Marcillac's Fer Servadou

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  • By Brett Chappell
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Marcillac's Fer Servadou

The little known varietal Fer Servadou has a long history and a host of aliases in its ancestral home of Southwestern France. “Fer” (which means iron in Latin) is thought to be a nod to the grape’s iron-hard trunks and cane...

The little known varietal Fer Servadou has a long history and a host of aliases in its ancestral home of Southwestern France.  “Fer” (which means iron in Latin) is thought to be a nod to the grape’s iron-hard trunks and cane, or perhaps the deep red hued iron oxide-rich soil found in Southwestern wine regions like Marcillac, where the grape is a mainstay. In it’s heyday, Marcillac was the epicenter of an impressive Fer Servadou wine production that served a humble, prosperous, and thirsty mining community that thrived in the area during the mid 1800’s. Then in the early to mid 1900’s, the Marcillac wine production boom turned to a bust - as it did throughout most of France -  with the arrival of decades of war and the phylloxera mite.

After decades of struggle, thanks to a handful of dedicated wine growers,  Fer Servadou is once again producing wild, characterful wines. Research has shown it to be a parent of Carmenère, but It has characteristics that make us think of Gamay and Cabernet Franc. 

Most Fer Servadou is unoaked, and we love this fresher, vibrant style.  While it is commonly blended with a touch of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, currently we’re enjoying the 100% Fer Servadou Marcillac from Domaine Laurens. It is an organically farmed family winery, and this father-son winemaking team are masters of  the varietal.  The wine itself is bright garnet, red fruited with cassis, pepper, and, earth. Put this in the fridge for ten minutes before you serve it with traditional bistro fare, especially a hearty dish of  grilled sausage, au gratin potatoes, and a radicchio and frisée salad.  It’s also a brilliant complement to a plate of charcuterie and assertive, washed rind cheese. 

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