Friday, 23 April 2010


Marcillac is just west of Rodez in the Aveyron so not part of the Languedoc, even historically, and is well away from any Mediterranean influence. With only about 160 hectares in the AOC it’s also pretty small and perhaps one reason for being relatively little known, although it does crop up on a surprising number of restaurant lists in the UK.

Usually considered a South West French wine the grape, Fer Servadou, is certainly a South West speciality. The area does have one thing in common with the Languedoc – it shares the same red volcanic soil. A Permien Sandstone with bands of limestone coined ruffes also occurs in the bit of the Terrasses du Larzac below Lodève; this picture was taken near Octon and Lake Saligou.

For the absolutely delightful Vieux Pont restaurant in Belcastel, Marcillac is the local wine. 2007 Domaine Laurens had fresh juicy fruits with some herbaceous and mineral notes. The palate seems quite light and hollow and this can be a shock, but everything is in proportion and it ends with good finish. A modest 12.5% makes it an ideal luncheon choice and at just under €20 extraordinary value given the quality of the dining experience.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

2007 Reds, Corks and Wine Boxes

The more serious 2007 reds have been emerging from producers cellars over the past year. I’ve tasted several in the last couple of weeks from some favourite domains - Mas Jullien (Jonquières), Aupilhac Montpeyroux, Ollier Taillefer Grand Reserve (Fos in Faugères), Mas Gabriel, Clos de Lièvre (Caux) and Treloar Three Peaks (Trouillas, Roussillon). They all make attractive drinking now; the tannins seem softer with the fruit more the red rather than purple end of the spectrum. They're certainly ripe, balanced, not short of concentration and, by Mediterranean standards, elegant. Recommended as a restaurant young wine choice.

The 2007 growing season was somewhat cool and the results are not unlike the 2002s, also a cool year although one that suffered harvest downpours to the east of the region.

I'm not going to even begin discussing the merits of various wine closures. Whatever the problems with tradition corks and corked wine, nothing beats the look of them. So what to do with all those pulled corks and, in the Languedoc, increasingly rare wooden wine cases?

Here are some ideas.

A sculpture with corks, part of a wine box
and a vine leaf

Or a bedside shelf with a wine box

Maybe some bathroom shelves

Perhaps a door fly screen

Or simply box in some pipes