2009 Le Tour: Café du Nord, Menetou-Salon
Le menu sportif
After the entrées – Roland Garros, Wimbledon, The World Cup and the Giro d’Italia – le plat principal: Le Tour de France.
For the moment there have been more crashes than thrills – leading up to the sprint on Monday and now yesterday’s stage through the Ardennes.Today’s stage that includes sections of the famous pavé around Arenberg-Porte du Hainault may well be similarly crash-affected.
Doubtless more on the racing next week but now a few thoughts on choosing wines that match the star riders. Let’s start with the seven times winner, Lance Armstrong. Clearly it has to be an American wine and a powerful, four-square Zindandel is the obvious choice especially as it has a touch of spice like the questions that continue to swirl around the multiple champion. Come to think of it, Bulls Blood might be the right choice give Floyd Landis’ latest revelations.
Wine choice for Australian Cadel Evans is not that different from Lance Armstrong – something suitably butch, so it has to be Barossa either a pure Shiraz or a Cabernet Sauvignon-Shiraz like sweet and purely black-fruited 1997 Signature from Yalumba.
In contrast for the slenderly built Frank and Andy Schleck one needs look no further than a Riesling from Luxembourg. The choice for the powerful and swift Fabian Cancellara is a little more difficult. Difficult to see a Swiss wine that would be the ideal match, so I suggest we have to look to the Northern Rhône – Hermitage with a splash of Côte Rôtie.
Then there is the Spaniard, Contador, going for his third Tour win. Speedy at time trials and fleet-footed in mountains rules out Priorato and probably wines from Toro. A fine Rioja is a possibility but I fancy a better match would be a Palo Cortado or a fine dry Amontillado – something that has both some body but also a rapier precision.
Then there is sprinter Mark Cavendish – a complex question best held over to next week.