Thursday, September 27, 2012

Washington GSM v. Cotes du Rhone

This past weekend featured the World Championship Time Trial and Road Races for men and women.  This is a time of year where you might discover some up and coming talent. It is also a time to see if any of the old guard still have anything left in the tank to push for the coveted rainbow stripes that represent the World Champion.

The racing is a bit different than usual since the teams are all based on nations rather than the usual trade teams in the pro tour.  You get some unusual pairings working to set one another up to win the road race and wear the World Champion Jersey for the next 12 months.  This year's winner, Philippe Gilbert, was supported by one of his primary rivals in the one day classics - Tom Boonen.  Their strategy worked to perfection and Gilbert dropped all his rivals on the final climb up the famous Cauberg and taking the victory and bringing the World Championship home to Belgium for the 26th time.

This past Friday was Grenache day, an up and coming red grape variety found around the world.  In honor of Grenache Day and the surprises that can be found in the World Championship Road Races I opened a Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre blend from Washington to take on a Cotes du Rhone.

This matchup featured very little Southern Hospitality and a whole lot of Dirty South.

2008 Nota Bene Una Note v. 2007 Ch. Simian Jocandez Cotes du Rhone

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Washington Sangiovese v. Emilia Romagna

With all the recent doping controversies you have to wonder at the UCI sanctioning a memorial race for Marco Pantani, aka Il Pirata.  Pantani was extremely popular (and successful) as a professional bike racer in the 90s and the early 2000s.  His career was shadowed by rumors and allegations of performance enhancing drug use.  He was suspended several times and made a number of comebacks.  Unfortunately, he was personally tormented by the accusations and fell in to recreational drug abuse.  Il Pirata died of a cocaine overdose in 2004.

The memorial Marco Pantani road race began the same year of Pantani's death and the latest edition was held this weekend in central Italy covering 183 km from Pantani's hometown of Cesenatico to Cesena, his birthplace.

2007 Tulpen Sangiovese v. Drei Dona 2007 Notturno Sangiovese

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Washington Tempranillo v. Ribera Del Duero

The Vuelta a Espana wrapped up this weekend in Madrid.  The race was going along smoothly for Joaquim Rodriguez who was able to maintain his overall lead through the Stage 13 Individual Time Trial (hills are his forte' not turning a big gear).  Maybe Rodriguez got over confident.  Or maybe Alberto Contador was just waiting for the right moment.  No matter the reason, Alberto Contador launched a massive attack, and took control of the race, on stage17 to Fuente De.

Rodriguez lost over two minutes to Contador, along with the race lead, on the way to the Fuente De mountain top finish.  Alberto Contador grabbed hold of the race lead and never let go leading the race all the way in to Madrid (his home town).  You could say that Contador stormed the race like a bull storming a matador.  And that would be fitting for the racer from Madrid where bull fighting is still on Spain's entertainment menu.

This week's matchup honors a bull that defied the odds.  The name of that bull is Idilico.

2009 Idilico Tempranillo v. 2010 Frontaura y Victoria Nexus Cosecho

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Washington Albarino v Rias Baixas

The Vuelta a Espana doesn't get as much attention as the Giro d'Italia or Tour de France, but it packs a lot of action into three weeks of racing.  And, to keep things interesting the racers had to transfer from Barcelona to the North Western regions of Spain starting the second week of racing in the Rias Baixas region.

The racers have been testing their legs, and lungs, in the high mountains of NW Spain in the past week.  Joaquim Rodriguez has held onto the leader's Red Jersey responding to every move made by Alberto Contador so far.

I break out the Albarino this week as I enjoy the continued warm weather in the Pacific North West and the racing in the North West of Spain.

2011 Castillo de Feleciana Albarino v. 2011 Carballal Sete Cepas