When we can't be there, we at least try to drink the local wine:
2012 Tour de France Wine List
Stages 1-4: The Tour starts in Belgium and remains inexplicably close for four days. There is no local wine for these days we’ll just have to drink beer.
Stage 5 July 5: The tour finally heads south in goes through the town of Reims. Obviously we will have to have a good bottle of Reims champagne.
Stage 6 July 6: This stage starts in the town of Epernay. This day will give us a good chance to compare champagne of Reims and Epernay.
Stage 7 July 7: The tour continues through the Alsace. We always have a Oregon vs. Alsace Pinot Gris or Riesling taste contest.
Stage 8 July 8: We head into Switzerland and finish near the town of Neuchatel, which has a fabulous wine festival. If we can find a bottle of Neuchatel we will have that but Swiss wines are difficult to find and really, for what you get, quite overpriced.
Stage 9 July 9 The tour has a time-trial very close to the town of Beaune, a wonderful Burgundy town. We were lucky enough to meet Chris Newman, an American who owns a Grand Cru Domain in town. We will have Cote de Beaune Pinot Noir, Domaine Newman if we can find one, and perhaps compare it to an Oregon Pinot.
July 10: Rest day in Macon. The Macon appellation the largest producer of white Burgundies. We have a
2010 Domaine Jean Pierre Seve Macon-Solutre in the cellar just waiting for this day.
Stage 11 July 12: The race heads into the Alps into the Savoie region. Our standard wine of this area is an Apremont, a wine Kermit Lynch compares to drinking from a mountain stream. The wine is made from the Jacquere grape, grown on the rubbly land left from a landslide which buried numerous small villages in 1248. The French weren’t about to let this tragedy go to waste, and recognized good vineyard potential, planting grapes over all of the demolished villages.
Stage 12 July 13th the race will go very close to Croze Hermitage area. Again, no question what to drink this day.
Stage 13 July 14th We continue through wonderful vineyards with the race going very close to the town of of Chateauneuf du Pape. I love that wine, but mostly buy wines from the nearby areas of Gigondas, and Vacqueyras, where one can find a similar wine at a better price. They also ride right through the appellation of Costieres de Nîmes, the finest wines of the Languedoc region. I think we’ll of those instead of the Chateauneuf de Pape.
Stage 14 July 15th Today’s stage starts in the town of Limoux where of the champagne process was invented. We have a Blanquette de Limoux and the cellar, but we will try to find a far superior Crémant de Limoux for the day. These bubblies are a wonderful alternative to expensive French champagne.
Stage 15 July 16: The ride to Pau does not cross any significant wine regions but it does go through the Armagnac region. Armagnac is a brandy similar to Cognac except you can find a much better brandy for the money. We learned at the Armagnac museum in the town of Condom that it is only aged in oak barrels cut from trees harvested during the new moon of January or February.
Stage 16 July 18: the race heads towards the Pyrénées and crosses the Jurancon appellation. This is a rather obscure wine made from the Manseng grape. There are several similar wines available which would be a fine substitute, such as Colombelle. Colombelle is one of the holy grail white wines (cheap enough to cook with and good enough to drink a bit of). It’s a Vin du Pays Gasconne made from Manseng grapes.
Stage 17 July 19: The riders run around the Pyrénées all day and encounter no wine of interest.
Stage 18 July 20: the race will go through the town of Cahors. Cahors is famous for its dark red wine, and a bottle of Cahors with that towns’ fortified bridge on the label can be found in most stores. The bridge has a smiling devil, laughing at the builder who had to make a deal with the devil to finish the bridge.
Stage 19 July 20: first The tour heads north and crosses the Loire In the region of Touraine and Vouvray . We’ll have a nice Touraine Savignon for the night.
Stages 21 in 22 are near Paris. There is no local wine but you can find any wine in Paris so tonight have the French wine of your choice.