A bright-eyed literature student at university in Paris, wiling away the hours of book-bound work in caves around the 14th arondissement. More than what’s in the pages, however, he takes to what is physically in front of him, what he will consume –the wine. Beguiled by how strange and different it seems to those he’s drunk at family gatherings and the like before, he becomes transfixed, hooked. Call it an inciting incident – the’ hero’s quest’ now begun, we follow him through the idyllic pastures of the Loire Valley, the famous cellars and chais of Clos Rougeard and the vines of Anjou’s La Grange aux Belles. Suddenly, he’s fully within this different life, of river valleys, fords and glens, the respiration of the soil, the ever-beckoning mystery of wine paired with the embrace of community. Eventually, he embarks on his own and settles down in a hilltop village in the South. A hamlet named Sabran (in the Gard) with a nearly 1000-year-old château, a well-preserved lavoir, and the remains of what once must have been a silkworm factory. It has the makings of a novel and yet it has been, by and large, the real-life path of Frédéric Agneray who, since 2013, has been making supremely fresh (Loire-esque you could say) wines that yet still do carry the power and breadth of expression that is often at the heart of the Gard’s best.
Grenache, Carignan, Syrah and a bit of Clairette from vines rooted in sandy limestone. Fermented in stainless steel, whole cluster, with wild yeasts. Unfined, unfiltered, no SO2. This is an earthy, savory summer red, with zingy acidity and a pleasant chalky texture.