Tour de France by the Glass 2020 Stage 5: Heading West toward the Northern Rhône Valley

Wednesday’s race will be relatively flat, offering the climbers and GC contenders a day to recover while the sprinters grab the glory. The peloton turns west, away from the Alps and toward the Massif Central, where it will once again grapple with some serious climbs. But that’s a few days away and, in the meantime, we’re visiting one of my favorite wine regions, the Northern Rhône Valley.

My first wine love came in the form of a Guigal Condrieu, a white wine made from Viognier. I still remember how it warmed my soul on a cheerless winter day, forever changing how I felt about wine. There’s lots of Syrah here, too, and I tried an excellent and relatively affordable version from Crozes-Hermitage earlier this year.

Why not explore the region by sipping one of these wines while watching your replay of Stage 5? Hey, we can’t travel IRL, but a glass of French wine and the Tour de France can take us pretty far, at least in our imaginations. I’m already thinking about which wine I want to pull from the wine fridge . . .

About Stage 4

Well, it went as expected, at least until the final climb. Jumbo-Visma looked strong and positioned their leader, Slovenian Primoz Roglic, perfectly, allowing him to launch a final attack to the finish and the stage win. Right on his heels was fellow Slovene Tadej Pogacar, and then the rest of the GC contenders.

As Gabe and I watched, we thought, Wow, there are some small time gaps between the finishers, maybe even enough to upset the overall standings. With time bonuses of a few seconds awarded to the first men across the line, these gaps might cause the yellow jersey to change hands. We watched it a few times, waiting for the final standings to be revealed.

Needless to say, we were surprised to learn that at least the first ten riders all received the same official time. What???? As a result, the standings for GC remained unchanged and Julian Alaphilippe kept the yellow jersey. I still don’t agree with the accounting, but take a look for yourself and see what you think:

What to Expect from Stage 5

Most of the excitement will come in the final few kilometers, as the sprinters’ teams line up for the death-defying race to the finish. Expect the usual suspects to vie for top honors: Peter Sagan, Caleb Ewan, Sam Bennett, Alexander Kristoff, and Elio Viviani will all be there. It’s always fun to watch the jostling for position and – sometimes – physical contact between the racers as they go mano-a-mano to victory.

Stage Map Courtesy of www.letour.com

Before we reach Privas, though, the riders will be tempted by the aromas wafting in the air around the town of Montélimar, world-famous for its nougat candy. The tasty treat has its origins in Arabic culture – probably Turkey or Syria – and was brought to France by Phoenician traders who influenced every culture on the Mediterranean coast. Bon appétit!

White nougat from Montélimar (photo courtesy of Apartment Therapy
Palais des Bonbons et Nougat in Montélimar (photo: France-Voyage.com)

So now I’ve given you a wine recommendation and a little sweetness to start your day. Let’s hope it’s a good one, full of adventure and good taste.

See you tomorrow!

7 comments

  1. I didn’t know Condrieu was your first wine love! One of mine was St. Joseph – which I ordered at a restaurant not having a clue where it was located or that it was Syrah. 🙂 Northern Rhone is at the top of my favorite wine regions too.

    Liked by 1 person

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