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A glorious day for Australian cyclist Michael Matthews! Being from Canberra, Michael knows wine! Near Australia’s capital of Canberra is a cluster of vineyards classified as being in the New South Wales territory. The vines in this area were planted in 1971 by research doctors John Kirk of Clonakilla and Edgar Riek of Lake George. John’s son pioneered Australia’s now famous Shiraz/Viognier blend modelled on the enormous wines of Cote-Rotie. In this Canberra District, some of… the higher vines can be quite cool and produce elegantly styled Pinot Noirs. Back to Le Tour de France! Today the cyclists made their way from Toulouse to Rodez, passing through the historic wine producing region, Gaillac. There is evidence proving Gaillac to be the first viticultural center of Gaul in the 1st century AD. The monks revived production in the 10th century and during this time the English were enthusiastic consumers of the wines from this region. The wine economy from Gaillac suffered as a result of enemy invasions, Christian crusades, religious wars, Bordeaux merchant restrictions, and the devastating phylloxera, which caused the region to plant other crops than vines. The region makes powerful wines from rich local varieties such as Mauzac, Lien de l’El, Muscadelle, Ondenc, Sauvignon Blanc, Duras, Fer, and Gamay. Wine lovers seek out Gaillac doux, Gaillac Molleux, Gaillac Liquoreux, and Method Gaillacoise from the region. The soils here are gravelly clay and limestone..

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