Wine and some other drinks of Tour de France 2017: Stage 19. Embrun — Salon-de-Provence

Antoher impressive ride and stage win for Warren Barguil. And none of the GC contenders were able to win time on Chris Froome. Now they have only the time trial on Saturday to do it.

Today, the riders are going down from the mountains. It ends flat, and it will probably end in a bunch sprint. In practise, the green jersey is decided. Michael Matthews just have to come to Paris and finish the race. I have not calculated if it is in theory possible for André Greipel to take 160 points on Michael Matthews on the remaining stages. Once again, I hope Edvald Boasson Hagen will take home the stage.

The stage starts im Embrun, at the north-eastern end of Lac de Serre-Ponçon, and this time continues down La val­lée de la Durance. But we “drunk” the wines from this area yesterday, and we will find more interesting wines further down.

The stage passes east and south of Mont Ventoux, that the riders do not have to cycle (or run for Chris Froome) up this time. We are in the border area between Rhône and Provence. At least in the world of wine. For all other purposes, we are in Provence.

The stage make a brief visit to Ventoux, before continuing to Luberon. Both this areas are in wine classiication part of the southern Rhône, but they are among the classified areas in Rhône that cannot call their wine Côtes-du-Rhone. Both areas are on a bit higher altitude than the rest of southern Rhône, and are located close to mountains, This gives a slightly cooler, or should we say less warm climate than what is typical for southern Rhône. Particularly the night temperature is a bit cooler, which is important for the wine.

In Ventoux, 85% of the production is red wine. The grapes are those usually used in southern Rhône: Syrah and grenache, often with some cinsaut, mourvèdre and/or carignan. They used to produce rather light bodied reds. When I was young, it was a periode when I used to buy Côtes-du-Ventoux, which I remember as a rather light bodied red wine. I am sure that it was also reasobly priced, but not among the very cheapest. When I was young, price was more important than quality. But I think we had started to get interested in more than just cheap alcohol when we were drinking Côtes-du-Ventoux. But I knew nothing about the wine, other than it was French. How we came across this wine, I do not remember. But I have known Ventoux as a red wine, much longer than I have known Mont Ventoux.

But in Ventoux, as in many other areas, producers, at least some of them, have improved the quality. Now we can get more full boded wines. The difference is very much a result of the vinification. Today, it is difficult to characterise a typical Côte-du-Ventoux wine.

They also produce some rosé, and a small amount of white, which is said to be “secret”. White is only 1% of the production. For more information, see Decanter travel guide: Ventoux.

After a brief visit to Ventoux, we come to Luberon. Lubreon is the Provence cliche, particularly after the British author Peter Mayle’s book “A Year in Provence”. Luberon, or Côtes-du-Luberon got AOC status in 1988. The ridge Montagne du Luberon rises more than 1000m above sea level, and contributes to cooler climate and cooler nights, compared to lower areas. In the area, one can grow good Syrah, which like the cool, and the more warmth loving Grenache.

Despite being the southernmost district in Rhône, the altitude and the relatively cool climate makes it possible to produce a fresh and crisp white wine from Grenache blanc, Clairette, Vermentino and Rousanne.

Before the finish, the riders will pass through Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence. Here they produce red wine from the grapes Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignan, Cinsault, Syrah, Mourvèdre and Counoise. Some of the wine is vinified for about a month at 35 degrees Celsius, which is then blended with wine vinified in the traditional way. According to the producers, this shall give a deep, complex, tanninic wine. I have to admit that more research is needed on my side, to say more about these wines. Rosé is made from the same grapes. White wine is made from Bourboulenc, Vermentino, Clairette, Grenache Blanc, Ugni Blanc, Sauvignon and Sémillon. But as is typical for the region, red and rosé dominate the production. On this map we find an overview of producers and wine merchants in the area. See alo Hachette guide til Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence. This is the website of the association of producers.

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.

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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