Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Livermore Valley wine country hosts Amgen Tour

A new focus on one of California's oldest wine regions happens this month as the sixth Amgen Tour of California begins Stage 4 of its demanding course in Livermore's wine country on May 18.  Last year supporters came out in droves to view the world's most elite cyclists as they passed through Livermore, helping the city win coveted selection as one of 15 host cities for this year's race.

Cyclists will start in downtown Livermore then ride through wine country roads before ascending the grueling grades of the Diablo Mountains on their way to San Jose to finish Stage 4 of this Tour-de-France-style road race.

"A magnet for cycling clubs throughout the golden state, Livermore is a destination that promises a variety of exciting viewing spots," said Livermore Mayor Marshall Kamena. The event is expected to draw cycling enthusiasts to Livermore on race day and well beyond, including amateur cyclists who enjoy the challenge of riding the same course as the pros they admire. Locals and visitors alike are encouraged to ride their bikes into town for "Bike Night" sponsored by Downtown Livermore on May 17. The City of Livermore will also host a VIP tent the morning of the race, featuring wines exclusively from Concannon Vineyard, one of the first wineries founded in Livermore in 1883 and proudly celebrating 50 years as America's First Petite Sirah.

“The Tour” – Commemorative wine for Livermore Amgen Bike Tour

In celebration of the Amgen Tour, First Street Wine Company in Livermore has teamed up with Cuda Ridge Wines to produce and distribute a commemorative wine for the Livermore Stage of the Amgen Tour.  They thought it would be fun to make a wine in celebration of the tour coming to Livermore.  Linda Allen of First Street Wine Company named the wine, “The Tour”, and designed the label using the Livermore Amgen poster image for the front label.  “The Tour” is a St. Emilion Bordeaux style which represents this important wine region in France in which the primary grape varietals grown are Merlot and Cabernet Franc.  “The Tour” blend consists of 49% Merlot, 49% Cabernet Franc, 1% Cabernet Sauvignon and 1% Petit Verdot.  It is a 2009 vintage using 100% Livermore Valley fruit and was barrel aged for 17 months in French Oak.  Winemaker Larry Dino describes this wine as, “a perfect melding of the Cabernet Franc that has soft fruit characteristics with spice and earthiness; and the Merlot that has rich fruit characteristics.  These two varietals complement each other very well to provide a well-balanced, complex blend with well-structured tannins and a bold long lasting finish.” 
First Street Wine Company is the sole retail store selling this Special Edition Wine, and the wine can also be purchased at Cuda Ridge Winery.  “The Tour” is $26.00 at either location.

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