Le Tour de France Case 2 – Mixed Case 2024 – 6 bottles

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Forget your Euro’s or the Cricket or the Tennis, when it comes to July, there is only one major sporting event to concentrate on and that of course, is the TOUR DE FRANCE whey hey!!  (Well I suppose there is also the Olympics, they are pretty good, but the Tour rules).  Apart from being stunning, exciting, inhumanly tough and like a three week sporting soap opera with the athletes as actors, the Tour is an incredible context in which to discover and enjoy the wines of France.  Yes, Il Giro d’Italia is beautiful and Italian wines are superb, (see this Year’s Giro case here) and naturally we love Spanish wine and the Vuelta (La Vuelta Case to follow in August) but the Tour is something extra special and let’s face it, the French started it all, it is still the number one Cycle race in the world and the French still make the world’s best wine.  France is also the spiritual homeland of Buon Vino.  Although we started out as an Italian specialist, the founder’s (my) love of wine started in France and my passion for Cycling started at Le Tour, specifically the 1989 edition won by the American Greg Lemond by only 8 seconds ahead of the late, great French cycling Icon, Laurent Fignon, my first Cycling hero.  Now the sun has arrived here in the UK and it finally feels like summer, we are sup[er excited about settling down and watching the race and enjoying some stunning French natural wines. Looking at the route this time, there are so many potential gorgeous bottles to choose from, we decided to do two slightly different cases, one is a little more premium as we felt we had to include at least one champagne for the stage which starts and finishes in Troyes.  We have again been creative with our selections and included some bottles which are the slightly left field rather than the obvious eg a superb Gamay from the Cahors region.  There is also a real spread of bottle price range within each case,  from just under £20 to nearly £50 so with the discounts, these are outstanding value, rare and delicious drinking.

France and its Wine…..

Although wine is now produced on every continent, the origins of great wine nearly always lead back to France.  They are still number two in terms of annual production, with approx. 18% of all wine produced globally coming from within its borders.  Italy is just ahead with 19%, they really do make a lot of Pinot Grigio and Prosecco!  ‘Le Vin’ is probably the only word which every English speaker can say in French.  When we think of the world’s most famous and expensive bottles, Chateau Lafite, Mouton Rothschild, Romanee Conti, they are all French.  The most well-known grape varieties in the world which have become brands all have their origins in France.  Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.  These grapes, now planted all over the world, found their first home in the noble terroirs of The Loire, Burgundy, and Bordeaux.  Almost every region of France has its own wine history, culture, and influence on the wider wine world.  And every producer from every country who harbors the desire to produce a truly ‘Great Wine’ will likely be aiming for something close to a fine Burgundy.

For the natural wine lovers, France is also pretty much number one.  Once again, the movement is likely to have started in France.  Most people think it was in Beaujolais in the mid-80s.  Although some super delicious natural wine is coming out of Italy, Spain, and the rest, for sheer number of amazing pioneering producers, diversity, creativity, and simply gorgeous bottles, we would still just about put the French ahead.

Wine and the Tour de France

Like the Giro, the Tour can’t really go anywhere without whizzing past the vineyards.  However the links between wine  and cycling are not as immediately obvious as in its near neighbour.  The Giro is actively using wine to help connect the route to the fans, and every year there are stages deliberately heading to the famous wine regions like Barolo or Valpolicella.  The tour by contrast is quieter about the link between its national cycle race and national drink.  There seem to be fewer examples of riders  who come from a wine producing background or who go into wine after their cycling career is over.

Wine and Cycling in France seem closer linked when looking back in history, specifically riders drinking the stuff during the race.  Philippe Brunel’s iconic book, ‘An Intimate Portrait of the Tour de The Tour de France’ documents rider’s thirst for booze during the race in the early 20th century.  In those days,  stages were up to 400 km long, lasted over 15 hours and racers rode through the night, surviving on a heady mix of booze, amphetamines and insanity.  Many of the top riders also smoked cigarettes! In the 1960s, the great Jacques Anquetil, five time French winner of the Tour was known  to finish  a mountain stage and sit down to a bottle of Champagne and a lobster.  Two time world champion  and multi tour stage winner Freddy Meartens used to fill his ‘bidon’ (water bottle) with a mixture of vintage Champagne, glucose, caffeine and  amphetamines and drank this ‘bomb’ in the last hour of the race when he was  feeling good.  He said  the  concoction made him ride like a rocket, I am not surprised!

Finally, the most tragic connection between racing and drinking is the legendary British rider Tom Simpson.  He died of exhaustion on the slopes of the Mont Ventoux in 1967.  Although there was no wine in his system, they found amphetamines and alcohol which contributed to him going well beyond his body’s limits.  The booze was supposedly 3 large cognacs which he had drunk during the stage.

The Tour de France has always been extreme, there in lies its fascination and beauty.

This years Route and our Selection.

The route this year is exceptional, not only is it stupidly tough, it is also genuinely different, in particular with a rare start across the border in Italy and the first three stages there.  In many ways, it seems more like  Giro d’Italia route with nearly 4000 metres of climbing on the first stage, unusual in the tour which usually starts flatter.  They wind through the roads of Tuscany and Emilia before heading up to Piemonte and over the Italian Alps on stage 4 with a monster stage finishing with the mighty Galibier climb over to Valloire.  So by stage 4, there will already have been a major shake up in the general classification.  The race then crosses the Alps and we start selecting wines from here on.  It goes up through Burgundy with a finish in Dijon where we are hoping to see the incredible Sir Mark Cavendish finally take his 35th road stage and become the all time most prolific Tour stage winner.  After that, a tough stage in the gravel roads around Champagne, then through more wine country with the Loire Valley and south to Cahors.  The race stops at Pau before hitting more massive climbs in the Pyrenees and then heads to the Languedoc, so many great wines to chose from, my mouth is watering!  The final week sees them back into the southern Alps before a thrilling and for sure, breathtakingly beautiful finale in Nice, the capital of Provence and the Cotes d’Azur.  The final stage is for the first time since 1975 not finishing in Paris, of course due to the Olympics but most fans are looking forward to this new crescendo with high anticipation.  The race will be very tough, very hot with incredible scenery and high drama.  Our winner?  Tadej Pogacar will become the first rider to do the Giro/Tour double since the great Marco Pantani in 1998.  Cav will win his 35th stage and there will be a swansong exploit from Geraint Thomas, possibly a stage win or even another podium finish at 38 years old.  We can’t wait, see the gorgeous wines to drink while you watch below.

Le Tour Case – The Wines

STAGE 5  – Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne > Saint-Vulbas


STAGE 9 Troyes > Troyes


STAGE 10 Orléans > Saint-Amand-Montrond


STAGE 12 Aurillac > Villeneuve-sur-Lot


STAGE 16 Gruissan > Nîmes


STAGE 20 Nice > Col de la Couillole



A case of 6 premium wines showcasing the purity and deliciousness of France’s natural wine.  There are some Iconic producers in here, this truly is wine from its origins.  We hope you enjoy drinking them while watching the race.  A votre sante!

Is Vegan? Yes

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Le Tour de France Case 2 – Mixed Case 2024 – 6 bottles