A red wine to commemorate rider Tom Simpson, and produced in a vineyard close to Mont Ventoux in the south of France, will soon be available in the UK. "Tom and the Peloton" has been produced by Domaine des Anges, a small Irish-owned vineyard, and will be imported by Dreyfus Ashby of Leicestershire’s Vale of Belvoir. 2017 is the fiftieth anniversary of Simpson’s death on Mont Ventoux.
A donation from every bottle sold will be provided to the Simpson family to maintain the Tom Simpson memorial on Mont Ventoux. This is a shrine for many cycle fans, especially British ones. The pro rider – one of Britain’s best –died on the 13th stage of the 1967 Tour de France, aged just 29. A post-mortem examination found that he had taken amphetamines and alcohol (this was at a time when there were no drug controls), and this mixed with a punishing climb and severe heat caused Simpson to collapse. He tried to struggle on, supposedly uttering the famous words: "Put me back on my bike."
A blend of 90 percent Syrah grapes and 10 percent Grenache the wine "offers lots of white pepper, cured meats, resinous herbs (which is a classic trait from Ventoux), and sweet red and black fruits on the nose," says the vineyard’s tasting notes.
The Tom Simpson Memorial stone was installed in 1969, and placed beside the spot where he fell – it is today cared for by the Tom Simpson Memorial Fund which was created in 1996 by Chris Sidwells and Dave Marsh. As well as the memorial in France there are two smaller ones in the UK, in Harworth and Bircotes.
"Tom and the Peloton" will be available in April and will cost about £13 a bottle.
Tip: Colin Thorne.