Tour de France 2017 and Cono Sur Bicicleta Wines

If you read my blog during the summer months, you know that I love cycling. I used to ride a lot, just about every day in fact, until multiple sclerosis took the sight in my left eye five years ago. Since then, it’s been a stationary bike for me! But that hasn’t dampened my enthusiasm for watching the three Grand Tours – cycling’s biggest, baddest … Continue reading Tour de France 2017 and Cono Sur Bicicleta Wines

Dreaming of France: What’s Your Story? #Winophiles

When was your last visit to France? Mine was in December, a trip I’d been anticipating for a decade-and-a-half. Truth be told, though, I had traveled the streets of Paris on many occasions over the years – every time I daydreamed to escape reality, I landed in the Place des Vosges with its exquisite shops, or on the banks of the Seine watching the bâteaux … Continue reading Dreaming of France: What’s Your Story? #Winophiles

Dreaming of France: The #Winophiles Share their Favorite Stories – Past, Present, and Future

When you think of France, what’s the first image that appears in your mind? Is it the statuesque splendor of the Eiffel Tower? Or maybe the lavender-imbued fields of Provence? Whether we’ve traveled to France or not, we have heard about her charms, seen photos of her beauty. As a child, long before I ever saw France with my own eyes, I dreamed about it, … Continue reading Dreaming of France: The #Winophiles Share their Favorite Stories – Past, Present, and Future

From the Mountains to the Sea: #Vuelta2017 Heads Southeast to Catalonia on Stage Four

After the Pyrénéean punishment inflicted on them during Monday’s stage, the riders will certainly appreciate a relatively flat course, with rolling hills and just one categorized climb. We could even joke that it is a day at the beach, since that’s where the peloton will cross the finish line. Descending from the Andorran slopes to the Mediterranean coast, Tuesday’s route winds up in Spain’s storied … Continue reading From the Mountains to the Sea: #Vuelta2017 Heads Southeast to Catalonia on Stage Four

Andorra: Home to Stage 3 of #Vuelta2017 and Snow Wine

Oh boy. Today brings the first test for the climbers in this year’s Vuelta: two category 1 ascents, followed by an interim sprint, and then one, last battle to the top before a precipitous descent to the finish line. By the end of the race, the peloton will have climbed over 15,550 feet! And it’s only day three – two-and-a-half more weeks of torture to … Continue reading Andorra: Home to Stage 3 of #Vuelta2017 and Snow Wine

Hearts on Fire – A Summer Tradition in Alto Adige (#ItalianFWT)

For a country of its size, Italy is wonderfully diverse. Home to two mountain ranges – the Alps, which dominate the northern border, and the Apennines, which form a longitudinal spine down the center – Italy also boasts beautiful beaches, exotic islands, and fertile farm land. Any student of basic geography would tell you that this results in a wide array of climates and soils, all leaving their mark on the wines of a particular place. And that’s before we consider the staggering number of grape varieties that call the peninsula home; indeed, many of them are grown nowhere else in the world.

While each region offers vinous temptations and delectable food pairings (all worth delving into, by the way) today my sights are set on the far northeast corner of Italy: Alto Adige, aka the Südtirol. Its Alpine location abutting the Swiss and Austrian borders offers a clue to its culture, which gives more than a cursory nod to Germanic tradition. Even today, nearly two-thirds of its inhabitants are native German speakers.

Geisler Summer in South Tyrol
Summer in the Südtirol (http://www.suedtirolerland.it/en)

So let’s take a trip to the snow-capped peaks of Italy’s Alpine wine regions. Continue reading “Hearts on Fire – A Summer Tradition in Alto Adige (#ItalianFWT)”

Will the Tour be Won Today? #TDF2017 Stage 9 Moves from the Jura to the Alps

Saturday’s race saw a young French rider, Lilian Calmejane, win his first stage in the Tour de France. I was on the edge of my seat watching him climb those last few kilometers, fighting his legs as they cramped up and threatened to quit. When he crossed the finish line 30 seconds ahead of his closest competitor, it seemed as if all of France rejoiced! But that’s nothing compared to what race organizers have planned for Sunday. Check out the profile map:

Profile Map Stage 9 TDF2017
Glad I’m not riding this one! (Map: http://www.letour.com)

In all my years following the Tour, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a stage with three HC climbs. In case you’re not familiar with cycling lingo, the hardest climbs are assigned a rating, with 4 being the “easiest,” 3 a bit harder; 2 harder still, and 1 among the most difficult. But then there is that last tier: Hors Catégorie (HC), or uncategorized, for ascents that are so tough they can’t be compared with the others. Continue reading “Will the Tour be Won Today? #TDF2017 Stage 9 Moves from the Jura to the Alps”