Wines (and some other drinks) of Giro d’Italia 2016 – Stage 13: Palmanova — Cividale del Friuli

Giro_2016_00-13Stage 12 ended as a bunch sprint, as expected. And as many of the spirnters have abandoned, it was no surprise that André Greipel won yet another stage. But he has said that he too will abandon after stage 12. One of Giro s’Italias problems is that the last week or so, ar maily mountains.T here are no stages left for the sprinters. Those who have no more chances for stage wins. This is the time when riders start to feel old injuries, that the form is not as good as they had expected, and leave the Giro before the last week of climbing. André Grepel is not leaving Giro d’Italia with style when he is leaving in the red point jersey. Cycling Weekly is asking: Does anyonel actually want to win the Giro d’Italia sprinter’s jersey? In 2013 Mark Cavendish struggled his way over the mountains, fighting for the point jersey to the end, when i finally got it. To be honest, I thought at that time that Mark Cavendish would not han on to the final. But he proved me wrong. This is the right attitude, André Greipel, not to go home to prepare for more important races like Tour de France.

Stage 13 is hard, with four categorized mountain passes. Now is the start for the general classification contenders. This is the first real mountain stage, with four categorized climbs.

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We are now in the region Friuli — Venezia Giulia. The name can be confusing, as Venezia (Venice) is not in the region that bears its name. Venice is in Veneto. But the name dates back to the Venetian Republic. And the name Giulia is from Julius Caesar.

We are at the foothills of the Julian Alps. This is an area with interesting wines. According to the book Vino Ita­li­ano  Fri­uli is the region that was leading the development of quality white wines in Italy. Fri­uli is close to Austria, and was a recreational area for Austrian royals and aristocracy. They were picky customers, and wanted quality wine.

We start a bit south of the city Udine, in a wine district called Friuli Aquila. The wines from here are usually rather light and fruity. The whites are the best.

We do not stay in Friuli Aquila for long, beofre crossing over to Friuli Grave. Friuli Grave is the largest classified area in Friuli, and from here comes about half of the wine produced in the region. The largest area is not the most interesting, this should come as no surprise.  There are large producers and a fairly industrialized production. But here, as in almost all regions, some are working to improve the quality.

Before starting the climbs, we, or rather the riders, come to Colli Orientali del Friuli, which means something like the Eastern Hills of Friuli. In the Colli Orientali del Friuli DOC classification, there are ten white and ten red varietal wines, as well as a Bianco, a Rosso and a Dolce. For the whites, the most used grapes are Pinot Griogio, Sauvignon blanc and Chardonnay. But local grapes, such as Ribolla Gialla, Verduzzo Friuliano and Picolit are growing in popularitye. Picolit has got its own DOCG.

Most of the reds are made from Merlog and Cabernet Franc. But again, local grapes are growing in popularity, in particular Refosco dal Penduncolo rosso, which is considered the best. Schoppettino, which is also called Ribolla Nera,is also popular.

Pignolo was almost extinct. But it is now in production. One think that Pignolo will produce great red wines.

At the second turn, where the stage is heading towards north-west, se are at least close to Ramandolo, where it is an old tradition to make sweet wines from Verduzzo Friulano, locally called Giallo. There is an amabile, which is demi sweet. But it is too sweet to go with the food, and not sweet enough for the dessert But there is also a passito.

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

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