Miha Trifa and Tom Gautier

l’Absurde Génie des Fleurs (Bédarieux, France)

Morning pruning in January, 2023

Miha Trifa has jokingly referred to Bédarieux as the center of the universe to me a few times recently, and at this point, I’m not sure it’s even a joke anymore. On a recent and much too quick trip to France, which to be honest, was mostly a sojourn to pay respects to the inimitable duo of Miha Trifa and Tom Gautier, and to attend the inauguration of their new much larger cellar, I, a wine freak and musician from Los Angeles, was among a cast of characters that to be frank, I don’t think I could find elsewhere in the world perhaps other than some shelved Agnes Varda film—vignerons both degenerate and not from the region and elsewhere, Berlin electronic musicians, punks of all ages, thirsty wine importers, vegan cooks, cavistes, self-important artists, far left anarchist writers, math rock bands, and probably even more types that I failed to clock were all in attendance. In true l’Absurde fashion, the first thing installed in their new sizeable cellar was a kind of creepy sound installation, as well as a painting show, rather than any sort of winemaking equipment that for whatever reason, I expected to see upon entering. It was an insanely festive afternoon full of experimental music performances that turned into a late night for most (I ducked out at around 23:00 and caught the first reasonable night of sleep on my trip at that point), and then started, or continued for some, into the next day with another concert plus more food and wine in a nearby park.

Miha sharing Ploum 2016 out of magnum, from their first vintage

Miha and Tom are coming into their own as leaders of a certain tribe of free thinkers, that look to them as examples of how to move forward (or not) in this world with nothing but pure intuition and hard work, and perhaps most importantly, a strong sense in the notions of community at large. Rather than pouring only their own wine at the makeshift bar set up at the cellar party, there were mostly bottles from their friends on offer. Of course Miha did open up some new l’Absurde releases alongside a few gems from their cellar like Ploum 16 and Ciulin 19—both undeniably wise bottles, and further proof that it pays off to hold back sometimes. Unlike last year when the duo released a barrage of wines all at once, almost everything being bottled in magnum as well, there are only 75 cl’s this year, and the wines will be released in a couple of batches, giving us drinkers a little bit more time and room to enjoy and to understand each cuvée. I find Arc incredibly striking right out of the gate, but of course with the beautiful hit of sugar on top, this is also a wine to keep for later. Elsewhere, Zmeurica intrigues with bitter fruited elegance and depth; a contemplative crusher of sorts. Miha said to me that she feels Dor 22 is almost too serious for her, and I jokingly replied that it’s because I was part of the team that did the labor, cutting each grape by hand one by one, that the wine turned out that way. Serious by l’Absurde standards perhaps, but this is far from some harsh tannin bomb from the south—elegant and structured now with a certain dewey quality that reminds me of old Alain Castex wines, this will no doubt soften up with time and become a rare treasure. Anyways, I’ll stop myself there and not give anything else away. Happy drinking :)

Delta 2022

Dor 2022
Cinsault / Carignan / Aramon / Terret

Ciulin 2022
Terret Gris / Terret Blanc

Zmeurica 2022
Cinsault / Carignan / Mourvedre

Arc 2022

Tutti Frutti 2022

Amics 2022
Maceration of Terrets + a bit of Ugni Blanc from neighbors Julie and Xavier of La Marotte

A poster for a recent concert inside Axel Prüfer’s cellar