Tag Archives: Tour de France

Wine and some other drinks of Tour de France 2016. Stage 6: Arpajon-sur-Cère — Montauban

I was a bit surprised when the GC-teams would let a break away with a rider as good as Greg van Avermat get as much lead as they got. Today the riders are going down from Massif Central. There are some cat 3 and 4 climbs, but it goes more down and up, and the final par is flat. I will expect a sprint, and that Greg van Avermat will keep the yellom jersey.


We have to deviate from today’s stage to find interesing wines. If we go straight west from the intermeiary sprint, and straight north from the finish, the two lines will meet in Cahors. Cahors is known for their full boidied red wines., mainly made from Malbec, locally called  Cot. Cahors is situated at the river Lot, which flows into Garonne, which flows out in the sea at Bordeaux.

Cahors is one of many wine districts that have been overshadowed by Bordeaux. If we go a few houndred years years back in time, Bordeaux was not a region for production of quality wine. Before the swampy areas were drained, they produced a rather thin and light bodied wine. But as a big harbour citiy, located where bot Garonne and Dordogne fow out into the sea, Bordeaux had a very stratedic location.  Wines from wine districts along thses rivers, and side rivers, were transported on the rivers and shipped out from Bordeaux. At this time, the place of origin was not as important, and was not controlled as strict as it is today. The more full bodied wines from Cahors and other areas, were blended with Bordeaux wines to improve the wines. And it was sold as Bordeaux wine. Bordeaux would not ship wine form other regions before they had sold there own. Bordeaux got known for their wine, paricularly in the important English market.

The finishing town Montauban is located a bit to the north of Toulouse. To the soulh of Montauban, we find the wine districts  Fronton, Lavilledieu and Saint-Sardos.

In Fronton they produce a good red wine form the Negrette. It is a grape low on tannins with low acidity. It gives a wine that should be drunk young. But it is prone to oxydasation, and cannot be stored for long time. Some call it the  Beaujolais of Toulouse.

North West from Fronton, we find Lavilledieu. The red wines from here are made from a large variety of grapes, and no grape is allowed to dominate the blend. This means that it is difficult to identify a carachter typical for the wines from this area. .

Saint Sardos is west of Fronton. Here, wine has been produced for a long tine. It is documented wine production in this area since the foundation of the abbey Grandsleve in 1114. The production is red and rosé wines. The most imprtant grapes are Syrah an Tannat, supplemented by Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.

Tour de France 2016

Tour de France
Giro d'Italia


Giro d'Italia


Wine and some other drinks of Tour de France 2016. Stage 5: Limoges / Le Lioran

I had not expected Marcel Kittel to win yesterday. But as always: Peter Sagan was up there, collecting points for the green jersey. Today the riders will get a taset of what is a head. This stage is a kind of warm up before the mountains. This stage will be too hard for the typical sprinters. But Peter Sagan can be there again, and we Norwegians may hope for Edvald Boasson Hagen.


The riders will now cross Massif Centrlal, with finish in the ski resort Le Lioran. er Massif Cetral, finishing in the ski resort Le Liorian. Here it is difficult to find interesting wine. When I say it is difficult, I mean exactly that: It is difficult, but it does not mean that it does not exist. But then you have to go there and search for wine, or you may find some interesting wine in a restaurant. I have often discovered good and interesting wines from not well known regions included in wine menus at goot restaurants. But so far, I have not found any wines from the area around today’s stage.

I have also not succeded in finding interesting beer.

Instead, I include som of what is often produced in French mountain areas: Cheese. The chese Cantal is among France’s oldest cheeses. It is said to have been produced since the time av the gauls. It is a semi hard chieese, made from cow milk, and shaped as a cylinder. The cheese resembles Cheddar. In the area where it is produced, they say that it was here the British learned how to produce the cheese that became Cheddar. Correct or not, I do not know.

Some other cheeses from these region worth mentioning, are Saint-Nectaire and Bleue d’Auvergne.

Tour de France 2016

Tour de France
Giro d'Italia


Giro d'Italia


Wine and some other drinks of Tour de France 2016. Stage 4: Saumur — Limoges

Mark Cavendish is back. But it will be hard for him to keep the green jersey when Peter Sagan will have to give away the yellow.Today’s stage is not a stage for the sprinters. It’s another uphill finish, not unlike the second stage. And Peter Sagan will probably be up there again. If he does not win, he will get points in the competition for the green jersey, something the more typical sprinters will not do. As a Norwegian, I may hoper for Edvald Boasson-Hagen and Alexander Kristoff.


We will bring wines from the start, when we are still in Loire. We start in Saumur, and can taste some of the red wines from the area. They produce redd wine mainly from Cabernet Franc, but also from Cabernet Suvignon. The best par og the area is in Saumur is Saumur-Champigny. The wine magazine Decanter selected earlier this the bes Cabernet Franc wines from Loire. Two producers from Saumur-Champigny wa on this rather exclusive list: Château de Villeneuve with the win Le Grand Clos 2011, and Château de Targé with the wine Saumur-Champigny 2011.

Continue reading Wine and some other drinks of Tour de France 2016. Stage 4: Saumur — Limoges

Wine and some other drinks of Tour de France 2016. Stage 3: Granville — Angers

I was not a surprise that Peter Sagan won yesterday’s stage. Now he will probably defend the yellow jersey as long as he can. If he escapes accident, no one will take more then 14 seconds on him on today’s stage.


We could have chosen some more cidre and calvados, and we could probably have found some more beers.. But we are approaching the Loire valley, and finally we can start to look for some interesting wines.

I have to admit that I do not know the wines from the Loire Valley as good as I should. When I am thinking of Loire Wines, it tende to be either Muscadet,  from about where it flows out in the ocean, an excellent wine for sea food in the summer. Or Muscadet and Puilly Fumé from further up the valley. But between these, there are many excellent wines.

We come into the Loire Valley in the district Anjou. I am first thinking of the rosé Cabernet d’Anjou, made from Cabernet Franc. It was popular when I was young. But a half dry rosé, taht is not my favourite today. When I retasted this some years ago, it was clear that it was no longer among my favourites. During the summer, I often drink rosé when I in cooler seasons would have been drinking  red wine. But it shall by dry.

It is always a good idea to start with som sparkling wine. Crémant is sparkling wines from France made with traditional method, with second fermenting in the bottle,  outside Champagen.

Crémant de Loire is usualley made from the grape Chenin Blanc, a grape that is at its best in Loire.

A little to the south-west of the arrival town Angers we find the area Savnnières. It is facing south, on the right bank of the Loire river. This is regarded as the best area for white wines in this part of Loire. Inside this area, we find the two AOP-classified areas Roch-ax-Moines and Coulée-de-Serrat, which are regarded as the best areas in Savenniéres. The wines are made from Chenin blanc. They make dery, semi-dry and sweet wines.  The semi-dry may have to be stored or decades before they are at theri best. The production is small..

As a dessert, we can move a bit further south, to  Coteaux-du-Layon, where we can find some excellent sweet dessert wines. The one held in highest esteem is from Quarts-de-Chaume. These are also wines produced from Chenin Blanc. The wines that are mentioned, proves what Chanin Blanc can offer in this area.

The well known English wine magazine Decanter had recently selected the world’s best wines.   Andre Davy, Domaine de la Roche Moreau, Coteaux du Layon 1er Cru Chaume, were awarded a platinum medal, as Best Sweet Loire over £15.

Tour de France 2016

Tour de France
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Giro d'Italia


Wine and some other drinks of Tour de France 2016. Stage 2: Saint-Lô — Cherbourg-en-Cotentin

We are still in Normandy, in the district Manche. What many of us call The English channel, is La Manche in France. It is unthinkabe that the French should call sea outside the French coast as something like “The English …”.

Mark Cavendish is back on track, winning the first stage and starting in yellow today. But I do not think he will keep it after today’s stage. It is an uphill finish. Not a reali climb, but still too hard for the typical sprinters. And there may be some time differences after this stage.


Vi can start with a beer today too. Brasserie Eldorado is in Cherbourg. It seems to be a brew pub, but I do not have much information on this brewery or their beers.

Continue reading Wine and some other drinks of Tour de France 2016. Stage 2: Saint-Lô — Cherbourg-en-Cotentin

Wine and some other drinks of Tour de France 2016. Stage 1: Mont-Saint-Michel / Utah Beach Sainte-Marie-du-Mont

Here we go again. It is time for Tour de France. The first stage is in Normandie, starting at the spectacular Mont Saint Michel and ending in Utah Beach.


Mont Saint Michel is at the border between Brittany and Normandy. It is in Normandy, but the river Couesnon the flows out in the ocean next to Mont Saint Michel is the border between these two regions.

Continue reading Wine and some other drinks of Tour de France 2016. Stage 1: Mont-Saint-Michel / Utah Beach Sainte-Marie-du-Mont

Wine and some other drinks of Tour de France 2016 – Introduction

Now it is time for Tour de France, French wine and maybe some French beer. But we will also visit Spain and Switzerland. I started this as a series in Norwegian six years ago (with title in French: Les Vins du Tour de France). The year after I started a similar series on Giro d’Italia, and as some may have discovered: I started doing a series on Giro d’Italia in English this year.


I usually spend the summer in southern France. When Tour the France stages start, finish or pass this area, I usually go to watch. But I am not travelling with the circus around France. I watch Tour de France on French television. It should come as no surprise that TV France put a lot of resources into their Tour de France coverage, including coverage of what goes on before and after the race.

I got the idea for the blog series during the 12. stage of Tour de France 2009, from Tonnere to Vittel, when the doyen of french sports journalism, Gerhard Holtz, presented champagne from the area Côte de Bar, south in Champagne. At that time, I did not know that they produced champagne so far south. And then; Why not explore the wines produced along the stages in Tour de France. This is a good a system as any other for getting to know French wines.

I have put in a parenthesis (and some other drinks). They do not produce wine in all parts of France, at least not noteworthy wines. So then we stick to beer, other drinks — and maybe even some other subjects.

I am not pretending to be an expert on Frensh or Italian wines. But I have found this an interesting approach for me, as I want to learn more about these wines. You are invited on board my learning experience.

The Tour de France 2016 Wine Scandal

Tour de France has chosen an official wine, which is sponsoring Tour de France, The scandal is: They have chosen a Chilean wine, Bicicleta. There is nothing wrong with Chilean wine or the wine Bicicleta. But this is Tour de FRANCE! The leading wine country in the world, the reference that all other wine producing countries are measured against.

As people interested in cycling know, the World Championship in 2017 will be in Bergen in Norway. Their general sponsor is “Norwegian Salmon”. Having a Chilean wine as the official Tour de France wine, would be like having Scottish Salmon as general sponsor for the World Championship in Norway.

Despite that wine growing is deeply rooted in French culture, and is important for French economy, marketing of alcoholic beverages, including wine, is striclty regulated. A sport event in France, like Tour de France cannot be sponsored by a producer of alcoholic beverages. Only the stages in Spain and Switzerland can be sponsored like this. But nevertheless: If there should be an official wine, or a wine sposor, it should be a French wine.

French winegrowers are upset. They may disturb Tour de France, due to this. I understand that they are upset an have sympathy with the cause, but do not support actions they may take against Tour de France.

When writing about Wines and other drinks of Giro d’Iatalia, I was complaining that I did not have precise maps of the wine regions. Not so in France. There are three excellent wine atlases of France. These are the kind of atlases I would like to have for each major wine producing country.

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

There are three books published yearly covering French wines. I have problems choosing which one is the better, and buy all three every year. I am mainly using them when planning trips to wine producers. There are so many wine producers. In wine producing districts, there are signs saying “Degustation du vin” everywhere. I do not want to taste wines at random, tasting a lot of uninteresting wines. I do a little research, and visit producers known for good wines.

Les meilleurs vins de France 2016

2848319119This book is published by the wine magazine La revue du vin de France. Of the three yearly books on French wines, this is the one I consult first. That does noe mean that I can say that it is better than the other two. It is more a matter of habit. This book was the first I got to know.

Buy it from:

Amazon FR

Guide Hachette des vins 2016

2013962649One of the three guides to French wines, published yearly. It is not a book I use when I go shopping, but to find out which wines to look for, and which producers to visit.

Buy from

Amazon FR.

Guide des vins

2081370581This is the third of the three yearly books on French wines. I always find it difficult to decide which book is the better, and end up buying alle three.

Buy from:

Amazon FR

I read regularly two French wine magazines, Terres de VIns and La Revue du vins de France, and use information from them when writing this series.

There are books in English on French wine. But to be honest, I mainly read French litterature on this subject. But as France is the leading wine producing country, the books on wine in general have a lot of information on French wine.

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.


Wine Grapes

A complete guide to 1,368 vine varieties, including their origins and flavours

1846144469Wine is made from grapes. A product will never be better than the raw material, and an agricultural product will get its basic taste and character from its raw material: The grapes. If we want to know wine, we must know the grapes, at least some of them.

Frankly, this is a book for nerds or professionals. 1 368 grape varieties. Where do they come from, where are they grown and what do they taste like? I use this book quite frequently.

This book too is available in a Kindle edition and in a hardcover edition. For an encyclopedie like this, I prefer the hardcover paper version, over the Kindle edition.

Buy from Amazon US: Hardcover edition, Kindle edition.

Buy from Amazon UK: Hardcover edition, Kindle edition.

Grapes & Wines: A comprehensive guide to varieties and flavours

1909108626If you want to know more about grapes, but think that Jancis Robinson's book is a bit too much (or a bit too expensive), you can choose Oz Clarke and Margaret Rand's Grapes & Wines: A comprehensive guide to varieties and flavours. This book was one of my favourites until I bought Jancis Robinson's book. There is a new edition since the one I have.

You can get it in a Kindle versions and a Hard Cover version. For a book like this, I prefer the paper version.

Get hard cover version from Amazon UK or Amazon US.

Get Kindle version from Amazon UK or Amazon US.


Tour de France 2016

Tour de France
Giro d'Italia


Giro d'Italia