So you know your crankset from your chain ring, right? (Well, maybe not everyone!) But can you tell the difference between Chablis and cabernet sauvignon? Our friends at James Halliday's Australian Wine Companion have whipped up a no-fuss guide to wines from the Tour de France route, so you can impress your mates with your new-found wine knowledge, or simply indulge from the comfort of your couch. We’ll say cheers to that.
Kick off your wine-tasting tour of France with a bottle of bubbly. This year’s Stage 6 town, Reims, is the home of Champagne. Traditionally a blend of chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier grapes, only fizz from this part of the world can be called Champagne – for all other producers, it’s sparkling wine.
Next, the riders headed southeast to Alsace, near the borders of Switzerland and Germany. This high-altitude haunt produces rich, luscious riesling and aromatic gewürztraminer. These off-dry (slightly sweet) wines are equally at home with roast pork and spicy Asian dishes.
On July 15, the boys had a well-earned rest day in Besançon, within striking distance of France’s famed Burgundy region. The hallmark wines here are age-worthy pinot noir and elegant chardonnays, including steely Chablis.
In Stage 12 and 13, the riders will make their way through the Rhone-Alpes region, home to jaw-dropping views and crowd-pleasing wines of every hue. Sip crisp sparkling wine and sauvignon blanc, blush-pink rosé, and rich, earthy reds. Standouts include shiraz from Côte Rôtie and Grenache blends from Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
Once the peloton reaches Provence, it’s time to break out the dry rosé, the perfect partner for seafood stews and picnics in the sun.
The 18th Stage through the Pyrenees and Gascony in southwest France deliver some of the toughest terrain for competitors – with punchy drinks to match! Kick back with a glass of Armagnac brandy, a signature of the region.
The final port of call should be Stage 19 pit-stop Bergerac, within easy reach of some of the world’s top wine regions. Seek out refined Bordeaux cabernet sauvignons and sticky-sweet Sauternes, a luscious dessert wine with notes of honey and apricots.
Where to shop
French doesn’t have to mean expensive. For imported wines from France that won’t break the budget, browse the selection at Dan Murphy’s.
Did you know
Up until the 1960s, when stimulants were banned, Tour de France cyclists were allowed to drink on the job.