Irishman Pat Neville's passion for wine has taken him from reading about it at school to starting his own vineyard in France's Corbieres AC.
Fontjoncouse is one of those French villages where you would be forgiven for wondering if there is anybody home. From its hillside perch you can see the Mediterranean, where most of the Irish who fly into Carcassonne enjoy the buzz.
Up here it's quiet. There is, of course, a purr of traffic to its two-star Michelin restaurant, Auberge du Vieux Puits.
Sometimes, across the road, on a Sunday afternoon, the sonorous tones of Michael O Muircheartaigh resonate from the house of 'L'Irlandais' who, himself, played football for Wexford in the Seventies. That Irishman, Pat Neville from Wellington Bridge, now lives an hour from Carcassonne; a couple of hours flying time from Dublin and a world away from St Peter's College, Wexford, where this journey began.
In the early Seventies, the teenage boarder became fascinated by a solitary book in the school library "showing the sensational variety that there was in wine".
After the Leaving Certificate, Pat had series of jobs and among his passions was wine.
"All week I was thinking about the wine I was going to buy. I was paid on Thursday and by Friday I had bought three or four bottles from Miley Kehoe in Enniscorthy."
It's a passion he shares with his wife, Catherine McGuinness. From their very earliest days, the couple spent holidays visiting vineyards wondering why it was that people were prepared to pay for a particular soil, a year.
By his mid-twenties, Pat was working for the ESB "with a lot of time to think; I walked the line and I just thought about wine, music and books".
The lure of a return to formal study led him to UCC, a degree in English and Greek and Classic Civilization, an MA exploring language through Old English riddles, and a couple of years as a senior tutor.
Catherine, meanwhile, was working for Apple Computers, and in 1991 they grabbed an opportunity for her to transfer to Holland.
From there, Pat's work as a language consultant took him to Sarajevo, Srebrenica even, with the Dutch/UN forces, his linguistic skills assisting a tiptoe through a diplomatic minefield.
Then Catherine was offered a job in Geneva. "I thought 'fine, there are vineyards down there'." Always the passion.
He was 45 and "almost giving up" in 2001 when their search for their own vineyard ended in Corbieres AC, one of a number of winemaking regions in Languedoc- Roussillon.
A house in Fontjoncouse with its own winery and eight hectares of vines and Domaine Aonghusa (McGuinness) was born. They have added another four hectares, including a plot of 60-year-old Grenache vines, bought with the proceeds of wine auctioned at Christies in Geneva, leaving only a tiny dent in his 3,500 bottle collection.
Pat is no longer merely visiting, but working vineyards. "I want to make a wine where the third glass is more interesting than the first, not one where everything you want to know is in the first mouthful."
That can be a hard call in a world awash with easy drinking styles. "I know the kind of wine I like; good wine to be taken with food, not wines for sitting on a terrace with and sipping."
He does most of it himself, as Catherine is still commuting long-distance from Geneva.
"We had imagined that after seven years we would be living full-time together, or at least that Catherine would be working nearby. This part has not gone to plan."
But, he says, "we had no illusions about what we were undertaking. Now, finally, we have the varieties we want in the places that we want, and also a growing sense of how best to tease the vinous essences out of these hillsides, for that's what making wine is -- or should be -- about".
The expert on language now giving expression to terroir.
Family members come out to help with the harvest and his brother, Jim (half of the Thurles-based Neville and Nicholson, which specialises in wines from Languedoc-Roussillon) sells the wines in Ireland. Domaine Aonghusa also sells elsewhere in Europe.
The recent harvest was kind. "The Carignan outperformed. The older Grenache and older Syrah are also very good. The younger Syrah had a tougher time ripening because the crop was large and it reacted badly to a cold snap at the beginning of September."
It hasn't all been easy, but Pat says this was about pursuing a passion rather than fulfilling a romantic dream. "We do it because we want to and have been able to."