Today the peloton saddles up for the first day of the Santos Tour Down Under, the biggest bike race on the Australian calendar. Going strong since its inception in 1999, the race is sure to be a draw for cycling fans the world over. All the big names are in attendance, from world road racing champion and perennial crowd favorite, Peter Sagan, to newcomers like home favorite Caleb Ewen. And this year, there is a women’s race as well.
Stage One courses through the Barossa countryside, so I thought I’d suggest a compatible wine to sip as you watch coverage. (For those of you on the east coast of the United States, watch live at 7 pm EST on Universal Sports.)
2013 Bugalugs Barossa Grenache ($22 retail; 14.5% alcohol)
Crafted from 80-year-old bush trained vines, this is an easy quaff that will satisfy your fruit cravings. In the glass, it’s bright magenta-red; in fact it looks like a juicy piece of candy. (Remember Jolly Ranchers?) Raspberry, strawberry, and cherry aromas are right up front, with a whiff of thyme and rosemary chiming in. The palate echoes the nose, with all those ripe, red fruits, plus some bitter cherry on the finish. There are fine tannins on the finish, and the exuberant fruit is balanced nicely by a ribbon of tart acidity. This is a really fun wine. Not for long contemplation, perhaps, but it might just put you in a terrific mood! (Especially if you’re suffering the deep freeze in the northern reaches of the US.)
Pairings? I’m thinking BBQ ribs, pulled pork sandwiches, or ground lamb sliders. Whatever puts a smile on your face.
Enjoy the race!