Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Washington Barbera vs. Piemonte

The past two weeks have featured several major races in Northern Italy.  Milan San Remo is one of the biggest single day classics on the pro racer's calendar.  What makes the race unique is the distance.  Milan San Remo is the longest race of the season at 298 km.  The Pogio and Cipressa are well known climbs that come near the finish of the race.  Even though these hills are given special reverence, they rarely make a substantial difference in the outcome of the race.

This year was somewhat different.  There was a crash near the base of the Cipressa that caught out the eventual winner, Arnaud Demare, the first Frenchman to win La Classicissima in 21 years.  The issue at hand is the question: Did he, or Didn't he?  There is a controversy surrounding how Demare was able to reconnect with the lead group after being caught behind the crash on the Cipressa.  His race data suggests that Demare recorded the fastest time up the Cipressa.  Sprinters aren't known for their hill climbing capabilities.  They are known for occasionally getting a favorable tow up a hill by their team car.  We may never know the truth.  Unfortunately, this could leave a dark shadow over Demare's victory. 

This week's challenge salutes the first of the Spring Classic Monuments with a matchup that features Washington Barbera taking on Piemonte.

2013 Hard Row to Hoe Barbera vs. 2013 Etorre Germano Barbera d'Alba

Thursday, March 10, 2016

WA Mourvedre vs. Bandol

The South of France has some of the more appealing weather this time of year.  That is reflected in the number of races happening in the Provence region in February.  In the past few weeks the Tour de Mediterranean and Tour la Provence both took place.

For the most part these races are an opportunity for the seasoned pros to stretch their legs and test their fitness.  The neo-pros seize these early season races as their chance to prove they are worthy of bigger contracts and possible team captain opportunities in the future.

The veterans ruled the day at both races with Thomas Voeckler taking the overall at the Tour la Provence, while Andriy Grivko claiming victory at the Mediterranean.

This week's challenge pits a Washington Mourvedre against Bandol.

2010 McCrea Cellars Mourvedre v. 2012 Domaine Sorin Mourvedre

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Washington Syrah v. Australia

The pro cycling tour kicks off with a bang Down Under in January.  The Australian National Championships, Tour Down Under and Jayco Herald Sun Tour all take place in January.  The Tour Down Under features my favorite hill climb in all of cycling - "Corkscrew Hill"  This may not be the most difficult, or decisive, climb that the pros face during the year, but it definitely has the best name!

The Australian racers are always in top form for these races since they have just finished competing for their National Championships.  This year was no exception with plenty of battling for the top spot on the Tour Down Under podium.  Ultimately, Simon Garrens took the overall victory after winning back to back stages (stage 3 and stage 4), including Corkscrew Hill, to establish his superiority.

This month's matchup features a Washington Syrah from Red Mountain taking on a Syrah/Petite Sirah blend from the McLaren Vale.

2012 Ward Johnson Syrah v. 2012 Flegenheimer Brothers Reserve Red

Thursday, December 31, 2015

WA Cabernet Sauvignon v. California

The year is coming to a close and the pro cyclists are starting to announce their race programs for 2016.  Like any other sport, there is plenty of optimism and excitement as a new season begins.

Lucha Vino has caught the fever for a new season too!  The only cure isn't more cowbell.  No, the cure will be found by exploring more wines from around the world in 2016, looking for challengers to Washington State's excellent stable of wine Luchadors. 

As a conclusion to 2015, this installment features Washington and California Cabernet Sauvignon locked up in an epic struggle for supremacy.

2005 Gamache Vintners Reserve Vineyard Select v. 2005 Dehlinger Russian River Valley Cabernet Sauvignon