The wine market is a dangerous place to be right now, especially when 99% of products are imported and reliant on the relative strengths and weaknesses of the currencies from whence they come. If you lob a grenade on the value of those key currencies, you have to adapt quickly.
Do you offset the collapse of sterling, continuous inflationary rises and duty, by buying cheaper plonk, or do you accept that you have to drink less but better.
Personally, I don’t think that good wine is expensive, not because I’m rich, but when a couple of cappuccinos cost six quid and a pint of craft ale almost the same, expecting a naturally made, labour intensive, product like wine to cost just a few pence more is living in ‘La La Land’ – to quote a popular movie.
If I’m being forced to pay more for my wine, I don’t want that extra money to go on a factory made brand, I want to drink something distinctly different and jolly hard to get.
Let’s – in the words of the late, great Lou Reed – take a walk on the wild side.
Marcillac is a tiny, obscure, appellation near Clairvaux in Aveyron, north of Rodez,comprising some eight growers making wines exclusively from the Mansois grape, otherwise known as Fer Servadou.
For almost a thousand years vineyards were the base of the regions economy until they were devastated by phylloxera in the 1860’s.
The style and, more importantly, the philosophy of the wines are closely connected with the area. Violet tinted, brilliantly fresh reds packed with redcurrant fruit, and an underlying, almost medicinal quality. The medieval citizens of Rodez used to drink Marcillac for their health because it was preferable to the local water.
Peirafi is Jean Luc Matha’s special cuvee based on rigorous selection of old vines fermented in open tanks then aged in well seasoned foudres for 20 months. It’s a big mouthful of forest fruits, spices and an almost mineral acidity, angular and refreshing with a sort of haunting earthiness.
Jean Luc says ‘I love working with the vine up on the hill. And just before I come down, I like to watch the sunset and see how the colours change….I breath and listen to the sounds around me…I am in the midst of nature and feel completely content. The earth, the vine, the frost, the rain and the sun. That, for me, is the beauty of winemaking.’
Now, that’s got to be worth more than a couple of coffees!