Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Washington Sangiovese vs. Chianti Classico

Any cyclist that has ever raced a criterium or cyclocross race is familiar with one of the final warnings given by the race official "Don't ride backward on the course!"  I'm not sure I have ever heard an official at a road race give the same warning.

So, what does that have to do with this week's Lucha Vino challenge?  I'm riding backward on the 2017 Giro d' Italia course!  My journey started in Piedmont and now I am tracing the route backward to Tuscany.

Stage 11 starts in Firenze (Florence) and travels East to Bagno di Romagna and includes five climbs along the way.  These types of stages are often the places that separate the men from the boys, the contenders from the pretenders, the climbers from the sprinters...  You get the picture.

This week's Lucha Vino match up features a Washington Sangiovese taking on a Chianti Classico from Tuscany.  Which one of these Luchadors will prove to be mightier than the other?

2014 Casa Smith Sangiovese v. 2013 Felsina Chianti Classico

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Washington Barbera v. Piedmont

Italy is one of the most cycling crazy nations in the world.  The pro race season wraps up with several one day races in Northern Italy in the Piedmont wine region.  If that wasn't reason enough to feature an Italian wine smack down, then the announcement of the 100th edition of the Giro d' Italia certainly is!

The Giro del Piemonte took place at the end of September with Italian Champion Giacomo Nizzolo taking a sprint victory on his home soil.

A few weeks later the route for the 100th edition of the Giro d'Italia was unveiled.  The 2017 route will start in Southern Italy, on the island of Sardinia.  The race will work its way North concluding in Milan after three breathtaking weeks of racing.

The next few Lucha Vino matchups will feature Casa Smith Italian inspired wines taking on a bevy of Italian challengers.

First up, this week's matchup features a Washington Barbera from Casa Smith taking on an Italian challenger from the Barbera d'Alba DOC.

2014 Casa Smith Barbera v. 2013 G.D. Vajra Barbera d'Alba

Washington Tempranillo v. Rioja

This year's Vuelta Espana hugged the Northern border of Spain during the second week of racing.  This brought the racers through a variety of terrain including stage 12 which ended in a sprint finish in the town of Bilbao.  The racing was tense throughout the middle section of the Vuelta.  Nairo Quintana, and his Movistar team, had their work cutout for them defending the leader's red jersey as the race traced its route through the Northern reaches of Spain. 

There aren't many wine regions along the Northern edge of Spain.  The race came closest to the Rioja DOC, home of a wide range of tantalizing Tempranillo.

This week's Lucha Vino match up features a Washington Tempranillo taking on Rioja.

2013 Saviah Cellars Tempranillo v. 2001 Diez Caballero Vendimia Seleccionada

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Washington Albarino v. Rias Baixas

The Vuelta a Espana is the final grand tour of the season for the pro cyclists.  This race never gets the credit it deserves since it happens so late in the season.  By now, the Tour de France has already happened and most cycling fans are preparing for Cyclo-Cross or the World Championships.  That means that some high class racing usually goes unnoticed.

Well.  Surprise, surprise!  This years Vuelta has been more exciting than the Tour de France.  The race started in the North Western Spain and featured plenty of exciting racing.  The action in the first week of racing featured a team time trial, sprints, mountain top finishes and several changes in the overall race leadership.  

This week's Lucha Vino challange features an Albarino from Washington taking on a classic Albarino from Rias Baixas.

2015 Crayelle Albarino v. 2015 Granbazan Albarino