Serge, the producteur-facteur who makes Agarrus, tells me that his wines are organic, a point I had missed, but which is evident when - as I did in Momo's restaurant, Le Marina, last Saturday - one accompanies a steak a cheval with a bottle of his excellent vdp/igp Duche d'Uzes.
Serge's wines, and those of Amy and Matt at La Gramiere, are - and I mean this as a serious compliment - slightly rougher, more rustic, less clean than so many of today's wines. They have more character, more taste, more earthiness. They are not lounge-lizard smooth in the manner of so many modern reds which are made to suit lowest common denominator palates. They have an edge to them. There is something here to dislike as well as like.
Which is why I was disappointed but not surprised that these wines were not amongst the prize-winners at the Foire aux Vins in Uzes this last weekend.
The Foire aux Vins takes place in a very hot, elongated marquee in the Esplanade. This year is the 36th, and there were 57 varieties of exhibitor offering tastings of innumerable wines.
I'm not a fan of large-scale tastings. I don't know how wine writers manage to work their way through so many so quickly and still make valid judgements. So I headed for Jean-Marc Floutier and Domaine de la Grand Chemin. I wanted a taste of two wines only.
The first is his new Rose, which he has named Incroyable. It's a blend of Pinot Noir (of which more in a moment) and Cinsault, and he is asking 9.40 a bottle for it. Hence the incroyable, I suppose. It has body and power, for sure, but I'm afraid I will stick with his Gris at half the price.
The second wine was his Pinot Noir. To be honest, I was sceptical: in my view, Languedoc and Pinot Noir don't go together. Or at least not readily.
But what a pleasant surprise. This time, Jean-Marc has produced a light and elegant wine which is clearly Pinot Noir but without the over-heated jamminess of much from the Languedoc (and, indeed, much from California). It doesn't have that wonderful farmyard taste of good Burgundy, but I enjoyed it a great deal. I didn't spit! In fact,
I was tempted to cadge another glass, but I was already late to meet family and friends for oysters and Picpoul de Pinet.
And, of course, I'd already decided we were to drink Agarrus that evening.
Today's listening: The iPod on shuffle. Four Bob songs in succession, followed by three Dead, followed by Follow the Drinking Gourd from Paul Kantner, followed by The Velvet Underground's I'm beginning to see the light. What can this mean?