I liked the victory of Tom Dumoulin. After crashing out in the snow on one of the final stages in Giro d’Italia, he deserved this. Alberto Contador out, this is a loss for the race. And the position is almost unchanged among the GC-contenders.
Today we start in Andorra and end in Revel. The riders are going down from the Pyrenees. There is no slow warm upafter the rest day. The riders go directly into a first category climb. But after 24 km, it is mainly down, down and down for 170 km. It does not make very much sense to attack up up the first climb, as it will be very hard to keep the the lead. The second half of the stage is a little bit up and down. It is a profile and a part of the race where some riders who are not a threat to anyone in the main competitions, may break away. There is a third catogory climb 7 km from the finish, which may be a bit too hard for the typical sprinters, meaning that the sprinters’ teams will not use much energy to catch a breakaway.
When today’s stage startes, I will be at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, rahter jet lagged, after having been flying in from Washington. But I hope to be “home” in La Grande Motte in time to see the finish.
I have never thougt of Andorra as a wine country, and it is not. But when the Tour is in Andorra, I have to do some research. They are marketing wine tourism i Andorra. Four producers ar mentioned, and they are all located in the south facing slopes the riders will climb on their way out of Andorra. I have never tasted these wines, and know nothing about them. But the next time I am in Andorra, I will try to find some bottles. They are probably very difficult to find outside of Andorra.
Those who have not done all their shopping on the rest day, will get a new chance today, as there is a large shopping centre just before the riders come to the French border.
When we are comming down from the mountains, it is possible to find more wine. The stage is passing through Ariège, which is not a very intersting wine district. The Tour passes through here almost every year to or from the Pyrenees.
I was in Ariége in May. We stayed overnight in Foix. I tried to find local wine. It was not very easy. The hotel we stayed in, had a good restaurant. We had local trout, that was very good. We would of course have white wine. The restaurant had local red wine, but not local white. The most local whites were either Jurancon sec and Gaillac. As we were comming from Pau, where we had Jurancon sec, our choice was Caillac.
When a good restaurant does not have a selection of local wines, it tells me that they are not very proud of their wine. I bought a few bottles in a store selling regional specialities. To be honest: These wines are not very exiting. The next time I am in Ariège I will again search for local wines. But I will not search for these wines outside of the region.
The stages passes through Mirepoix. It is a nice medieval town, with well preserved medieval houses around a square. If you happen to be in the area, it is a town worth visiting.
The stage is passing a bit to the west of Carcassonne, before finishing in Revel. We are now in Languedoc. We pass thorough Malpère before we are crossing Canal du Midi, west of Carcassone, and come into Cabardès after having passed it. If we should be really precise, the stage is passing a bit to the west of these wine districts.
The name Malpère stems from the occitan name male peyre (bad stone), which is a local sand stone.
Malpère is the westernmost wine district in Languecdoc. Here east meets west: The “Mediterranian” and the “Atlantic”. It is of course not the oceans that meet, we are after all well into the country. But the district is influenced both by the Mediterranien and the Atlantic climat. They are growing the typical Mediterrainan grapes, as well as grapes well known from Atlantic districs like Bordeaux. The district got AOC-status in 2007, after having had VDQS-status since 1983. The riders may feel the Atlantic wind when they are crossing these areas. Strong winds are often an issue here.
More than 90% of the production is red wine, made from the grapes Merlot, Cot (Malbec) and Cinsaut. Merlot is more than 50% of the production.
The rest of the wine is rosé, made from Cincault, Grenache and Lladoner pleut. These are mediterrainian grapes. But rosé is more a mediterranian than atlantic wine. For more, see Hachette guide til Malpère.
Malpère is located to the far west on the map below. Cabardès,is just to the north of Malpére.
Cabardés is also influenced by the Atlantic. In Cabardès they are producing both the tpyical mediterranian grapes such as grenache and syrah, and the “Bordeaux-grapes” merlot and cabernet-sauvignon. I The wines often combine the body of the Mediterraian and the elegance of Aquitaine.
Tour de France 2016
- Stage 1: Mont-Saint-Michel / Utah Beach Sainte-Marie-du-Mont
- Stage 2: Saint-Lô -- Cherbourg-en-Cotentin
- Stage 3: Granville -- Angers
- Stage 4: Saumur -- Limoges
- Stage 5: Limoges -- Le Lioran
- Stage 6: Arpajon-sur-Cère -- Montauban
- Stage 7: l’Isle-Jourdain — Lac de Payolle
- Stage 8: Pau — Bagnères-de-Luchon
- Stage 9: Vielha Val d’Aran — Andorre Arcalis
- Stage 10: Escaldes-Engordany — Revel
- Stage 11: Carcassonne — Montpellier
- Stage 12: Montpellier -- Mont Ventoux
- Stage 13: Bourg-Saint-Andéol — La Caverne du Pont-d’Arc
- Stage 14: Montélimar — Villars-les-Dombes Parc des Oiseaux
- Stage 15: Bourg-en-Bresse — Culoz
- Stage 16: Moirans-en-Montagne — Berne
- Stage 17: Berne — Finhaut-Emosson
- Stage 18: Sallanches — Megève
- Stage 19: Albertville — Saint-Gervais Mont Blanc
- Stage 20: Megève — Morzine-Avoriaz
- Stage 21: Chantilly — Paris Champs-Élysées
Tour de France