These few words are reputed to be the last uttered by the late, great Tommy Simpson after he collapsed whilst riding up Mont Ventoux in the 1967 edition of the Tour de France. Back in a time where Britain just didn’t have the love for road cycling it does now Tommy was a shining light and not just another ‘plucky Brit’. Not only was he the World Road Race Champion in 1965 but he was also the first Brit to wear the Yellow Jersey at the Tour, won an Olympic bronze and won numerous one day classics. In short Tommy was a seriously good cyclist by any standards. Alas on a baking July day, on a ridiculously tough climb and with amphetamines and cognac swirling around his system, his body gave in and he collapsed and died. Nowadays the Tom Simpson memorial on the slope of Mont Ventoux is a cycling pilgrimage and is constantly adorned with tributes from fans.
Mont Ventoux is a climb which I would love to attempt on my bike but I fear that the imbalance in my personal power to weight ratio would make things tricky. So instead I tend to drink Cote du Ventoux and in that way I can make an attempt at one of the legendary climbs of the tour in a way which is far more suited to my physical state. What has just made my drinking days even better is a wine which perfectly combines my twin passions of wine and cycling.
Tom & The Peleton, Cotes du Ventoux £11.99
This delicious blend of Syrah and Grenache comes from the terrific Domaine des Anges whose wines we have stocked before. It has the story of Tommy Simpson’s tragic end and pays tribute to his many achievements, fittingly each bottle sold will add a donation to the upkeep of the Tom Simpson Memorial on Mont Ventoux. Soft and supple with real warmth and complexity this is a heart-warming wine with a very pleasing little spice to the finish and I like it a lot. You never know, you may drink a few glasses of this and then decide that the best thing to do would be to arrange a summer trip to take your bike up Mont Ventoux and see Tommy’s memorial for yourself, there are worse ways to keep healthy.