Thursday, August 5, 2010

Oh Marcillac, How I Miss Thee

Man, do I miss me my Marcillac.

When I say "my," I mean the Marcillacs of Philippe Teulier at Domaine du Cros. I sold them for many a year but that was, likewise, many years ago now. It's not that they're not still available out there somewhere; it's just that I liked having them immediately at hand. The regular bottling from Domaine du Cros, called "Lo Sang del Païs," used to sell for around $10, even less, and was hands-down one of my favorite everyday wines. Still would be if it were still more easily obtainable, as it's still priced well under $15. There are other Marcillacs, certainly. Jean-Luc Matha's is plumper, easier, more accessible. And I hear tell of a Marcillac from Domaine Causse-Marines, but I've yet to see it, much less try it. But when I think of Marcillac, it'll always be the wines from Domaine du Cros that first come to mind.

Marcillac "Cuvée Vieilles Vignes," Domaine du Cros (Philippe Teulier) 2002
$16 on release. 12.5% alcohol. Cork. Importer: Wine Traditions, Falls Church, VA.

The inspiration to open this bottle came easy. Stage 13 of the 2010 Tour de France began in Rodez, less than 25km from M. Teulier's estate, which is located just east of the village of Goutrens. Had I been covering that stage, this would have been my featured wine of the day, sans question; however, guest blogger Ben Wood was at the reins that day. Ben chose to focus on Gaillac, a perfectly appropriate choice given that the half-way point of the stage route passed quite close to Albi, center of the Gaillac region. Through happy coincidence, Ben wrote about Gaillacs from Domaine des Causse Marines, also a producer of Marcillac as mentioned above, and Domaine des Terrisses, whose wines happen to be brought into the US by the same importer — Wine Traditions — as Domaine du Cros.

Now, back to my Marcillac.... I had the pleasure of meeting Philippe Teulier, all too briefly, when he visited my workplace back in the early '00s. One of the questions I remember asking him about was his views on the age-worthiness of his wines. His simple answer: "Lo Sang del Païs" is best drunk young, in its first two-to-three years, though it might go five; the "Vieilles Vignes," on the other hand, comes into its own at five and has the capacity to last for ten years in good vintages.

Opening this bottle of '02 VV on the night of la trezième étape reminded me, in beautiful terms, of why I go to the trouble of cellaring wine. Still vibrant in color, its aromas have developed, since its more prickly, peppery youth, to something that is more closely evocative of an old school Médoc wine with some bottle age under its belt. There's something about this old Marcillac, though, that's much more enjoyable – and joyous – to drink than equally old Bordeaux. Maybe it's that component of blood and iron, expressions of both terroir and the aptly named Fer Servadou so inimitable to good Marcillac. While there's great bottle development here, there's also plenty of fruit – blackberry and cassis, in particular – and a vitality of structure that suggests the wine could easily go another couple of years without losing stride.

Alas, this was my last bottle of the 2002. Now I'm missing it even more....


Josh George said...

I got some down here in the south on the shelf. Nobody wants these types of wines meaning the more for me. Have a case of the 06 old vines waiting to be drunk. I can save you some.

David McDuff said...

Nobody wants these types of wines? What?? It's your job to preach the gospel of Marcillac to the citizens of Richmond, Josh. I'm counting on you. Save some for me if you must, but not at the expense of turning on the unenlightened.

Seriously, though, save a bottle for the next time I pass through that way, or the next time you're up Philly way.

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