 2011 was the golden year for Norway. Two Norwegians were riding: Thor Hushovd and Edvald Boasson-Hagen. They had two stage victories each. It was the year when even the French sports newpaper l’Equipe was writing about Thor de France. And they were calculating that if the French riders had the same success rate as the Norwegians, the French riders should have 67,5 stage wins this year. Thor Hushovd won stage 16 before Edvald Boasson Hagen.  Thor Hushovd had his then team mate Ryder Hesjedal  to help him in the finsih, som it was a two against one in the finish. Edvald Boasson Hagen did not like to be beaten. The next day, on stage 17 from Gap to Pinerolo, he got his revenge. The last part of the stage was the same as the last part of stage 18 in this years’s Giro. They come into Pinerolo, go up to Pramartino and then down to Pinerolo. It is a hard climb up to Pramartino, and a difficult descent down to Pinerolo. Edvald attaced before the top, and none could follow him down the descent. Andy Schleck was complaining, saying that the descent was too difficult and dangerous. I saw a summary from a British TV-channel on YouTube, and remember their expert commentator saying: He has brakes on his bike, he decides when to use them. And that it is not enouch to be good at going up, you must be able to go fast dwonhill as well. But enough of sweet memories. We have to find something to drink.

We are starting a little bit north of Milan, in Lombardia. But we do not find interesting wines in the part of Lombardia that we will be going through today. But we soon come into Piedmont, n that is competing with Tuscany to be the No 1 wine region in Italy. The stage is passing between the most well known wine districts in Peidmont. The most famous wine districs are to the south. But we will come closer  to these at the final stage. Today we will go a bit to the north, to good, but not as famous districts.

We can start with Colline Novaresi, north of Novara. They produce wine from Nebbiolo, Uva Rara (Bonarda), Barbera, Vespolina and Croatina. A similar area a bit further west i Coste della Sesia.

But in between the two, on the southern side, are to interesting areas: Ghemme and Gattinara. Gattinara is the one to the west. If we go back in time, to the mid 1800s, it had a reputation as good as Barolo. But the area was going through a long lasting crisis. But Gattinara has recovered, and is about to regain its good reputation. An area that is up and comming, as Gattinara is now, will often give good value for the money. We do not pay as much for the name and the label as we often will do with more famous wines like Barolo and Barbaresco. Good producers are Antoniolo, Travaglini, Torraccia del Pantavigna and Sergio Gattinara.

Gattinara’s eastern neighbour, Ghemme is a similar area, and their wines can remind of the wines from Gattinara. Producers that are often mentioned, are Cantalupo, Platinetti, Rovellotti og Toraccia del Piantavigna.

We then jump to the finsih. Pinerolese DOC is the area around Pinerolo. Classified wines are made from Bonarda piemonese, Dolcetto and Fresia.

Two special and rare wines from the area are  Doux d’Henry and Ramie.

Doux d’Henry is named after the grape with teh same name. It is said that it is named after the French king Henry IV, who travelled through this area in the 1600s.

The production is small, ca 5000 bottles a year. I have never tasted the wine. But if I should come across a bottle of Doux d’Henry, I will be very intersting to taste it.

Ramie is only produced in the two municipalities  Pomaretto og Perosa Argentina, at small, terraced vineyards.  The origin of the name Ramie, is an unsolved mystery. It is made from several local grapes, with minimum amount given: Avana (30%), Avarengo (15%) og Neretto (20%). Up to 35% can be other grapes. The production is small, about the same as Doux d’Henry.

Wines (and some other drinks) of Giro d'Italia 2016

Giro d'Italia


Tour de France