The Tour Survival Kit 2018
We are at now at our 3rd Tour de France Mixed Dozen and it is always our most popular of the year. Once again Le Tour organisers have conspired against us and avoided some obvious or major wine regions. This has presented a unique challenge but one that has ultimately produced a fantastic selection of wines, beers and cider to celebrate all the highs and lows (both literally and figuratively) of this gruelling race. Join us as we make are way through Frances hidden corners, coastal trails and mountain vistas and enjoy something a little unique, a little fun and hopefully completely delicious!
The tour starts in the Loire and makes its way through Brittany and up through the northern most parts of France. Along the way in this first half we have for you a zippy and fresh Grenaudier Muscadet to ease you into the first stage. Next we have some fantastic little blends and juicy reds from the heart of the Loire with the La Ficelle Pourcain Rouge and the La Roulerie Cab Franc/Gamay blend. To finish this first half we will knock the top of a crunchy, country cider from Cidre Sehedic as well as a tall and well deserved bottle of Les Trois Monts Belgium inspired brew.
The second part of the Tour takes us through the French alps and down through the Rhone and into the Midi. Duspaquier Savoie is one of the few Roussette based wines you will see in Australia and is a zippy and fleshy white. As we move further south things warm up a little with a juicy little 100% grenache from La Sentier in Vaucluse and a spicy and earthy Ogier CDR from the lauded 2015 vintage.
As we come to a close we make our way through the great south west of France. The Bellefontaine Malbec sets us off with a rustic and broody number followed by its even more powerful cousin the Brumont Tannat/Merlot blend. Both these wines are reflective of the unforgiving and striking terroir of the region. To finish is a punchy and spicy Jurancon blend to help ease the palate.
To finish there is NOTHING else to celebrate with but a bottle of Andre Clouet 100% Pinot Noir NV. Plush and rich and an absolutely more-ish drop. Viva Les France!
The Drinks List Team
1. LA ROULERIE LE P’TIT CAB (CAB FRANC-GAMAY) 2016
STAGE 1 - Noirmoutier-l'lle to Fontenay-le-Comte
What a way to finish this stage with a crunchy fresh red blend from Tourraine in the Loire. This 100% carbonic maceration so is full of lifted and spicy pastille fruits. There is delicious and spicy edge to the cool and crunchy fruits as well as wild herb note that penetrates the sweet fruit flavours and aromas. Its mid-weight and a ton of fun to drink. You could even try it chilled on a hot day - remember its summer in France. PWS
2. LA FICELLE SAINT POURCAIN ROUGE GAMAY NOIR 2017
Rhone Valley, France
Stage 2 - Mouilleron-Saint-Germain to La Roche-sur-Yon
3. GRENAUDIERE MUSCADET SEVRE ET MAINE SUR LIE 2016
LOIRE , FRANCE
Stage 4 - La Baule to Sarzeau
This estate has been in the hands of the Olivier family for over 200 years. The current proprietors, brothers Guy and Jean-Luc have been blessed with some extremely old vines on classic sites. This combined with careful viticulture and Vinification helps them produce fantastic wines.
Classic and clean with a minerraly nose and quartzy edge to the clean fruit aromas. Nice aromatics that lead into a light to medium palate with lovely minerality and zippy fruit falvours. The perfect way to quench your first on the coast while waiting for your rivals to catchu up. PWS
4. CIDRE SEHEDIC 750ML
Stage 5 - Lorient to Quimper
La Cidrerie, created in 1950 by François Sehedic father, has been specialized in the production of drinks from apples to cider of ancient varieties specific to the Breton terroir and particularly to the prestigious Fouesnant. Marie Laure Séhédic and her husband Christian Daniélou continue today to highlight the area. The cider house holds organic and biodynamic certification.
Traditional cider from Brittany with a funky twist to its bright and inviting nose. A touch of sweetness that finishes nice and dry and is wonderfully rustic in its style. This is true farmhouse cider and a nice way to finish stage 5. PWS
5. TROIS MONTS 8.5% 750ML
Stage 7 - Fougères to Chartres
This is the longest stage in the Tour so what better way to celebrate a podium finish (or just finishing at all) then to crack the top off the largest beer in reach! Drawn from wooden barrels brewed by infusion with strong and hearty Flemish hops. There is lovely, light, fruity and estery hops to offset the golden malts. Country-side beer that is perfect for an afternoon tipple. TDL
6. DOMAINE VIN DE SAVOIE DUPASQUIER JACQUERE 2014
Stage 12 - Bourg-Saint-Maurice to Alpe d’Huez
The Dupasquier family have been farming the steep slopes of Jongieux in the French alps for five generations now. These steep sloped vineyards are rocky and shallow making the wines of the region zippy and aromatic while the Jacquere grape tends to ripen late which helps layer on some flesh and richness. There is lovely lifted citrus/ bergamot aroma to the wine with a gentle blanched almond lilt to the clean fruits. Mid weight in structure this is reminiscent of Chablis in a way with a little more fat on the palate. A delicious drop and something rather rare here in Australia. PWS
7. OGIER LE TEMPS EST VENU COTES DU RHONE 2015
Stage 13 - Bourg d’Oisans to Valence
The 2015 Côtes Du Rhône Temps Est Venu comes from vines in the Plan de Dieu and Visan, and is mostly Grenache with smaller amounts of Syrah and Mourvèdre. It's vinified and aged all in concrete, and was bottled earlier this year. Spice, black raspberries, herbes de Provence and dried earth notes all emerge from this medium-bodied, supple, elegant red that has gorgeous sweetness of fruit and impeccable balance. It's a no-brainer purchase and will drink well for 4-5 years. JEB DUNNUC
8. LE SENTIER VAUCLUSE 2016
Stage 14 - Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteuax to Mende
Falling south of this stage and caught in between the Midi and the heart of the hilly Rhone we come to Vaulcluse. 100% Grenache and plenty of charm from this little belter of the wine. This was one of my favourites when selecting wine for this year's tour. Spicy red fruits and white peppery notes dominate the nose that follows on to a fleshy and medium body palate. Again, dominated by red fruits and that same peppery spice lurking in the background. There is wild herb element to that gently meanders through the palate and nose. Not super complex but super tasty! PWS
9. BELLEFONTAINE MALBEC 2015
Stage 16 - Carcassonne to Bagnères-de-Luchon
Heading into the heartland of the great Southwest we see a distinctive move toward more deep-set and rich wines perfect to match the rugged terrain. Malbec from this area can often be a little too brawny for my liking but the Bellefontaine strikes a beautiful balance between its rustic charms and heady fruit. Dark and brooding on the nose with whole black pepper, baking spice and lifted blue and dark mulberry fruits. The palate has a nice density to it that is cut with earthy tannins finished with a hint of liquorice and peppery spice. PWS
10. BRUMONT MERLOT TANNAT 2015
Stage 18 - Trie-sur-Baïse to Pau
Others were there before him, but it was Alain Brumont who put Madiran on the wine map. He left the family domaine at Boucasse in 1980, dissatisfied by his fathers lack of ambition for quality, and set up on his own. In a mere 20 years, Brumont has succeeded by a combination of breathtaking chutzpah and brilliant winemaking in creating the largest fine wine domaine in the south-west and establishing without a doubt that Tannat is a first division quality grape variety. The basic Merlot Tannat is brilliant. CLIVE COATES The Wines and Domaines of France
11. CH CAUHAPE JURANCON CHANTE DE VIGNES 2016
Stage 19 - Lourdes to Laruns
12. ANDRÉ CLOUET Grand Reserve NV
Stage 21 - Houilles to Paris
There is no other way to celebrate this epic achievment but with a bottle of Champagne, so gather your friends and join us all for the grand finale!
Bouzy and Ambonnay are the epicentre of pinot noir in Champagne, and the Clouet family is the priviledged custodian of eight hectares of estate vines in the best middle slopes of both villages. These are rich and concentrated expressions of pinot noir, wines of deep complexity, multi faceted interest and engaging character, yet with remarkable restraint and sense of control. Recent tastings confirm my impression that this small and relatively unknown grower ranks high among Champagne's finest practitioners of pinot noir - and expresses one of the best value of all. TYSON STELZER