No hangin' at the Usual this week, Les and Kathy closed Monday night for a belated staff Christmas party. So I have some notes from the weekend on a truly wonderful bottle Les put before us from the moderately obscure appellation of Marcillac. It's in the Lot, a healthy drive east of Cahors, and it is the home of a grape widely known as fer servadou or braucol, and locally as mansois. According to Paul Strang, it may be a relative of cabernet franc. (There's a new edition available of his "South-West France: The Wines and the Winemakers," I recommend it highly.) It has some of the same grassy character, and aromas and flavors of soft red fruits, currants, and red berries, all of which were present in the wine we tasted:
Domaine Du Cros "Lo Sang Del Pais" Marcillac 2008: In addition to a lovely ripeness and freshness of fruit, this also displayed the iron mineral character that is characteristic of the terroir. The locals call the soil "rouergue" or "rougier," literally "red earth." The winemaker is Philippe Teulier. The wine's name, according to Strang, translates as "blood of the countryside." It is certainly a dark red, although not at all muddy. Teulier has a website worth a visit (click in the appropriate spot for a single, informative page of English). Frankly, the wine is a great introduction to the region: It is quite distinctive, easy to drink, and retails for well under $20.