This is a big week for my inner Francophile. For one, tomorrow is Bastille Day—one of France's most important National Holidays and always a big, boozy fête. Two, the second half of the Tour de France kicks off tomorrow, and the drama is high as to who will take it—comeback story Lance Armstrong or Alberto Contador (his feisty teammate) or someone else altogether.
While it may be tough to ride across France, it's much easier and more fun to follow the tour by drinking across France, region by region. And starting tomorrow, the Tour will be heading through some significant bibatory regions. Not that the south and southwest of France--where they raced last week--doesn't have some nice wine (though they could have done better by not completely skipping Bordeaux). Heck, even Lance Armstrong twittered about wanting a glass of red wine after finishing a stage the other day.
The Tour's website has excellent tourist guides for each day, making following along in a gustatory way that much easier. So let's take a look at where they're going this week. Lots of good libations in our future.
- Tomorrow: Limoges to Issoudun. Limoges is famous for its Limousin oak, in which Cognac is aged. So have a shot of Remy, Hennessy or, something a bit more special, Delemain.
- Wednesday: Vatan to Saint-Fargeau. Yes, the Loire and Burgundy! Start your day with Sauvignon Blanc and finish with a Pinot Noir. The tour will be passing through some of the regions at the heart of the wines of Loire Valley. Menetou-Salon, Quincy, and Pouilly-Fumé are all Loire appellations known for minerally, citrusy and delicious whites like this one. The ride ends in a town on the western edge of the appellation of Burgundy. It doesn't hit any major appellations, so just chill with some Bourgogne Rouge.
- Thursday: Tonnerre to Vittel. Doesn't get much better than this. Start in Burgundy, pass through Champagne. This Champagne comes in part from a village they'll be passing near.
- Friday: Vittel to Colmar. Vittel, well, it's always good to rehydrate with some famous spring water. And Colmar? Well, it's just the wine capital of Alsace, one of the greatest Riesling regions in the world. Inexpensive, steely and delicious, Trimbach is always a good choice.
As for Bastille Day tomorrow. Lots of places around town are doing it up. I plan on heading over to the celebartion at RN74. Where else to be than a Burgundy-themed wine bar on the day the Tour de France heads toward Burgundy?