One of the pleasures of the huge clearing and putting away operation at our new French home is the discovery of forgotten bottles. The other day it was a Marcillac from Domaine Laurens which went incredibly well with that night’s supper of seared calves’ liver.
We visited Marcillac, a small region near Rodez in the south-west of France, about three years ago. The wines, which you can buy in the UK from Caves de Pyrène and other independents are charmingly rustic - a bit like a cross between a Loire red and a Côtes du Rhône Villages. The predominant grape is Fer, more commonly referred to locally as Mansois, and not totally dissimilar in character to Cabernet Franc.
Our 2002 Domaine Laurens, their Cuvée de Flars, had survived surprisingly well for a modestly priced wine and still had plenty of aromatic, smoky fruit which played well with the smoky flavours of the seared meat and even sailed through the accompanying spinach which can be a bit of a wine-killer.
It’s one of those useful mid-week wines which isn’t too strong (12.5%) but has enough intensity to handle robust foods. Marcillac also makes a very good cooking wine for long slow braises and stews.