We are psyched to announce our sponsorship of the Blue Ribbon Alpine Challenge–in conjunction with Blue Ribbon Restaurants and Bike Express–a women's professional National Race Calendar three-stage race, this coming August 20-22nd. In its second year, BRAC was created as the only professional cycling event for women to be held during the all-male USA Pro-Cycling Challenge. To launch the event, Jessica van Garderen, the race organizer and two-time U.S. elite national road champion, is hosting a celebration of mountain stages in Boulder, CO, on July 12th, for which we are supplying the wines. And because she will be screening that day's Stage 12 of the Tour de France during the party, we selected three wines to honor a variety of mountain stages as the peloton climbs through the Alps.
Beginning in Annonay Davézieux, a pips throw southeast of Saint-Étienne in Rhone, Stage 12 ascends two Category 1 climbs and finishes in Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne, in Savoie. To toast the day's stage, we selected La Ferme St. Pierre Cotes de Ventoux Rosé "Cuveé Juliette" 2011. From Ventoux–a 22.7km climb that is often on the Tour's route–"Cuveé Juliette" is a blend of 80% Grenache and 20% Cinsault, that's made at the hands of Paul Vendran who meticulously farms his vineyards sans doping, or rather, without chemical intervention.
And though the Tour doesn't wind through France's Basque Country this year, the Pyrenees are an integral part of the Vuelta España, a three-week stage race that begins August 18th and finishes in September. In honor of such grueling ascents, we're serving Gurrutxaga Txakolina 2011, a slightly effervescent light, crisp blend that includes Hondarribi Zurri, an indigenous grape that's native to Basque Country. Imported by De Maison Selections, Gurrutxaga Txakolina is the perfect accompaniment to the most challenging of climbs.
To not forget the Giro d'Italia, which occurs in May and often sends the peloton screaming up the sides of Sicily's Mt. Etna, we sent along some Passopisciaro Scinniri 2010. Acquired by Andrea Franchetti, of Tenuta di Trinoro fame, Passopisciaro consists of 40 acres of vines at 1,000 meters, planted in mineral rich lava soil. A blend of three grapes, including the indigenous Nerollo Mascalase, which yields pale, lean, "northern" red wines, Scinniri is in the glass that we raise to toast Jessica's husband, Tejay Van Garderen, who's riding for Team BMC in the Tour de France, sitting in 8th place overall and currently wearing the White Jersey!!!!