I’ve just returned from a trip to France’s Rhone valley, which has always been one of my favourite wine regions.
This time it reminded me of three things. Firstly, that the Rhone really does produce some great-value wines, both red and the often-overlooked whites.
Secondly, that both the 2009 and 2010 vintages were almost without exception stunning everywhere and you should look for these vintages while they are still available.
And thirdly, that Syrah probably gives me more pleasure than any other red grape. Syrah, or Shiraz as it is often called in the new world, can produce wines of great flavour and power but also elegance.
It’s the only red grape permitted in the Northern Rhone with the granite hill of Hermitage showing its true brilliance. A great match for autumn and winter foods.
Crozes Hermitage La Petite Ruche 2009, M.Chapoutier
Made by one of the most dynamic producers in the Rhone, this won three top awards at last year’s International Wine Challenge. There is lots of dark fruit and flavours and spicy, peppery aromas with a hint of herbs and well-balanced acidity. Hugely drinkable and great value, try with a Sunday roast leg of garlicky lamb.
Waitrose £11.99 on offer from £15.99 until October 30.