Born in County Durham, “Gentleman Tom” Simpson was Britain’s greatest post war cyclist and until the cycling renaissance of the 21st century he was arguably England’s, if not Britain’s one true road cycling great. Winning pursuit medals in the Olympic Games he turned pro in the 1959, and won the gruelling Tour of Flanders two years later. He finished 6th in the Tour de France in 1962 and was the first Brit to wear the yellow jersey. Perhaps, most impressively, he won the 1965 World Champs and spent a year wearing the famed rainbow jersey. His easy going nature, love of Europe and exciting riding style won him many followers but sadly cycling also took his life. Returning from injury and coming to the end of his professional career, Tom was looking for glory, he pushed his body too hard. Bolstered by a cocktail of amphetamines, alcohol and painkillers he charged up the mighty Mount Ventoux (The Giant of Provence) on one of the hottest days on record. His body, under enormous stress and severely dehydrated could not take the load. Today there remains a monument to where “Gentleman Tom” fell at just 29 years old.
The wine itself has been sourced from the much respected Domaine des Anges in the Ventoux and has the friendliness and easy-going charm that both the region and Tom are remembered for. The Simpson family has endorsed this project and a donation has been agreed that will help towards the upkeep of the Simpson memorial.
The wine is 60% Syrah and 40% Grenache and is classic stuff, the 2013 Ventoux is textured and fruity, with all the hallmarks of the Anges style; good balance and no over-ripe cooked fruit. As with many Ventoux wines there is a lovely hint of garrigue; the Provence aromas of pine, underbrush and savoury herbs.