This week the feature race for the pros is the Queen of the Spring Classics - Paris-Roubaix. I'm not sure why, but I think of this as a Belgian race even though it takes place in France. The race starts in Paris and goes North to the Roubaix Velodrome. The race is affectionately known as The Hell of the North due to the cobblestone roads, bad weather and bombed out terrain from World War II.
Instead of tracing the Paris-Roubiax route for this week's match, I have chosen to follow the Tour of the Basque Country, also known as the Vuelta ciclista Al Pais Vasco since the defending champion is Chris Horner a resident of Bend Oregon in the Pacific NW.
2005 DiStefano Grenache v. 2005 Las Pizarras del Jalon Garnacha Vinas Viejas
Tale of the tape
2005 DiStefano Grenache
96% Grenache and 4% Malbec from the Columbia Valley
Purchased for 17.99 at Wine World
2005 Las Pizarras del Jalon Garnacha Vinas Viejas
100% Estate grown Garnacha from the Calatayud DO in Northern Spain
Purchased for 16.99 from Garagiste
Round 1. First Opening:
DiStefano has a nose of strawberry, smoke and peat bog with a smokey toasted cherry palate that finishes with a sweet cherry cough syrup character that lingers on (unfortunately).
Las Pizarras has a nose of dry rose petals and light peat bog with a palate that features light red fruit and berries with a light berry finish.
The Pizarras is light, what some might call feminine. I have to give round one to the Pizarra, the character might be ligher than the DiStefano, but it is more appealing and hints at better things to come later in the bout.
Round 1 goes to Pizarras. I get the distinct feeling that both contestants have more to show. What do they have in store?
Round 2. One hour after Opening:
The DiStefano nose is still showing smoke, peat and now has a hint of hazelnut? along with strawberry and cherry. The palate is strawberry and rhubarb with a sweetly tart finish and, I am happy to say, the cherry cough syrup has gone away!
The Pizarras nose is mostly strawberry with some lightly dusty dried flower character. The palate is also showing strawberry and tart rhubarb with some cedar notes on the finish.
Round 2 was much closer than the first round. The scoring was close, but this round goes to the DiStefano.
Round three will decide the victor in this match. Which wine has the staying power to rise to the challenge and clinch the match in round 3?
Round 3. One day later
The DiStefano has regressed and is showing character more similar to when it was initially opened. The nose is mostly strawberry and raspberry with light hints of cedar. The palate is similar and sadly the tart cough syrup finish has returned.
The Pizarras is still showing dusty rose petals and raspberry on the and the palate is strawberry rhubarb with a tart and slightly sour finish.
The DiStefano didn't last over night and loses this round by tripping over its shoe laces coming out of the corner. The Pizarras didn't have a whole lot left in the tank but was able to fall on top of the DiStefano and get the three count to win the round.
Round 3 goes to Pizarras giving Spain the victory 2 to 1.
Wrap up and over all observations
This match was relatively close. Both the Washington Grenache and Spanish Garnacha were relatively light showing subtle character and flavors. Neither packed much of a punch which disappointed me. I expected more, especially from the Garnacha. I mean, with a name that sounds so powerful you should come out and kick sand in the face of Grenache.
Final tally: Pizarras 2, DiStefano 1.
I would give the Pizarras an 85 and the Distefano an 84.