Marcillac is located in the department of Aveyron, which is near the eastern border of Southwest France. The furthest east of all the Southwest France appellations, it is located slightly to the northeast of Gaillac, its closest winemaking neighbor, and directly east of Cahors. The steep hills of this area are often unsuitable for planting, and as a result only 400 acres are currently under vine here. The red wines are powerful and rustic, and are best when aged for at least several years before drinking.
Winemaking here is estimated to have started in about 1,000 A.D. The appellation received its VDQS status in 1965, and became an AOC in 1990.
Climate and Viticulture
This is one of the few Southwest France appellations with a climate notoriously different from that of Bordeaux. Because of the high altitude of the vineyards, the winters can sometimes be quite cold, although due to the Mediterranean climate summers are often balmy. The prominent soil type is red clay.
These wines, which are exclusively red, must be made up of at least 90% Fer Servadou, but winemakers are permitted to blend in Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. In general, the Fer makes strongly concentrated, intense reds that require a few years' aging to be at their best.
Here are two top Marcillac producers.
- Domaine du Cros: In addition to being one of the best winemakers, Cros has the added advantage of being the winemaker whose wines are most often exported from Marcillac. From only 30 acres of vineyards, Cros makes a basic Marcillac, a superior Vieilles Vignes and a cuvée, Les Rougiers. All wines are varietal Fer and should be aged before drinking.
- Jean-Luc Matha: Matha makes two wines from Marcillac: the dark, spicy, rustic Cuvée Pèirafi, and the fruitier, gamy Cuvée Laires. Both deserve a few years of aging.