Aleatico Wine & Bike Challenge

Aleatico Wine and Bike ChallengeA trio of wine, local food specialties and cycling will take center stage on Elba on April 19. “ElbAleatico: a cluster of history” is a food and wine festival dedicated to Elba’s delicious delights. Now in its 5th edition, this year it becomes the Gran Fondo ElbAleatico for its special union with the Tuscany Bike Challenge, a five-day bike race spread across the region.

For this occasion, some of the island’s restaurants and food specialty shops, which are part of the Vetrina Toscana, the Tuscan Showcase, will honor the island’s ruby red jewel, Aleatico Passito. Made from dried (passito) Aleatico grapes grown on the island, this is the only dessert wine of the region with DOCG distinction.

Elba, which has a long history of producing desert wines, was the island to which Napoleon was exiled. Some refer to Aleatico as the “wine of the Emperor” perhaps for his fondness for the beverage, to sweeten his years of banishment.

Restaurants participating in this day dedicated to Aleatico are La Taverna dei Poeti, La Botte Gaia, Osteria Pepenero, Osteria Locanda Cecconi, il ristorante del’Hotel Belmare, il ristorante dell’Hotel Scoglio Bianco. Their lunch menus will propose typical Elban dishes, combined wth the island’s unique wine.

Thanks to the city of Portoferraio, the Comune of Livorno, the Consortium of Elban wine producers, the Elban Delegation of the AIS (Association of Italian Sommeliers) and the Elba Taste Association, visitors to Portoferraio can spend Sunday at the port’s “De Laugier” Cultural Center getting to know and taste the festival’s “stars.” From 10:30 am -12:30 pm, a preview of 2015 Elban wines will be offered, including Elba Red, White Elba, Elba Rosato, Ansonica, Vermentino and IGT. In the same location starting at 2 pm, the afternoon focus will be on Elba’s dessert wines: Aleatico, Moscato and dell’Ansonica Passita.

Present to offer explanations and tastings will be expert sommeliers and representatives of the participating Elban DOC winemakers Acquabona, Arrighi, Cecilia, La Fazenda, La Galea, Le Sughere, Le Vigneantiche, Mazzarri, Mola, Montefabbrello, Sapereta, Tenuta Acquacalda, Tenuta delle Ripalte, Tenuta La Chiusa, Terre del Granito, Valle di Lazzaro.

And what wine event would not be complete without a sampling of the island’s typical gastronomical specialties? Stands will feature Elba’s extra virgin olive oil, of those producers who are a part of the Olivicoltori Elba Olive Oil Consortium. In addition, a special area will offer tastings of Elban beer and other local products such as honeys, jams, herbs, fish, vinegar, traditional cakes and cookies.

The wine and food festival will offer an explosion of flavors highlighting the island’s delectable products. The bike race will give sport enthusiasts a way to enjoy Elba’s unforgettable panoramas.

For the Elban portion of the Tuscany Bike Challenge on April 19, organizers ASD Folgore Bike and Elba Bike Tour have mapped out three routes covering some of the island’s most panoramic roads: light (67km), classic (80 km) and marathon (107 km). Over 200 cyclists from all over Europe are expected to participate.

“This event,” according to Antonio Arrighi AIS delegate for the Island of Elba, “brings together values and cultures that converge on a common point: the love for the land and the desire to live it up close, on the pedals or with a glass of wine. Or even both ways.” (kate magovern)

For the Tuscan Bike Challenge, register online by 17 april: 15€ fee + presentation of appropriate medical certificate

Registration forms may be downloaded from this website

In person registration 18 + 19 April directly at the Centro Culturale De Laugie in Portoferraio: € 20 fee + presentation of medical certificate