Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Washington Grenache v. Cannonau di Sardegna

 
The 100th Edition of the Giro d' Italia kicked off Friday May 5th on the island of Sardegna (or as we say in the states, Saridinia).  The first three stages featured some exciting racing with some unexpected results in the opening stage and stage 3.

The racers are already enjoying their first rest day on Monday as the race moves to Sicily for an early test of the climbers legs on Mt Etna.  Mt. Etna may be more famous for volcanic eruptions than bike racing.  The Giro organizers are always looking to inject excitement into the race.  Maybe they are hoping for an eruption while the racers scale this active volcano!


This week's Lucha Vino matchup features a Washington Grenache taking on a Cannonau challenger from Sardegna.


2013 Novelty Hill Grenache vs. 2012 Gabbas LiLLove' Cannonau di Sardegna


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Washington Gruner Veltliner vs. Austria

The Tour of the Alps is the new name for the Giro Trentino.  The race starts in Austria and heads due South with the majority of the stages taking place in Italy.  The overall winner of this year's edition was Geraint Thomas, a strong rider with a big motor that usually rides in support of Chris Froome at Team Sky.

The first stage of the race started in Innsbruck and finished in Hungerburg.  Michele Scarponi took the opening stage showing that he was working into good form to be Astana's team captain for the Giro d'Italia.  Sadly, Scarponi was hit, and killed, by a car when heading out for a training ride this past Friday (April 21).

Michele Scarponi was a friend to nearly every cyclist in the pro peloton.  Several riders dedicated their victories to him over the weekend.  Following their lead, this Lucha Vino matchup honors Michele Scarponi with a matchup of Gruner Veltliners, one of Austria's primary wines grapes.

2015 Syncline Gruner Veltliner vs. 2014 Winzer Krems Kellermeister Privat Gruner Veltliner

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Washington Syrah vs. Australian Shiraz

January is the height of Winter in most Northern hemisphere countries.  The pro cyclocross racers are peaking for their National and then World Championships while the road cyclists are busy looking for warm dry climates to train in.

Not in Australia!  January in Australia is the height of Summer and brings their National road championships.  January also features several top level pro road races.  These races are typically dominated by the Australian racers due to the timing of their National championships.  Also, most stage racers are just starting their training program with an eye on big races to come in May, June and July.

Caleb Ewan dominated the early season races in Australia.  His sprint victories in The Tour Down Under, Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic and The Australian Elite Men's Criterium Championship showed everybody that he may be the next top level pro sprinter to come from Down Under.  We'll see how things play out in the Tour de France in July.  That will be the next big opportunity for Ewan to show he may be ready to take the sprinter's baton from Robbie McEwan.

This week's matchup features a Washington Syrah taking on an Australian Shiraz in honor of the early season Australian racing.

2013 Skylite Cellars Walla Walla Syrah vs. 2014 Penfolds Bin 28 Kalimna Shiraz

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Washington Intrastate Primitivo Throw Down

The third, and final, Giro d'Italia installment features Primitivo, a grape grown predominantly in Puglia.  The Puglia region (also known as Apulia) is located in "The Heel" of Italy's boot. The 100th edition of the Giro d'Italia begins in Sardinia, then travels to Sicily and finally crosses to the mainland on day 6.  On day 7 the racers will visit Primitivo's homeland

An interesting fact about Primitivo is that it is related to Zinfandel.  Some DNA tests show that the grapes are the same, some tests say they are different.  One thing is certain - you will mostly find Zinfandel in California and Primitivo in Italy.

For this challenge I had a hard time locating a challenger from Italy.  What to do?  What about an intrastate match?  Washington v. Washington with a twist - Washington Winemaker v. Oregon Winemaker, both using Primitivo grown in Washington.  Game on!

2014 Casa Smith Porcospino Primitivo v. 2011 Angel Vine Columbia Valley Primitivo.