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

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