Fer Servadou N (a.k.a. Braucol or Pinenc)

@ Gilles Cattiau / INRA

This grape variety from the great Carmenets family originates from the Spanish Basque Country. Its abundant synonymy testifies to its great dispersion from the Pyrenees to the Vendée (Vairon) via the Bordeaux region (Here – straight wood). Coming from lambrusque (wild vine), it was spread by the Benedictine monks of Madiran and Conques who had recognized its rusticity allowing its cultivation in the Pyrenees and Aveyron. Giroud de Buzareingues mentions it in 1830, under the name of Mansois or Saumoncés, as a grape variety tending to replace Menut (Cabernet Sauvignon) in Marcillac (Aveyron).

Home grown until the 19th century, it has been mistaken with Castes in the Tarn department, and Verdot or Béquignol in the Gironde department.

Cadeaux Cazelet (in Viala et Vermoule, 1910) described it as Fer le Béquignol, a grape variety from the Dordogne valley. This denomination was still used in Sauveterre-de-Guyenne, around 1960, while the Fer (Fer Servadou) was under the name of Mourac; it was given as synonyms Camirouch in the valley of Salat (Ariège), Saoubadé in the valley of Luchon, Arech (which means rustic) in the valley of Rivière (Haute-Garonne) and simply Fer in the neighboring communes of the Hautes-Pyrénées.

It has been cited as a very important grape variety in Jurançon, which is widespread in the Pyrenean valleys; however, its recent introduction in Monein (Pyrénées-Atlantiques) is been more limited.

The characteristics of Fer Servadou are cottony pinkish white buds, young, downy and slightly tanned leaves. It has small to medium sized adult leaves sorted to quinquelobes with a unique leaf dimorphism and medium bunches with ovoid and and a taste reminiscent of Cabernet Sauvignon.

It has a beautiful structure and is often used in blends in Madiran and Saint Mont (under the name Pinenc), and in Gaillac (where it’s called Braucol). It’s almost the unique grape variety in Marcillac – known as Mansois – where it gives its wine a distinct aromatic character of blackcurrant and when the wine matures in the cellar, cherry, spices (pepper…), raspberry, green bell pepper… Fer Servadou plays an important role in the red wines of Entraygues and Estaing in Aveyron.

Production area: 1,564 ha (3,865 acres)

@ Gilles Cattiau / INRA