The Wines of Marcillac Vallon.
A one thousand year history.
Over 900 years ago monks returning from a pilgrimage to the holy city of Santiago de Compostela in Northern Spain stopped at Conques, a tiny village clinging to the mountainside in what is now known as the Aveyron. They decided to settle and founded the Abbey and Cathedral, a well- known focal point and landmark for travellers and pilgrims to this day.
The monks carried with them a precious cargo of vines from which a wine, much prized by the clergy of the time, had been produced. These vines, yielding the Fer Servadou grape variety (also known as Mansois) were planted and flourished. It was thus that the history of the wines of the Marcillac region began.
Through the Middle Ages.
For centuries the wines provided for the needs of the local population. This included the agricultural and mine workers, whose numbers steadily increased as society and the local economy developed around the principal city of Rodez. They were, nevertheless, rarely seen outside the local area and little known elsewhere in France. However, they retained a steadfast following amongst the middle classes and the people of South West France generally. Today they are found not only in most restaurants within the local area offering anything from bistro style food to fine dining but also on the wine lists of many fine restaurants throughout France.
At the end of the 19th century a public health crisis in France combined with heavy frosts at the beginning of the 20th century and a general decline in the mining industry. These factors progressively resulted in much reduced production which reached its lowest point ever in 1965. It was at that time a small dedicated number of growers decided to take drastic action to prevent the wine from becoming completely extinct. They applied for re-classification, which was granted under the name Vin de Marcillac and set about re-landscaping the vineyards in to terraces to make working and mechanisation more efficient. In 1990, the area was granted AOC status under its present name, Marcillac. These terraces, cut in to the steep hillsides, remain today as one of the defining characteristics of the wine growing areas of the region.
An exciting new era.
Despite the wines traditional following it was recognised in 2005 that more should be done if these wines were going to successfully make it in a wider market. This had been suggested and supported by numerous wine writers visiting the area for the first time who, without exception, have praised the quality and characteristics. A new director with experience in other major wine producing areas of France was therefore hired and a programme of planned changes and expansion put in place. These included significant changes in the vineyards together with a phase one investment to modernise production and bottling equipment. In 2010, the success of phase one resulted in a further and larger phase two investment to renew the entire production and reception buildings which now include a visitor experience centre dedicated to displaying the wines history and background. Further planned changes include the expansion of the vineyards over a carefully controlled period.
Today and our future.
All this hard work and dedication has proven that our strategy is right and that the wines of the Marcillac region deserve a wider audience. We now produce a range of high quality reds and a rose all based exclusively on the Fer Servadou grape variety and all to the same high quality. Sales have increased by 67% since the start of the programme of modernisation and the wines are winning more awards than ever before. Despite a growing following within the French market, our production facilities are now geared to serve the wider export market. As always, our aim is to satisfy the tastes of discerning wine lovers, wherever they may be.