Stage 12, 175.5km, mountain leg, Bourg-Saint-Maurice Les Arcs to the legendary Alpe d’Huez with its 21 switchbacks.
Geraint Thomas sprints away from Froome to take the incredible win of the Stage and keeps the yellow jersey. Between Stage 11 and 12, sadly many withdrawals from the race including Nibali who managed to finish Stage 12 with a broken collar bone, Greipel, Groenewegen, Gaviria, Uran, Stage 11 Kittel, Renshaw and Cavendish.
As these cyclists faced this brutal stage they biked through some beautiful parts of the Savoie including the town and cheese capitol of the area, St. Sorlin d’Arvres who has a mascot for their prized Beaufort cheese of the region named Sorlinette.
Sorlinette, the mascot represents the cow breed, mahogany colored and referred to as Tarentaise that produces the milk for the AOP Beaufort cheese which is an alpine-style, raw cow’s milk cheese related to gruyère.
Of course there needs to be wine to accompany the cheese, like André and Michel Quenard’s Cremant de Savoie imported by Kermit Lynch. Crémant de Savoie is a new regional AOC, approved in 2016 and applicable to 2014 vintage forward. It follows the rules for crémant making all over France, 9 months on lees. Currently only white Crémant de Savoie can be made and from a mininum of 60% Jacquere and Altesse grapes (at least 40% Jacquere). All the other permitted varieties in the Savoie may be used for the balance of the blend, but red grapes cannot represent more than 20% of the total. Permitted grapes include other than the ones mentioned, Chasselas, Chardonnay, Molette, Gringet, Mondeuse Noire, Gamay, Pinot Noir and Persan. (Information drawn from the French Wine Scholar Manual).
100% Jacquére, 50 year old vines grown on marl and limestone. All reports that I found described this wine as alpine fresh and crisp. Salut to the wines fo André et Michel Quenard and salut to the Savoie and their wines and cheese! Onto Stage 13!