Thursday, 1 August 2013

Nothing rotten with the state of Marc

- Joe Mandrell

Everyone knows brandy. Serve it in a big-bottomed, swirly glass. Cigar. Busta Rhymes. Brandy: done. Not quite so well-known is brandy’s slightly less refined little brother, marc. And it’s a big shame.

Marc is made from pomace, which is basically the residue left over from the winemaking process – bits of crushed grape skin, pulp and seeds. Whilst it may not sound particularly appealing, if done well, this can produce a wonderfully complex and delicious alternative to your Courvoisiers and your Hennessys – and at a fraction of the price.

Perfect case in point is this Marc du Châteauneuf-du-Pape from Château Mont Redon. Currently on sale at The Wine Society for a mere £28.00 a bottle, this is a rich and sweet marc . Château Mont Redon use select parcels of grapes from around Châteauneuf-du-Pape, which are distilled in a partial vacuum to preserve the purity of the fruit. It is then aged for around twelve years before being bottled. This extensive oak ageing gives the marc a gorgeous amber colour, and a spicy caramel aroma.

It has flavours of figs and honey and an almost ethereal, raisiny warmth on the palate. At 42% abv, this is still a balls-to-the-wall drink, but it carries its alcohol well. The finish is long and unhurried, and leaves your mouth with a lingering sensation of nuts and marmalade. Don’t serve this chilled or on ice, but at room temperature at the end of a long day or even longer dinner. You won’t be disappointed.

So, next time you’re hanging out with Busta or P. Diddy or Pharrell, ask them to Pass the Marc. They’ll definitely know what you’re talking about, and probably won’t shoot you…

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