Here’s a brandy review for a change and for a real change it’s a brandy that’s neither an armagnac, a cognac or a calvados. No, this is a marc. Marc is pomace brandy, which means it’s made from the leftover skins, stems etc. from winemaking. Not the most poetic origin story…or maybe it is? “They squeezed everything from the grapes, left them there to rot and just when it seemed like it was all over…” Where was I? Oh yes, this is a marc and I obviously know all about marcs and am not at all spinning my wheels here before getting to the review. Marc seems to be made in pretty much every winemaking region of France, which makes sense, I guess. This one is from the Jacoulot estate in Burgundy and is made from Burgundy’s most famous red wine grape: pinot noir. Despite these fancy associations, I’m guessing this is going to be funky as my understanding is that marcs are generally funky. Well, I’ve been known to be funky in my time too—okay, okay, so I haven’t. I do have a couple more samples of marcs on my shelf though and I’m hoping my first experience won’t put me off trying the others (which was roughly my reaction to the first grappa I had many years ago—and I never quite acquired the taste). Anyway, let’s see what this is like.
Jacoulot 7, Marc de Bourgogne (45%; from a sample from a friend)
Nose: Aniseed, rotting apple peels, fresh paint, varnish; a bit of burnt plastic in there too. Yet, somehow it works. Gets more garbagey with time (like literally a garbage dump with organic material that’s ripened with time). Okay, let’s see what water does. A few drops and it mellows a bit but it’s still a mellow garbage dump.
Palate: Sweeter on the palate at first with aniseed, pleather, beach ball and all kinds of other unlikely things rising up from below. Lemon begins to emerge as I swallow. Not much of an alcohol burn and a nice texture. Gets spicier with time and the chemical notes recede a bit. Spicier with water and there’s more acid—a mix of lemon and cider, I want to say.
Finish: Long. Gets almost conventional here with the fruit emerging onto centerstage (lemon, overripe bananas, a touch of mango). The aniseed begins to turn to mint as it goes (more toothpaste than fresh mint). As on the palate with water.
Comments: Once upon a time I would have hated this but I think the funk of Jamaican rum—Hampden in particular—has trained me well for this bizarro pour. I didn’t enjoy this as much as the better Jamaican rums I’ve had but I wouldn’t mind going on this wild ride every once in a while. As in buy a bottle and take three years to drink it down. I much preferred the palate with water and wish I’d added some earlier.
Rating: 85 points.
Thanks to Sku for the sample.