Tale of Two Columns
Most often the menu on the table shows two sides – one white, one red. The white side has the favorites you’ve heard of, the red side has 4 wines, maybe 5. At the top of the list (read: lightest body), you see Pinot Noir, followed by Merlot, followed by Malbec or something you don’t recognize, and then Cabernet slams it home with the bass line.
Rugby on the Menu
However, once in a great while, there’s a wine that doesn’t fit the menu. Mansois is that wine. Not sure whether it’s heavy or light, tannic or not, dark or light. It defies categories. In fact, this wino went straight to the internets after trying it to find out what this strange wine involved. SW France, rustic in some parts of the region (translation: heavy and tannic), light with paprika in other parts. Almost nobody outside of the region (renowned for french rugby and Armagnac) grow this grape. So, thank you Rugby France – you’ve managed to break free of the menu in a really top-quality way.
Marcillac 2009 Domaine Du Cros from Marcillac, in SW France “Lo Sang del Pais”
Fantastic body – fills up the mouth with none of the sticky tannins at the back of the tongue that clog up other wines. Bunch of strawberry and something black and sweet on the lips but kinda peppery too. Really different combination – like the first time you saw Angelina’s lips.
* Mansois has an everyman codename: Fer Servadou. Fer= iron, which should make you think twice before chopping down its vine.
* “Lo Sang del Pais” – blood of our country. Slightly heretical perhaps, but all delicious.
* The “corrida” join rugby and Armagnac on the list of SW French specialties. H/t Spain.
* Virginia plants a little of this Fer Servadou. Could use more of this here in the USA