I earned my PhD in Marc de Champagnology when I made my first batch of Pink Champagne Truffles. More than half a day was spent running around town to find ‘Marc de Champagne’ and I thought I would save you the trip if you were embarking on the same adventure.
Marc de Champagne is a type of grappa made in the Champagne region of France. Grappa be considered a moonshine of sorts as it is a brandy distilled from the fermented residue of grapes after they have been pressed in winemaking moonshine. Marc is made from pomace — the leftover skins, seeds and stems from the production of champagne that are fermented and distilled into brandy.
According to my research, Champagne producers typically do not have their own facilities for the production of Marc — they send out their pomace to a local distiller, who then sends back the Marc for bottling and labeling. Many Champagne houses sell Marc at the cellar door, but very little of it is exported.
Which explains why it is so hard to find. In the US, Jean Goyard Marc de Champagne seems to have had regular distribution but after checking with one of my stops, K &L Wine Merchants, it seems the most the last record bottle in their coffers was in 2010.
Jean Goyard has an interesting history itself. Founded by Jean Goyard in 1911 who originally is from Burgundy once settled in the Champagne region, he took advantage of the crisis affecting the region where wine that couldn’t be sold was dumped in ditches. He offered local wineries his distillery services to make ancillary products like brandies and grappas. Its now owned by Cristal Cooper and Cohesive group french agri-business giants.
Marc comes in an unaged variety, but some are aged in oak barrels — these will be labelled Vieux or Tres Vieux (Français for Old and Very Old) . Most Marc de Champagne is 80 proof.
It is particularly fine brandy with a mild, spicy taste. Its color ranges from clear to light-yellow, Directly after pressing, the grapes are fermented in a mash for over 3 weeks. Two phases of distillation then increase the brandy’s alcohol content to 70%. Afterwards, the desired alcohol content is acquired by adding water. The fine brandy is then stored for a few months to round off its taste.Before Marc de Champagne is filled into bottles, different brandies from different years and barrels are mixed together, and the whole lot is filtered once more.
Want to get your self a bottle, you should start your quest here.