Friday, October 3, 2014

Washington Albarino v. Rias Baixas

Spain has seen plenty of race action over the past 5 weeks.

First there was the Vuelta Espana, Spain's grand tour always seems to take a back seat to the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France.  For that reason the Vuelta's organizers are always looking for new, and challenging, routes.  They changed things up this year by finishing with an Individual Time Trial in the Rias Baixas region rather than the usual flat, fast run into Madrid.  The finish might have been unusual, but the winner was certainly familiar - Alberto Contador recovered from breaking a bone in his leg in July to take the Vuelta victory in September.

Next came the World Championships that just wrapped up this past weekend.  There were some great races and another well known, yet unexpected, rider took the Gold Medal in the Men's Time Trial.  Brad Wiggins has had an wild ride the past three years, starting with a win of the Tour de France, followed by a falling out with his team and then culminating with the Gold medal last week.  Throw in a relatively unknown rider from Poland winning the Men's Road Race and Marian Vos' not winning the Women's World Championship road races and you have the recipe for an exciting week of racing!

In a salute to Northern Spain this week's matchup features an Albarino from Washington taking on a Rias Baixas Albarino.

Aniche Cellars 2013 Come and Go Albarino v. Paco & Lola Albarino

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Washington Tinto v. Rioja

The Vuelta Espana packed plenty of action into the past three weeks.  There wasn't a whole lot of drama or suspense once Quintana crashed his TT bike and Contador took the lead, but there was still plenty of exciting racing.

The Spaniards really seemed to be motivated for a good showing in their home race.  Alejandro Valverde, Joaquin Rodriguez and Alberto Contador were consistently at the front of the pack when the roads turned steep.

The Vuelta Espana is known for its strenuous mountain stages and mountain top finishes.  This edition stayed true to form and included some mountainess terain in Northern Spain passing by the Rioja wine region.  This week's matchup pays tribute to the mountains of Northern Spain and the racers that ride their bikes up these mountains like they have wings (or tiny hidden electric motors on their bikes).

This matchup features a Washington Tinto taking on a traditional red blend from Rioja.

2009 Pomum Tinto v. 2009 Bodegas las Cepas Cinco Denarios

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

WA Wine Month Syrah Slugfest

August is Washington Wine Month and I've got the fever!  The only cure is more Washington wine...

This week's matchup features two Washington State Syrahs that are eager to duke it out for state supremacy.

In the blue corner representing the Walla Walla AVA is the Balboa 2009 Syrah

And in the red corner representing the Royale Slope is the Southard 2009 Syrah

Monday, August 4, 2014

Washington Merlot v. St. Emillion

The latest edition of the Tour de France finished up during the last weekend of July.  This year's tour was light on drama in the context of overall victory - Vincenzo Nibali established a lead in the first week of the race and never let go.  Well, he did give up the Yellow Jersey on Bastille Day "as a gift to the French" according to his team's Director Sportif, Alexander Vinokourov.

The race itself was still interesting as the route traced its way through the Alpes and the Pyrenese mountain ranges.  This year the race spent a considerable amount of time traversing the South of France and through the Pyrenese where the final mountain top finish was waiting for the racers.  Once the Hautacam was conquered all that stood in the way of the Paris finish was a sprinter's stage and long (54 km) Time Trial.

The Time Trial started in Bergerac and finished in Periguex, slightly East of the Bordeaux wine region.  That is close enough to Bordeaux to earn top billing on this week's Lucha Vino challenge.

2009 Alexandria Nicole Gravity Merlot v. 2009 Chateau Lyonnat Lussac St. Emilion

The French had their best Tour de France finish in almost 20 years placing two riders on the podium in second and third place.  Can the Ch. Lyonnat follow up that performance with a victory in this week's challenge.  Let's find out...