Monday, August 09, 2010


My love of marc dates back to 2000 when G and I went to Beaune for our summer hols. We stayed at Hotel de la Cloche in Place Madeleine, and on our first night were in the mood for something simple so we went to a pavement cafe on the square where we had some hearty Burgundian fare and ended up with a huge brandy glass of marc each, probably about 3 measures. That night, dehydration kicked in big time. I'd been brought up on stories of how you weren't supposed to drink French tap water so it was a fairly dire situation. Since then, I've learned to ensure that 2 litres of water are at close hand any time I drink the stuff.

Marc is a spirit made from grape skins, seeds and stems from grapes which have been pressed to make wine - so it's basically the French equivalent of the Italian grappa. A glass at the end of a meal is the most wonderful thing, and I still remember the time I attempted to bring back a bottle of 1978 vintage marc but it got crushed in the taxi (long story) and ended up perfuming my rucksack. I got some strange looks on Eurostar that day.

ACC made my day a few weeks ago when he offered me some of this vieux marc de bourgogne from Henri Felettig. I haven't had the opportunity to visit this domaine, but they're based in Chambolle-Musigny in the Cote de Nuits. G went last year and raved about their wines, but he hadn't tried this. It's not cheap at £37.50 a bottle, and when I saw that I'd ended up with six bottles I was a little bit taken aback as for some reason I'd thought I was sharing the half-case with someone else but apparently not. I was slightly worried as to how I was going to get through it given that I also have three bottles of prunelle from Dufouleur at the moment. (Prunelle is like amaretto on steroids, sweet and almondy, but G doesn't like it so I'm having to drink it by myself, the horror.)

It turns out there won't be a problem - the first bottle barely lasted a week. This stuff is like no other marc I've ever had. It comes in a very heavy 70cl bottle with a yellow wax seal, always a sign of seriousness. I think it must be very old as it's incredibly mellow, with the classic nuts-and-raisins nose, and goes down with no fieriness, so you wouldn't think it was 40% alcohol. There has been no dehyrdration effect to date and all in all, it's a life-enhancing drink, a genuine eau-de-vie. I don't envisage that getting through the rest will be any great hardship, indeed we've already made a start. Now all I need is some of Anne Parent's marc to do a comparative tasting...

Hurrah for marc!

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