Friday, May 31, 2013

Washington Pinot Grigio v. Alto Adige

Vincenzo Nibali stamped his Giro d' Italia victory with authority on the final mountain top finish last Saturday.  The final stages of the Giro were scheduled to test the climbing legs of the racers in the Dolomites in Northern Italy.  The only issue was a disagreement with Mother Nature.  The mountain passes were still getting snow in the last week of May!  The weather was so bad that the Friday stage was cancelled and Saturday's route had to be significantly modified.  Regardless, Nibali still demonstrated that he was the top dog in this year's grand tour of Italy.

Nibali finished his first Giro d' Italia general classification win with a flourish in the Alto Adige region. To honor his victory this week's matchup features a Washington Pinot Grigio vs an Italian Pinot Grigio from Alto Adige.

2012 Mellisoni Pinot Grigio v. 2012 Castelfeder 15 Pinot Grigio

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

California Barbera v. Piedmont

This past week we had two, that's right TWO, top level Stage Races happening at the same time on two different continents.  The Giro d' Italia continued with its second week of racing and the Tour of California countered with 8 high powered races from San Diego to Santa Rosa.

I called in my expert from the South (California, that is) to deliver a Battle Royale featuring California Barbera tangling with Barbera from the Homeland - Italy.  So, here it is.  Without further ado, the Main Event.  Brought to you by Foxall...

I’m really excited to be guesting on Lucha Vino’s blog again.  When I dropped him a line to point out that this might be a first—two stage races in great wine country at the same time—he immediately took me up on the idea of a Tour of California v. Giro matchup.  Sure, lots of cycling races travel through great wine country—France, Spain, Europe, Australia all have major stage races—but two at one time!  
Then I learned that Lucha had already stolen California’s thunder by pitting our grape—our grape, I tell you!—Zinfandel against its Italian counterpart Primitivo.  I could have been crushed.
But there’s not just one Italian grape in California.  The first major Californian wine makers were people like Robert Mondavi and the Gallos.  Just recently, the last of their generation, Frank Indelicato of Delicato Family Wines, left us. 

Those aren’t French or Spanish names, my friends, and Italian varieties were planted all over the place back in the day, at least when you could tell what was growing where.  Not all of them did well, and you’d be hard pressed to find any old-vine Nebbiolo or Dolcetto.  There’s a smattering of Sangiovese (an ex-girlfriend of mine once noted that Mount Diablo, where Stage 7 of the California tour ended today, looks amazingly like Chianti), but not much of it is good. (One huge exception:  Two Mile Polesky-Lentz Sangiovese.)
But those old Italian farmers drank Barbera, and eventually a lot of it wound up in the Central Valley.  Grown for volume, most of it wasn’t very good.  But up in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, they grow some excellent examples.  So, tonight’s match—think of it as the undercard to the Zin v. Primitivo with a couple middleweights-- pits a Barbera from Amador County, California, against an established grappler from Piedmont, in the foothills of the Alps.
2010 Montevina Winery Amador County Barbera v. 2009 Marchesidi Barolo Ruvei Barebera d’Alba

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Washington Zinfandel v. Puglia

The Giro d'Italia got underway in Sicily winding its way South and then East toward Puglia and the heel of the boot.  The first week of racing saw the race favorites attacking and battling much more than is usual for the first week of a Grand Tour.

At the first rest day Vincenzo Nibali is wearing the leader's jersey, also known as the Maglia Rosa.

The racers didn't spend much time in Puglia, but the route did pass through this South Eastern Italian wine region.  This week's match up features a Washington Zinfandel taking on a Primitivo from Puglia.  These grapes are considered to be the same, but with different names.

2009 II Vintners Zinfandel v. 2010 Feudi Di San Marzano Primitivo Puglia

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Washington Malbec v. Argentina

The Giro d’ Italia starts this weekend.  It is a race with great national pride and Italian’s are always motivated to win their country’s championship.

Just like the Giro, the Malbec grape is the source of great national pride.  Not in France where the grape originated.  No, the nation that prides itself on Malbec is Argentina.  Argentina has adopted the Malbec grape and made it the king variety of their country.

To honor the pride of Argentina (and Malbec Day) this week’s challenge features Malbec Madness.  In a match that sees the opponents going to extremes similar to Mad Magazine’s Spy vs. Spy we have Washington vs. Argentina.

2009 Laurelhurst Cellars Malbec v. 2010 Hand of God Old Vine Malbec