Pass the Marcie-yak
Marcillac, on the Aveyron river just north west of Rodez, is linked historically to the Abbey of Conques and is the only appellation in the Aveyron region to enjoy AOC status. To the north are the barren plateaux called les causses. This is wild mountainous country gutted with deep river gorges. For nearly a thousand years, vineyards were the base of the region’s economy. In 1868, phylloxera destroyed the vineyards by ninety percent. The economy was devastated and many natives of the region moved away. The style or philosophy of the wines is connected to the area and the grape variety. The vineyards are grown on terraces with very steep gradients; the soil is the reddish-purple le rougier with a schist underlay; the grape variety is mansois, otherwise known as fer servadou (braucol/pinenc etc); only old barrels and traditional methods are used; minimal sulphur is required in the fermentation. The result? Violet-tinted, brilliant fresh reds packed with fresh currant fruits, provocative acidity and a medicinal minerality, the vinous equivalent of Chalybeate water.
Marcillac is good for you, indeed after the third glass or so you feel that your life expectancy has substantially increased!
The medieval citizens of Rodez used to take Marcillac for their health, because it was preferable to drinking the local water. More recently, Pascal Monestier, the son of a pharmacist in Marcillac, in a thesis on the prevention of cholesterol by the consumption of wine, discovered especially high concentrations of cathecine and procyamidol – anti-cholesterol agents. Well, as the bible says, “Take a little wine for thy stomach”!
Do we love these wines or what? Marcillac is good for you, indeed after the third glass or so you feel that your life expectancy has substantially increased! The grape variety here is known locally as Mansois (the local patois for Fer Servadou). The soil of Marcillac is very particular, as we have mentioned, is called “rougier” by the locals, due to its intense red colour, thanks to the high iron content and certainly bequeaths a sanguinary quality to the wines. They are high in jagged acidity with a haunting earthiness and should be drunk with food: confit de canard, oxtail with carrots or a traditional pot au feu are choice partners. You might say that drinking Marcillac is like letting your tongue go on an outward-bound course for terroiristes. You certainly end up with a grasp of rasp.
Jean-Luc Matha trained to be a clown and priest–although not necessarily at the same time–before finding his true vocation. His Cuvée Lairis undergoes 28 days of maceration in closed fermenters. The wine exhibits a supple texture full of red and black fruits. This mouthful of forest fruit, minerals and spices teases, provokes and delights in equal measure. Matha’s domaine is fully certified organic, winemaking methods are now increasingly natural with native yeast ferment, no filtration (you have to devour the cruddy bits) and minimal addition of sulphur.
Jean-Luc Matha trained to be a clown and priest–although not necessarily at the same time–before finding his true vocation.
“I love the things that the earth gives,” says Matha. “I love working with the vine up on the hill. And just before I come down, I like to watch the sunset and see how the colours change… I breathe and listen to the sounds around me… I am in the midst of nature and feel completely content.” Thoreau revisited or winemaker? Both, really. “So far I have made thirteen wines at this property. And in a way, they are like my thirteen children. Each one is a little bit different, yet each one has a common bond that gives them their ultimate identity; the earth, the vine, the frost, the rain and the sun. That, for me, is the beauty of winemaking.”
Why we love this: Sings lustily of its terroir and origin.
2018 Marcillac “Cuvee Lairis”
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