We had arrived in Berlou and, by this time had visited Terre de Loup and having been recommended and had a brief taste of Mas au Schiste we were keen for more. We followed the signs and all we could find were a few garages and what looked like someones own small building project - still despite this we were not to be put off and got out of the car to see if we could see anyone, or anything around - and sure enough one of the garages looked like it had some wine vats in it and a short while later a French worker passed and told us to wait where he was he would go and find M. Rimbert.
Time came and time went - we were beginning to wonder whether we had fallen foul of a French practical joke when a scruffy looking, young chap turned up asking whether we wanted to taste the wines or not - "Of course!" we cried, so our new best friend opened a garage door and beckoned us in - and sure enough it was a garage, about the size needed for a good sized car - only this was 1/2 full of wine in cases, and on some of the boxes were laid out a few wine glasses and some opened bottles of wine.
We started with "Cousin Oscar 2005" - at 4 Euros a real bargain, simple and fruity - exactly what you would expect from an inexpensive - but nonetheless well made wine. Whilst tasting this it occurred to me that there was no spitoon anywhere to be seen, and as I was driving I was forced to spit right on their doorstep - much to the amusement of our French friend.
"Les Travers de Marceau 2005" (E6,40) was a finer wine - yet still amazingly under £5 UK price - more complex, more fruit, better balanced it was worth the step up in price. However "Le Mas au Schiste 2004" (E10,00) was altogether a finer example, a lovely bouquet of spicey fruit was followed up on the palate with some liquorice and a touch of the "garrigue" - one of the better wines of the holiday and the reason for our trip out to Berlou that day.
M. Rimbert is a real fan of Carignan and not for him the wimpy style produced from Carbonic Maceration, he produces two 100% Carignan cuvee's one, "Le Chant de la Marjolaine 2004" at E7,00 a wonderful surprise and proof that the Carignan grape can mix it with the best to produce wines of character, style and refinement at a very decent price - the same cannot be said for "El Cariginator II", although the Marjolaine was a powerful and full wine, it wasn't a touch on this, this really was powerful, perhaps too powerful, however it is typical of several top cuvee' styles from the region, one could almost mistake it for being fortified such is the depth, the sweetness of fruit (though the wine is dry) - opinions in our party were mixed - several found it too much to bear, whilst I decided that, whilst matching it to food might be almost impossible, it would be lovely in the height of winter by an open fire- however it is also E18,30 and given the difference in price I'd have 2 bottles of the Marjolaine for less money every single day of the week - that is not to say it is a bad wine - rather that the Marjolaine is really rather good and a bit of a personal favourite of mine!