Stage 10: Torredelcampo – Güéjar Sierra. (Summit finish on the Alto de Hazallanas)
Our Wine Choice: 2004 Barranco Oscuro, Cerro La Monjas 1368
Illuminating Inner Ring preview
The race is very finely poised for the overall win and of the three grand tours (Italy and France being the others) this has been the most wide open and exciting racing.
A bit like wine from Spain really; great stuff all round but completely overshadowed by the greats from France and Italy.
The land around the finish in the Sierra Nevada is not teeming with vineyards but there are a few hardy souls who have chosen an oenological way of life. Being removed from the mainstream they have followed the path of the mavericks and stick, by and large, to the principles of ‘natural’ wine making; minimal intervention, no (or low) sulphur usage and no pesticides or herbicides in the vineyard.
The key to getting freshness in wine is to grow at altitude and today’s pick is just about the highest commercial vineyard in Europe (there’s a couple of spots in the Valle d’Aoste on the way to Mont Blanc that are higher).
The 2004 Cerro La Monjas 1368 from Barranco Oscuro is a blend of Garnacha, Cabernet Sauvignon , Cabernet Franc , Merlot and Tempranillo. There are some impressively grippy tannins and the fruit character is as crystal clear as the views from the mountain tops in this region. It won’t appeal to everyone because it plays at being different rather than diffident. Give it an hour or so in a decanter and the blue and black fruit blossom and the racy acidity cleanses the mouth. All in all a fitting wine to this brilliant race.
(Photo shows the vineyard responsible for this wine, courtesy of Gergovie Wines/40 Maltby Street)