Thursday, September 10, 2015

WA Mourvedre v. Bullas Monastrell

The Vuelta Espana is nearing completion and this year's edition has seen plenty of drama as well as a unique route through the Spanish countryside.  The Vuelta always seems to come in third out of the three grand tours (the Tour de France and Giro d'Italia are typically considered #1 and #2 respectively).  That means the Vuelta organizers are always looking for ways to draw more interest to their race.

Oftentimes, that means an unusually high number of mountain top finishes combined with a unique route through Spain.  This year followed the same formula with eight mountain top finishes and a route that started in South West Spain before heading East and North.

The first segment of racing concluded in South Eastern Spain near the Bullas DO wine region.  The pro bike racers are typically on a very strict diet during these three week bike races.  However, with a day off, I'm sure the racers all probably relaxed a bit and enjoyed a glass of Monastrell on their first rest day. 

Monastrell is the Spanish version of Mourvedre.  So, this week's Lucha Vino match up features a Washington Mourvedre taking on a Spanish Monastrell from the Bullas DO.

2013 Kerloo Cellars Mourvedre v. 2009 Bodegas del Rosario Tesoro Monastrell

Friday, August 14, 2015

Washington Syrah v. Hermitage

The 2015 edition of the Tour de France wrapped up two weeks ago.  This year's edition of the race was packed with plenty of action, especially in the final week of the race when le Tour spent 4 days scaling multiple mountains in the French Alps.  The race came to conclusion on the classic climb of l Alpe d'Huez.  Whenever the tour visits this famous climb it is like you went to a party and a bike race broke out.  The hill is covered from top to bottom with manic fans that, literally, arrive weeks ahead of time to stake out their partying and viewing spots.

The final two stages through the Alps (finally) saw Nairo Quintana use his climbing skills to attack the race leader, Chris Froome.  The aggressive riding made for great racing action, unfortunately it was too little, too late.  Froome was able to manage his time losses and still win the overall title by a comfortable margin of one minute and thirty seconds.

Leading up to the final week the tour passed through the Rhone Valley.  I imagine the pro racers and their support crews all enjoyed some Rhone Valley Syrah on their way to the Alps.

This week's Lucha Vino challenge features a Norhtern Rhone style Syrah from McCrea Cellars taking on a French Syrah from le Hermitage.

2006 McCrea Cellars Cuvee Orleans v. 2006 Phillippe & Vincent Jaboulet Nouvelere Crozes-Hermitage

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Washington Chardonnay vs. Chablis

The Tour de France completed its first week of racing this past Sunday.  Normally the first week of a grand tour is relatively straight forward with multiple flat stages that favor the sprinters and a couple of more difficult "hilly" stages for the one day race specialists that are commonly called "roeleurs" or "puncheurs."

This year the first week of racing featured exciting racing every day with the yellow jersey changing hands almost daily.  There were big crashes, exciting finishes and general mayem.  In other words, an absolutely perfect compliment to the Lucha Vino challenge.

The first challenge of this year's le Tour features a Washington Chardonnay taking on a challenger from Chablis.

Cloudlift 2011 Chardonnay v.  Domaine Servin 2013 Les Pargues Chablis

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Washington Nebbiolo vs. Barolo

The Giro d' Italia just completed this past weekend.  This year's route started and finished in Northern Italy with plenty of action in the first and last week of the race.  Alberto Contador took the overall victory after building a lead in the individual time trial and withstanding some fireworks in the final mountain stages.

The Italian favorite, Fabio Aru, finished with style by winning the final two mountain top finishes in the race.  Those were good enough to cement his second place finish and to win the Best Young Rider award.

All the action in Northern Italy spills over into this week's Lucha Vino challenge with a Washington Nebiolo taking on a mighty Barolo challenger.

2012 Cotes de Ciel Nebbiolo v. 2011 Vietti Barolo Castiglione