Musings on Wine

Fer Servadou

Fer means iron in French. Servadou sounds like something I promised my wife when we got married. Together they are the name of an interesting red grape in southern France. The AOC of Marcillac is located in south central France just north west of the famous village of Roquefort (land o' stinky, wonderful blue cheese). It's not exactly famous wine country these days, but the delicious and historic reds from the AOC of Marcillac pair beautifully with the herb-scented and rustic local cuisine and they have a nice story to tell all of their own. At the heart of these reds is a little-known grape known as Fer Servadou. I recently opened a very reasonably priced bottle from the excellent 2010 vintage, produced by the local cave-cooperative there. It was the reserve bottling from Les Vignerons a Vallon.

I don't know about you, but warm climate wines that offer jammy fruit and nothing more bore me to death. I want structure; I want refreshment; I want terroir and I want reasonable levels of alcohol.  Mostly I want an interesting wine from an interesting little known region to stimulate me in a way other wines from other places don't (and can't). In Marcillac, I get all of these things for, more often than not, a very reasonable price (LCBO 714162 $15.95). This particular bottle combines the attractive green-herbs note of Cabernet Franc with the boisterous dark and red berry fruit of Gamay Noir. Add to that the scent of the local 'garrigue' (the smell of the land where the grapes grow) and a nice cedary-resinous lift and you've got a gorgeous little package of yum. Alongside this particular bottle, which I served lightly chilled as I would Cru Beaujolais, I made a fresh sauce with some of my garden tomatoes, zucchini, garlic, basil, oregano and fresh, sweet virgin olive oil (not from my garden). I tossed in a little fresh mozzarella at the end and let it get melty and gooey and then served it on spaghetti with some nice garlic toast on the side. Acid levels were happily aligned while the green herbs and zucchini picked up the fresh green notes in the wine and the ripe berry fruit was a nice parallel to the sweet tomatoes, lightly caramelized garlic and fresh olive oil. Not exactly regional cuisine, but I only had to walk 300 meters in my bare feet to harvest 80% of the ingredients!

Try finding this bottle and wander off the beaten track often in search of more wines like this. Like the t-shirt says, life is too short to drink the same wines twice.


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