Tempier 1998 Marc de Provence (Provence) – France is rife – one might legitimately say littered – with distillates that almost no one knows. Of all the European spirits that have been aggressively, relentlessly exported, the micro-marcs are so far down the queue that there’s little hope of ever seeing them out-of-region.
And thus, one must drink them in situ. Or at least in restaurant. I have, I admit, a bit of a fetish for asking after such spirits, but it’s all too often the case that the obvious liquids are so obvious to my interlocutor that they don’t arise in conversation. And when they do, it’s often in the negative: “oh, that’s…rough” as the declination goes. I was turned away from spirits like this very one countless times, in hotel and restaurant bars.
I don’t brag to say that I’m no ordinary drinker; I’ve learned to like the chaos of the private distillation, and I don’t discredit those who would, looking after my well-being, try to dissuade me for cogenerative reasons. But – barring the next-morning hangover from a poorly-distilled spirit – I just don’t mind the weirdness that often results. And so there’s cajoling, and sometimes a measure of begging, but eventually the spirit arises. So to speak.
At Tempier, where I acquire this particular example, the problem isn’t existence – there’s a bottle of this prominently displayed in their foyer – so much as saleability. Where’s the capsule? What’s the price? Can we sell it? Which “vintage”? And so forth. No importer’s last-second demands have caused as much frenetic trauma as my request for a bottle of this spirit, while chez Tempier.
And, so? It’s…majestic. As would, admittedly, be expected from Tempier. Gravels and sands, rocks and earthquakes, bronzed plums and ambered figs. It’s breathtakingly great. (5/12)