Wine and some other drinks of Tour de France 2017: Stage 5. Vittel — La planche des belles filles

Peter Sagan’s tackling of Mark Cavendish was ugly and dangerous. But a lot happens in a spirnt, when the adrenaline is boiling. I think the reaction was too hard. But I am not going to discuss this. But three personalities are now out of the Tour: Valverde, Cavendish and Sagan.

Today, the finish is at the top of a first category climb. This is not a stage for the sprinters. It may be a too early to expect attacs from the GC-contenders. But some typical climbers will probably go for a stage win.

When a stage in the Tour in 2012 ended at La planche des belles filles, we could read at the Tour de France site that the placed after the women in the valley tried to escape the vikings who invaded the area in the 1400s. The vikings have been blamed for much, often with reason. But they have had their historiy written by their enemies. More recent research have shown that they were more traders than the myths tell us. But apart from that, I have never heard that they travelled up in the mountain areas in France. It is most common to say that the age of the vikings ended in 1050, som will say that it ended with the battle of Hastings in 1066. But it defiently did not last until the 1400s. According to French Wikipedia the place is named after an episode i 30 years war in 1635, when the women fled from Swedish soldiers. We Norwegians love when we can blame the Swedes. And the 30 years war was long after the age of the vikings had ended.

Today it is difficult to find wine. We start and for the most of the day stay in the departement Vosges, and as far as I have found, there are no classified wines producec in this departement, not even on IGP-level. But we can at least bring some water from the start.

When searching for information, I came across vin bleu, or blue wine. It is made from the grapes Oberlin and Kuhlmann, both are unknown to me. They have applied for protection, but I have not read about the result of the process. The production is small, ca 10 000 liter per year. It will not be easy to find this wine outside of the district.

The stage ends in the departement Haute-Saône, in the IGP classified district Franche-Comté Haut Saône. They produce red, rosé and white, but this is as much I know.

The finish is at the top. If we will find interesting wine, we have to roll down on the other side, and a bit north, to Alsace. I will not go into the details, we will do that a year the Tous visits Alsace.

I recommend cycling in Alsace. Cycling and wine is a good combination, and Alsace is a good place to make the combination.

Colmar is a good point of departure for cycling trips to the wine producers in Alsace. If Colmar is your base camp, you can make many day trips out in the vineyards and to the producerss.

You can find many small, romantic villages in Alsace.

Alsace is further south than Rheingau and Mosel. The grapes ripen better, and they do not have the same problems with low sugar. In Alsace they have been making dry riesling for a long time, longer than in Germany. After I had had enough of semidry, German wines, I turned to Alsace for riesling. But now they make good, dry wines in Germany. I am rediscovering German wines.

In Alsace, they make white wines from Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer ad riesling, They also make red wine from Pinot Noir, and a very good Crémant d’Alsace.

The  World Atlas of Wine

1845336895If you will have only one book on wine, “The World Atlas of Wine”, by Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson is the one you should have. It is a classic, and it is now in its seventh edtition. It is a beautiful book with nice maps and excellent content. It covers the entire world,  but still with an emphazis on "The Old World".

Buy it from Amazon UK or  Amazon US.

The Oxford Companion to Wine

0198705387If you want to have a more encylopedic book on wines, Jancis Robinsons and Julia Child: The Oxford Companion to Wine is the one to have. It is an encyclopedia of wine, with articles on not everything, but as close as you can get in one volume. It is written by on of the world's leading experts on wine.

I have the third edition, published in 2006. It is now in its foruth edition, published in 2015. A lot has happened in the wine business since 2006. So maybe I should get myself a copy of the most recent edition. It is available in hardcover edition and Kindle edition. When reading a book from beginning to end, I like Kindle. But when jumping around from one article to another, I prefer the paper version. An e-version of a book like this should be organized like a database, not as a "book".

Order from Amazon US: Kindle edition, or Hardcover edition.

Order from Amazon UK: Kindle edition, or Hardcover edition.


Grand Atlas des vignobles de France

2263046607This 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.

Order from:

Amazon FR
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Tour de France 2017

Tour de France
Giro d'Italia





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