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The Fer Grape


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About Fer

(Synonyms: Braucol, Caillaba, Camaralet Noir, Camirouch, Estronc, Fer Servadou, Gragnelut, Hère, Mansois, Mourac, Pinenc, Samençois, Servadou.)

Background

Map showing the Basque region.

Fer is a red-wine grape often thought to have arisen in France’s Gironde region, but now thought to more likely have come out of the Basque region, shown at the left (now a part of Spain, though the Basques are not happy about that).

Map showing the Marcillac region of France.

Fer would seem to be an old grape variety: for example, it is now known, from DNA analysis to be a grandparent of Carmenère. It is today widely grown in France, pretty much across most of southern France and especially in the southwest. It is the dominant grape of the Marcillac appellation (location shown at the right), often making up 100% of red Marcilliacs; up to 10% of other reds are allowed in a Marcilliac, but most winemakers do them as 100% Fer.

A typical Fer wine will be fairly dark in color, tannic, and a tad herbaceous. In well-made specimens, the flavors are of fruit, notably cassis and the various red fruits. Some describe them as “rustic”, a word with no clear meaning but suggesting the aforesaid herbaceousness (which has led some to compare it to Cabernet Franc).

Factoid: The name “Fer” is not—over-perpetuated lore notwithstanding—related to iron (fer in French) from the hardness of the vine rootstocks; rather, it derives from Latin ferus, meaning wild or (cognate word) feral. That is likely owing to the variety having arisen from wild grape vines.

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Some Descriptions of Fer Wines

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Some Fers to Try

(About this list.)

Fer wines being somewhat scarce in the U.S., our list is a bit shorter than usual.


Domaine du Cros “Cuvée VV” Vieilles Vignes Marcillac
(They have several Fer bottlings: this is their “Vieilles Vignes” bottling.)

• This wine’s Wine Searcher “Tasting Notes” page.
• This wine’s CellarTracker review pages.
• Retail offers of this wine listed by Wine Searcher
• Retail offers of this wine listed by 1000 Corks



Domaine du Cros “Lo Sang del Pais” Marcillac
(They have several Fer bottlings: this is their “Lo Sang del Pais” bottling.)

• This wine’s Wine Searcher “Tasting Notes” page.
• This wine’s CellarTracker review pages.
• Retail offers of this wine listed by Wine Searcher
• Retail offers of this wine listed by 1000 Corks



Domaine Philemon “Croix d’Azal” Gaillac

• This wine’s Wine Searcher “Tasting Notes” page.
• This wine’s CellarTracker review pages.
• Retail offers of this wine listed by Wine Searcher
• Retail offers of this wine listed by 1000 Corks

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For a Splurge

We could find no reasonably available Fer wines better enough than those listed above as to justify a “splurge” price.

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This page was last modified on Sunday, 16 February 2020, at 1:55 am Pacific Time.