Tour de France 2018 aka Tour de French Wine – Stage 1

June was a busy month for me, so no posts. I started a job in the wine department of Eataly Chicago. The job is fun and interesting, the people are really great but at this point I still get wine-overwhelmed every time I am in there. It is one huge wine department and Italy is blessed with an overabundance of indigenous grapes, 74 DOCG wines alone.

I love Italy but I still love France as well, the Giro D’Italia has passed but it is that time for what I call “The Tour of French Wine“, the Tour de France 2018. So my plan is to put a “brief” post each day with a wine of the Stage based on the communes that the stage has gone through. Now I was not smart and this write-up is not sponsored by any wine company. I am not in France moving along each day with the Tour. These are purely my own ideas of wines based on the area. If you are into the Tour as well and have a wine you like from that area, post it in the comments.

The Full Route – 21 Stages



Stage 1 The Vendée


Here is a link to a piece in The Guardian about cycling and eating through the Vendée coastline. This stage starts on an island, Noirmoutier-en-l’Île and finishes at Fontenay-le-Comte.  07/07/2018 – Stage 1 – 201 km – Flat. The Guardian seems to have one of the best play by plays of the race.  Gaviria of Quick Step wins the first stage and Froome crashes.



Photo from Vendee

The Fièfs Vendéens  is part of the Pays Nantais lower Loire wine region. Fièfs Vendéens  is always followed by one of five subregional designations: Brem, Chantonnay, Mareuil, Pissotte, or Vix. Vix from what I can tell is the closest to the end of stage 1, Fontenay Le-Comte. All white wines are comprised of a minimum of 60% Chenin Blanc. Reds from Brem and Pissotte are comprised of at least 50% Pinot Noir whereas reds from Chantonnay, MAreuil and Vix are comprised of at least 50% Cabernet Franc. Rosés for all five sub-regional designations are Gamay/Pinot Noir-based (Brem and Cantonnay less than 50% Pinot Noir, Mareuil, Pisotte and Vix  greater than 50% Gamay. (French Wine Scholar Manual) Somehow in my searches I came across Domaine St. Nicholas winery in Brem. John David Headrick, the importer put together a pretty interesting writeup on winemaker Thierry Michon’s wines. Michon sounds like he is a very ardent supporter of biodynamic winemaking. So in honor of Stage1 of the tour, I highlight Domaine St. Nicholas’s Fièfs Vendéens “Les Clous” which is the wine, restaurants in Paris have on their lists.

Fièfs Vendéens “Les Clous 

The wine that put Thierry on the map. 80% Chenin Blanc, 15% Chardonnay, 5% Groslot Gris. Aged in tank (80%) and barrel (20%) for 8 months before release.


Now to locate a bottle. Salut to the Fiefs Vendéens AOC wines! On to Stage 2!


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