Thursday, September 19, 2019

Washington Syrah vs. Gigondas

As the Tour de France headed South after visiting Burgundy they passed by the Northern Rhone.  Stage 8 departed Macon and finished in St. Etienne.  Thomas De Gendt won the stage covering 200 km and seven categorized climbs for nearly 4,000 metres of elevation gain.

This was also the day that Julian Alaphilipe regained the overall race leader's yellow jersey.

In honor of De Gendt's long range attack, this final installment of the Tour de France challenge features a Washington Syrah taking on Gigondas.

2017 Succession Syrah vs. 2016 Domaine la Bouissiere Gigondas

Monday, August 5, 2019

Washington Pinot Noir v. Burgundy

The Tour de France finished last Sunday with the traditional parade into Paris followed by several high speed laps around the Champs-Elysees.  This year's tour lacked any serious attacking by the top GC contenders.  They all appeared to be biding their time until the Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe would crack under the pressure of wearing the Yellow Jersey for nearly the entire race.

Things finally came to life in the last few days that featured three big days of climbing in the French Alps.  Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate and the penultimate climbing stage was cut short due to hail and mud slides.  The racers times were taken at the top of the Col d'Iseran and as a result Alaphillipe finally lost the race lead to Egan Bernal who only had to hold his GC leader position on Stage 20, which also ended up being shortened due to the same mud slides.

The race appeared to be building to a crescendo with Thibaut Pinot showing signs of being the top climber in the tour.  But everything came crashing down on Stage 19.  Not just the hail and mud slides, but also Pinot's race as he retired just 30 kilometers into the stage due to a torn thigh muscle.

This week's challenge pays tribute to Thibaut Pinot, one of France's top racers and strongest hope to once again have a Frenchman win le Tour.

Succession Wines 2017 Pinot Noir v. R. Dubois & Fils 2015 Nuits Saint Georges Burgundy

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Washington Chardonnay vs. Chablis

The Tour de France, Le Grande Boucle, the ultimate bike race, kicked off this week with three stages in Belgium before the racing actually began in France.  The first stages in Belgium brought some excitement and unexpected results with the Dutch team, Jumbo Visma, taking the first two stages and owning the yellow, race leader's, jersey.

The third stage finally delivered the racers to France and Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe did not disappoint.  He won the third stage and took the yellow jersey off the Dutchman, Mike Teunissen's shoulders.

With the tour racing through Northeastern France, the teams will spend at least a day in the Burgundy wine region with Stage 8 beginning in Macon.  Maconis  one of Burgundy's regions that features the Chardonnay grape.  This is an exciting region for French wine and it was also a day of exciting racing at le Tour with Alaphilippe retaking the race lead!  That gives us the perfect reason to match a Washington Chardonnay with a French Chablis.

2018 Succession Chardonnay vs. 2016 Roland Lavantureux Chablis

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Washington Cabernet Sauvignon vs. Santa Cruz

Most stage races are won in the mountains.  The month of May includes two top stages races, The Tour of California and the Giro d'Italia.  Both races provide multiple mountain stages for the climbers to enforce their will on the rest of the peleton.

In this year's Tour of California Tadej Pogacar made the decisive move on the sixth stage to Mt. Baldy.  He started the day in fourth and took the overall lead be winning the final mountain finish of this year's race.

Wine challengers can try to follow the same strategy.  In this week's challenge California heads to the Santa Cruz Mountains to find their challenger for Cabernet Sauvignon supremacy!

Saviah Cellars 2014 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon vs. Mount Eden 2014 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon