and further reflections on matching cyclists to wine
Modération regarde une verre de Vinho Verde
Scene: early evening in Lisbon
Modération: You know, Jim, it's high time you had a break. You have been slaving over that laptop all day. You deserve a drink. Time to enjoy the evening sunshine.
Jim: As usual, you’re right Modération! Time for a glass.
Modération: I’d suggest a nicely chilled Alvarinho Vinho Verde.
Jim: It would be rude to argue. I’ll do as you say.
Jim pours a refreshing draught of 2009 Deu la Deu and takes an exploratory sip while enjoying the neighbourhood stillness within the bustle of Lisbon.
Jim: Cheers, Modération.
Moderation: Santé, Jim
Jim: Attractively lemony, some weight – fine reviving aperitif.
Modération: How much is a bottle in local supermarket?
Jim: 5.99€ which I reckon is pretty good value for a pure Alvarinho. Pity it is not closed with a screwcap it would be so much more convenient as well as hopefully avoiding taint.
Modération: Jim, I’m sure you are right but I suspect that the Portuguese cork producers would raze the cooperative of Monção if they went for screwcaps!
A few precious moments of calm and tranquillity accompanied by an equal number of judicious sips.
Jim: Well this will not do, Modération, although it is extremely pleasant! It’s Monday and I have to post my weekly contribution to Les 5 du Vin by the start of Tuesday. I’ve long since given up trying to keep pace with my most energetic and distinguished colleagues, who not only post their weekly contributions on the nail but also regularly post over the weekends.
Modération: But Jim don’t forget that, at least, one of them is un jeune à la retraite!
Jim: So true Modération! Balzac would be proud of Michel’s productivity, although whether he would be prepared to exchange a garden in Saché for one in PerpiGNAN is probably a moot point. (Incidentally I do recognise the Angevin sweet wine producer in the impressive quiz.) Anyway enough of this! If I don’t get post up in time it will be tar and feathers, sackcloth and ashes, Rosé d’Anjou and Australian Chardonnay!
Modération: Well, at least, it’s not Rosé de Provence!
Jim: You know, Modération, you’re a very badly behaved bird!
Modération: Un autre petit canon?
Jim: Pourquoi pas?
Modération: So this week’s post?
Jim: Well I started a short series last week linking cyclists on the Tour de France with appropriate wines and left it hanging with Mark Cavendish.
Modération: A slight cop-out, perhaps?
Jim: Santé – what an observant bird you are! Yes last Monday it wasn’t at all clear how Mark’s Tour might pane out. Failing to negotiate a corner on the run into Brussels ruled him out of sprint he might well have won. Of course I posted before the nadir in Reims and before the consecutive triumphs in Montargis and Gueugnon.
Modération: He’s a successful sprinter, right?
Jim: Brilliantly moderate understatement! At just 25 Mark is already one of the Tour de France greats with 12 stage victories. He is now up into the top 20 all time riders, who have amassed the most stage victories in the world’s premier bike race. Mark is now on the same number of stage wins as other great past sprinters – Erik Zabel, Robbie McEwen, Mario Cipollini as well as five times winner of the Tour – Miguel Indurain. I’m sure that the enormity of what Cavendish has achieved in such a short time is better understood in France or Belgium. List of all-time stage winners here.
Modération … doubtless but a matching wine?
Jim: Yes good question! It has got to be explosive, so definitely a sparkling wine. Champagne is out as it is too branded and Mark remains intriguingly unpredictable and, from time to time, almost drowned by self-doubt. His more arsey side might suit an Australian sparkling Shiraz but his sprinting is too fine for that. Prosecco? Lemony precision – yes but too predictable. I’m tempted by a Loire PetNat – sufficiently unpredictable and variable but semi-sparkling isn’t explosive enough for Mark. Work in progress encore perhaps?
Modération: I hear Lance Armstrong blew up big time yesterday…
Jim: Indeed so, at nearly 39 years-old his body said enough, although he wasn’t helped by a bad crash just before the crucial climb of the Col de la Ramaz.
Modération: Did you match Lance with a wine last week?
Jim: Yeah. I went for a powerful Californian Zindandel but after Sunday I’ve had second thoughts. I now reckon Armstrong’s like a case of Bordeaux cru classé bought en primeur and drunk over a number of years. Given Lance’s tough, uncompromising nature it has to be Saint-Estèphe. The first four bottles you try are tannic, showing some promise but need time. The next seven are magically transformed – just unbelievably brilliant. Then having for some reason forgotten about them for the next three years you try the eleventh, which is still pretty good but not at the same level as the previous seven. A year later you try the last bottle – completely stuffed (complètement farci in Français classique) and over the hill.
Modération: c’est comme ça!
Jim: Well I must get back to work! Yikes only 30 minutes before this has got to be up!
Modération; I think I’ll go off and twitter…
L'abus des oiseaux est dangereux pour la santé, à consommer avec modération (Le Loi Avian 1991)