Take a sip of the Tour de France with Aspen wine flights
It’s July and in the world’s premier wine nation, France, the world’s premier cycling event, the Tour de France, is in high gear. And, in the cycling mecca of Aspen, Colorado, sommelier Greg Van Wagner has developed a promotional program around the Tour. He calls it the “Le Tour Du Vin” and it gives guests at Jimmy’s American Restaurant & Bar in Aspen the opportunity to taste a wine each night from the wine region where Tour de France racers are riding that day.
My wife and I have been avid fans of the Tour for years. Though we do get inspired by individual riders and storylines, the attraction is not so much the racing as it is the “virtual” tour of the French countryside we get as the peloton races through France.
But Van Wagner has taken his virtual tour next level. He examined cities and routes, then visited GuildSomm to overlay wine information. GuildSomm is a nonprofit international membership organization for sommeliers and wine professionals that doubles as an online educational resource.
“There are so many great small village and commune wines that you would rarely get to see or only know by name because you are studying for the exams,” said Van Wagner. “This gave me a chance to bring them alive.” Once he identified a region and found an interesting wine, the next challenge was sourcing the wines and getting them to Aspen. “This is a list of wines that you wouldn’t ever find anywhere else,” he said.
People can come into Jimmy’s each day of the Tour and have a glass of the wine representing that day’s stage, at $14 each. The person who tastes the most days and tries the most wines will get a Jimmy’s “Maillot Jaune,” the equivalent of the Tour winner’s Yellow Jersey. If one were to “ride” all 21 stages, the jersey would come at a cool $294. But the fun of having a seat at Jimmy’s bar, getting a tasty education in the broad tableau of French regional wines, all while watching Contador, Froome and Quintana conquer the five-mountain ranges that will be ridden together for the first time since 1992 is, well, priceless.
Van Wagner’s selection of wines is what makes his Tour du Vin so interesting. “Where I had a choice, I tried to include summer wines, rosé and bubbles,” he said.
To that end there will be a pair of well-known rosés, the Whispering Angel, Côtes de Provence, and the Chateau de Berne “Impatience,” Côtes de Provence, poured as the riders rip through Marseille and ride the south coast in the later stages. But there will be reds as well. Pinot noir from Jura winemaker Valentin Morel will be poured as the peloton heads south from Dole, and Gachot Minot will be featured the day they ride into Nuits- Saint Georges.
In between, look for obscure pours of wines.
“I wanted to get wines that were fun and were sourced right next to the actual courses that the riders would be on,” said Van Wagner. He has succeeded. And as the racers finish on the Champs-Élysées, he will be proud to pour glasses of Billecart-Salmon to celebrate.
Kelly J. Hayes lives in the soon-to-be-designated appellation of Old Snowmass. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User
‘Three Viewings’ takes death, life head on from a first person perspective: CMC and Sopris Theater present a virtual play to the community
Many people are getting by these days in a numb survival-mode, carrying on with life while dealing with the tragedy of rising death tolls and the isolating nature of safety measures due to a worldwide…