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July 4, 2014

How to: Drink Le Tour

The first gruelling stage of Le Tour de France starts tomorrow. To help you through the stress and exhaustion of watching cyclists ride 3,644km up hill and down dale, Cork Wine Café has thoughtfully put together region-specific drinking suggestions for almost every stage of the race.

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  • Words: Brendan Cooper with tasting notes from Cork Wine Café

Some of the fittest cyclists in the world gather for Le Tour de France – ready to rub their thighs raw in lycra and push themselves over 21 stages of hills, flats and mountains through the UK, Spain, Belgium and France.

Regardless of your opinions on professional cyclists and their skin-tight attire, the race is the perfect reason to sit back and have a drink (or dozen) in the name of good sport.


Le Tour de France packs are available as a half dozen or dozen at the Cork Wine Café website or in person at Cork – 61a Gouger Street, Adelaide. Single bottles for each stage are also available over-the-counter at Cork until they sell out.

Travis and Michelle from Gouger Street’s Cork Wine Café have selected a strong team of two champagnes, four whites, one rosé, four reds and two beers to accompany the major stages of the Tour De France. Available to buy as either a half dozen or dozen, all the wines are organic or biodynamic, most are natural and each is from a small producer in the region the relevant stage of Le Tour is travelling through.

Read the tasting notes below to fully enjoy the flavour of each stage and, as with all exercise and especially cycling, keep hydrated and maintain an upright position at all times.

Stages 1, 2, 3 – England
Drink – Moor Beer Revival

Drink deeply from this hoppy and refreshing English-made pale ale. Moor Beer Company’s Revival beer is not only a great way to carb load for energy for the entirety of the race, but it’s a tasty way to ease yourself in to some late night watching of the first few stages as Le Tour begins in Leeds, England.

Stage 5 – Ypres, Belgium.
Drink – Duvel 75cl

Duvel is a classic Belgian golden ale. This beer was chosen instead of a crazy Flemmish brown with wild yeast because Duvel is more closely connected to the area the riders pass through. Regardless, this stage will be complex enough without adding too much weirdness to the mix. The beer is a strong golden ale made with pilsner malts and bohemian hops.

Stages 6 & 7 – Champagne, France.
Drink – Champagne Thienot

As the race warms up, so does your journey through the Tour De France, via the bottle. French bubbles is here to get you truly engaged. But don’t get too excited too early, you don’t want to ruin yourself for the hard work ahead.

Stages 8, 9, 10 – Alsace, France.
Drink – Laurent Barth Alsace

As riders pass through the country region of Alsace, you can sip this refreshing blend of riesling, sylvanner and pinot blac. Climb through picturesque villages, churches and castles, and ride past the countless vineyards that litter the region. The Laurent Barth you’re drinking perfectly represents the sweetness and blossoming character of the French countryside.

Stage 11 – Jura, France.
Drink – Michel Gahier Trouseaule Le Clousot

From the village of Montigny-les-Arsures near the township of Arbois – which Le Tour passes directly through – comes small winemaker Michel Gahier. This area is renowned for having the best terroir for the trousseau grape variety. The wine is lighter than a lot in his stable as it is from younger vines and has a juicy, fresh flavour with good length and structure.

Stage 12 – Macon, Burgundy, France.
Drink – Laurent Tripoz Macon Chardonnay

Made entirely out of the Chardonnay grape, you can expect to get a mouth filling wine that is laden with stone fruits. The thing that makes this wine special is the wonderful wildness that this wine offers whilst maintaining a pure line of acidity. A very yummy glass, with chalky acidity and searing acidity keeping the voluptuous fruit offering in check and beautifully balanced.

Stages 13 & 14 – Savoie, France.
Drink – Domaine Belluard les alpes

As the name suggests, the Domaine Belluard winery is high up in the mountains, but lucky for you, it’s only the riders that are climbing. For them, strong legs, enduring focus and lots of sweat is inevitable. For you, all that means is a smooth floral white wine, with a smoky undertone.

Stage 15 – Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, France.
Drink – Moulin de Larroque

As the group reaches their second rest day of the tour, they ride through more mountainous countryside that is renowned for its air sports, particularly parachuting and paragliding. At this stage, you’ll jump into another super-smooth white that’ll glide you through the bottle in no time.

Stages 16 &17 – Roussillon, France
Drink – Maylene Bru Lady Chasselas

This wine is from all biodynamic vineyards, and made from 50-year-old chasselas vines, which are quite rare for the languedoc. This is a beautiful part of the world and the vineyard is stunning for this wine. The mouthfeel and delicacy is a highlight to this wine, finishing fresh, dry and precise.

Stage 18 – Southwest France.
Drink – Causse Marine Rasdu Duras / Shiraz*

Causse Marine love working with native grape varieties. This wine is usually 100 per  cent duras but as their website says: “Small yields make one depressed Puerto Rican banker”. Everything is done by hand and foot and all of the vineyards are managed organically. The wine is rich and tannic but balanced. Think savoury, earthy and ripe with a blast of earthy French wine making. Delicious drunk with a dish of charcuterie or rich hearty meal.

*This wine has limited availability and may be replaced if stocks run dry. Cork assures us the replacement will be just as delicious and sold at a discount price.

Stages 19 & 20 – Bordeaux, France.
Drink – Chateau de Bellevue

The port city of Bordeaux is the world’s major wine industry capital, having produced wine since the 8th century and producing about 960 million bottles a year. Cyclists ride amongst 287,000 acres of vineyards, 10,000 wine producers, and 13,000 grape growers. While they hydrate from plastic cups at water stations, you can enjoy a brilliant wine from Chateau de Bellevue, an organically-run wine producer.

Stage 21 – Champagne, France
Drink – Champagne Diebilt Vallois Blanc des Blancs

This Champagne, from the wonderful producer Jacques Diebolt who has been making champagne since the late 1950s, is fantastic value. The pure, floral and utterly charming flavour of Blanc de Blancs is thanks to the selection of fruit used to make the wine.

Diebolt-Vallois have an amazing selection of vineyards from Cramant, as well as additional holdings in Chouilly, Cuis and Epernay. The wine has a rich creamy mid palate with fine acidity and a perfect bead. The hint of green apple and florals on the nose make this one of Cork’s personal favourite champagnes

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