Saturday, January 31, 2015

Washington Syrah v. Barossa Shiraz

The Tour Down Under is another top level Southern Hemisphere bike race the pros like to use for early season racing.  It gives them a chance to stretch their legs and relax with a Fosters (or two).  The pros with bigger contracts might spend more of their time tasting the wines of Australia culminating with The Grange from Penfolds.

Most of the pro racers head to Australia for the warm weather and casual early season racing.  The race is well organized and offers an opportunity to visit a part of the world that doesn't host many top level races.  The Australian pros always show up in top form ready to battle it out for the overall victory.  This year was no exception with Rohan Denis taking the overall victory.

Speaking of battling and victory, this week's challenge features an Australian Shiraz from John Duval -  the Penfolds' Grange master himself - taking on a unique Washington Syrah from Owen Roe.

2011 Owen Roe Ex Umbris v. 2012 John Duval Entity

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Washington Malbec v. Mendoza

Let's kickoff the new year in Argentina.  Those are the words you are likely to hear from a wine drinker that favors Malbec.  Those are also the words you are likely to hear from many professional road cyclists at this time of year.

One of the first popular stage races of the year takes place in Argentina.  The warmer weather makes it a great place for the pros to start their race schedule as they build toward their season's major race objectives that will take place in Italy, France or Spain.

The Tour de San Luis gives the riders a chance to knock the rust off and begin to put some race miles into their legs.  It also gives us a great chance to see how Washington Malbec stacks up against Argentinian Malbec.

Argentina has become the new home of Malbec ever since France dropped Malbec like a bike racer that just failed their latest out of competition drug test.

On to our first Lucha Vino challenge of the new year.  Where, neither of the combatants have failed a drug test (at least as far as we know...).

2008 Nota Bena Malbec vs. 2010 Achaval Ferrer Mendoza Malbec


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Washington Merlot Maniacs

The pro cyclist's road race season has ended and now cyclocross is where the action is.  The change in season signals a change in the Lucha Vino Challenges.  The spotlight will start shining on wines from non-cycling regions as well as some interesting intrastate challenges.  This week's matchup had its origins rooted in October, AKA Merlot Month.

Merlot dominant blends from Washington battle it out in the inaugural Merlot Maniacs challenge.  It's Walla Walla vs. a Red Mountain / Horse Heaven Hills / Yakima Valley Tag Team in a no holds barred Washington State Merlot fueled feud!

Kontos Cellars 2008 Alatus v. Nota Bene Cellars 2008 Miscela

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