It didn't take long for the pro racers to return to France. This past week featured a short stage race just outside of Lyon, the Tour de L'Ain Most of the big names are resting, or racing in other locations. This gave a young racer from France an opportunity for his first professional victory. The race is known as the 'race of friendship' and has had a different winner in each of its 25 editions.
There is no friendship in the wrestling ring. This week features a Rhone inspired Washington Luchador taking the heat to a French challenger from the Cotes du Rhone.
2007 Chateau Faire le Pont Provence v. 2007 J Vidal Fleury Cotes du Rhone
Tale of the Tape
45% Syrah, 31% Grenache, 24% Mourvedre from the Columbia AVA
Purchased at the winery for $25.00.
2007 J Vidal Fleury Cotes du Rhone
65% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 10% Mourvedre and 5% "some others" with Carignon
Purchased from Garagiste for $7.99
Round 1. First opening
This is going to be an interesting match. These Luchadors have agreed to bring Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre into the ring as their primary weapons. Washington has selected Syrah for its power base, while France has gone with Grenache. Who will win the battle?
Faire le Ponte is bringing a powerful and complex attack with a nose of citrus lemon peel, dark cherry and some savory paprika. The palate follows the nose with a 1-2 punch showing dark cherry, notes of smoky earth, some white pepper spice and light notes of vanilla all rounded out by a slightly dry finish of cracked pepper and vanilla.
Vidal Fleury is showing some country strength leading off with a nose showing earthy barnyard funk, tart dried cherries and white pepper. The palate has some classic southern France tobacco leaf spice along with bing cherry and menthol that leads into a dry spicy finish.
Faire le Ponte delivers some monstrous body slams to the French Luchador and takes round one.
Round 2. One hour later
Faire le Ponte is out to prove that the first round was no fluke. The Washington Luchador is evolving and getting spicy with medium cherry, light smoke and earthy white pepper and clove spices. The palate shows dark cherry, cinnamon, clove spices with hints of vanilla and dry cocoa powering into a finish of light cocoa powder that includes hints of clove and pepper.
Vidal Fleury is showing some stamina too with a nose of rich currants, dried cherries and hints of asian spice and menthol. The palate fires off with more spicy tobacco leaf, dark black cherry and dry cedar spices. The finish of cracked pepper spices completes the package.
This round was closer with both Luchadors switching up to a faster, elusive and agile style. The score is close with Vidal Fleury taking the round based on style points awarded by the judges.
Round 3. One day later
The final round will settle this match. Each Luchador enters the ring with one point.
Faire le Pont switches back to the power attack for the final round. The nose shows deep dark fruit, smoke and white pepper with some subtle floral overtones. The palate is just as bruising with dark fruit, blue berry, tart spices and cracked pepper that lead to a finish that has a touch of vanilla bean and Asian spices. The power of the Washington Syrah is shining through and inspiring Faire le Pont to squeeze the French challenger into submission with a crushing sleeper hold.
Vidal Fleury is struggling to break free throwing up a funky smoke screen on the nose that also includes a blast of black cherry power. The palate adds another power boost with dark red fruit, tart tobacco leaf spices and a dry finish with cedar tobacco leaf spices.
It was a valiant effort, but the Vidal Fleury could not break free of the powerful hold applied by the Washington Luchador. Chateau Faire le Pont takes the final round and the match!
Wrap up and overall observations
These two luchadors showed the character of their respective terroir.
The Chateau Fair le Pont had a healthy dose of Washington Syrah character. Not surprising considering that Syrah was the dominant grape in this GSM bland.
Likewise, the J Vidal Fleury Cotes du Rhone demonstrated plenty of Southern Rhone Grenache style with an abundance of spicy tobacco leaf character. This was a great value at just $7.99 a bottle.