Region: Marcillac, France
Varietal: 100 % Fer Servadou (Mansois)
Tasting: A unanimous staff favorite every year, the 2020 Lo Sang del Païs is quite possibly the Domaine du Cros’s spiciest and most compelling vintage yet. Marcillac is home to the wonderfully obscure grape, Fer Servadou, or Mansois in local dialect. Fashioned exclusively from Mansois, Domaine du Cros’ Lo Sang del Païs – the blood of the countryside – casts a radiant ruby hue in the glass followed by head-spinning aromas of Sichuan peppercorns, capsicum, iodine, geranium, and ferrous earth. Spicy, peppery, and brimming with personality, the wine presents a bright, focused, savory palate marked by notes of red currants, tart cherries, black tea, vine smoke, salt, and bay leaf. Plentiful fine tannins and buoying acidity transition the Païs to its long, salty, spicy, mineral-driven finish. Enjoy this beautiful and distinctive Marcillac now and over the next seven years.
-Liner and Elson Wine Merchants
Pairing: Sausages, braised beef stews, lamb burgers, sautéed squashes, braised lentils, and light cassoulets all pair well with this spicy red. I suggest Red Curry Lentils With Sweet Potatoes and Spinach by Lidey Heuck. If you are a meat lover lamb is a lovely addition to the table when serving this dish.
About: The appellation of Marcillac is located in the western part of the Auvergne, nestled in the mountain range known as the Massif Central. The vineyards lie along steep slopes in a remote valley that offers a beneficial micro-climate. The valley draws warm and dry air from the Mediterranean during the summer and fall while also sheltering the vineyards from the harsh winters. The history of the vineyards is closely aligned with the Abbaye at Conques whose monks recognized the valley’s potential and planted vineyards in the area beginning in the 10th century. Centuries later, it was the bourgeoisie from the nearby city of Rodez who took an interest in the vineyards. These city folks greatly expanded the vineyards and built themselves summer homes in the surrounding villages. The devastating effect of phyloxerra at the end of the 19th century and the economic problems of the early 20th century led to the great abandonment of the vineyards. During this period, the region steadily depopulated with many “Auvergnats” going to Paris and finding work in the restaurant trade. Over time, many of them opened their own bistros which became an important customer base for the farmers back home who were reconstituting the Marcillac vineyards.
The local grape of the area is Fer Servadou, called locally, Mansois. In the local dialect, Occitan, it was called Saoumences, which is interesting because of the last part of the name being similar to Mencia, or the Spanish name for Cabernet Franc. In fact, the Cabernet Franc and Fer Servadou are both part of the Carmenere family of grape varieties. There is some speculation that because the Abbaye of Conques was an offshoot of the Abbaye at Cluny, the 10th century vineyards were probably planted with Pinot Noir.
Domaine du Cros, with its 33 hectares, is the largest independent producer in the appellation and Philippe Teulier and his family have been instrumental in reestablishing the reputation of Marcillac’s wines. Philippe Teulier’s vines lie at elevations as high as 450 meters on a few different hillsides that surround the village of Clairvaux. Much of his vineyard is terraced and the soil is an iron rich clay known locally as “rougier” with outcroppings of limestone. His wines are made from one grape type, the local grape of Marcillac, Fer Servadou.
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