Friday, July 17, 2009

Willkommen in Elsass! No, Levi, No!

Welcome to Alsace!

I'm so very bummed that Levi Leipheimer is out of the Tour with a broken wrist! So unfair! We'll miss watching our favorite keychain rider! No, Levi! Say it ain't so! We love you, Man! Get better fast!

But today, there are some big big hills as they head into yet another French wine region, Alsace. Except, from time to time in history, this region has been part of Germany! One of the things I love about Europe is that at the borders of each country, they blend into each other, so near the French-Italian border, Italians speak with French-sounding "R"s. In Alsace France and Germany blend in their own way, and this region has its own character.

The grape varietals favored here are chiefly whites like Gewurztraminer, Riesling, Muscat Blanc a' Petit Grains, and Pinot Gris. AOC rules, aka the French's winemaking regulations, only allow the use of the Riesling and Gewurstraminer grapes, which are German varietals, in this region of Alsace. Although they've been making wine here for at least a thousand years, France only recognized this area as a distinct official AOC region in the 1960s! Go figure.

So let's try some crisp and delicious light Cave de Turckheim Gewurztraminer, and with it eat some baeckeoffe, a local pork and mutton stew that involves marinating and stewing the meat with veg in wine for 2 days, and then baking it between slices of potato! Now that's slow food! And it's comfort food, which I need because Levi is gone! At least Colmar looks like an effin fairy tale, for you fans of In Bruges. Look at the swans, dammit.

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