Boutique Wineries Tasting, I bumped into a brace of MWs at the Gauntleys of Nottingham stand - Tim Atkin who is currently busy with his Three Wine Men project and Julia Harding who writes for Jancis Robinson.
With mainly Rhône on show, I asked Tim which he had found impressive and he suggested I try the Nicolas Croze Côtes du Rhône Tradition 2009.
Made mainly from Syrah, but with a bit of Grenache in the blend, it showed red and black berry fruits with a smooth texture.
Next I tried a La Floriane Côtes du Rhône Visan 2009 made from 90% Grenache.
Normally a blowsy, fruity, in-yer-face sort of grape, in the right hands - and often in the Rhône - Grenache is capable of producing something altogether more restrained, sophisticated and classy.
This one was dark and inky with blackcurrant fruit, pepperiness and garrigue herbs, whilst the acidity is juicy and it has a lovely grippy texture.
On the palate, it is peppery, dark and dense.
Tim's suggestion notwithstanding, I recommend the l'Echevin Côtes du Rhône (£10.99) for its wonderfully dense, inky texture.
I would suggest either decanting or aging in bottle for quite a few years to see it at its best.
Boutique Wineries - http://www.boutique-wineries.co.uk/
Gauntleys of Nottingham - http://www.gauntleys.com/
Tim Atkin - http://www.timatkin.com/
Julia Harding - http://www.mastersofwine.org/en/about/meet-the-masters/profile/index.cfm/id/c39b4c5c-724c-4e1e-ad5fd03686eb4547