As we cruise into the last third of February, you don't have to be a meteorological magi to discern that we're not out of winter yet.

Romain Duvernay 2011 Cotes du Rhone

 

A friend recently trudged up to my office at around 6:30pm to find me opening a bottle of Romain Duvernay, 2011 from Côtes-du-Rhône. Anticipating pleasure he seized the bottle from my hands and inspected the label, nodding sage-like and exclaiming, "Nice… it is definitely Côtes-du-Rhône season!"

Ordinary Rhône wines night suffice if the conversation is established in flow and you are trying to hold distraction-by-pleasure at bay, but when we're damp, a little testy and tired, we want quality in bags! Thus I am pleased to say that the Romain Duvernay delivered a mouthful of pleasure that stopped us both in our tracks. After a sniff and sip, Ricardo paused for thought before exclaiming that he thought I was being extravagant with my choices but - and here's the tip - this bottle only costs a tenner.

Made from old grenache, syrah and mourvèdre vines, this wine has hints of rich dark fruits that are balanced with good tannin that cuts across the palate leaving it fresh and wanting another sip. Just how I like it! The blend ensures a combination of emergent flavours. I noticed liquorice and Ricardo picked out some spices before musing on a plate of roasted winter vegetables. The scene was set!

I was sent this to taste by Roberson Wine and asked to give a frank response. Well, frankly, it is delicious and a bargain! I would recommend it with pleasure. Buy a case or two, one to drink and one hide under the stairs… in the children's playpen, or wherever you choose, but bring out a bottle every six months or so, and see how it develops.

CÔTES DU RHÔNE 2011, ROMAIN DUVERNAY

Available from Romain Duvernay Cotes du Rhone
Bottle price £9.95
Bottle price when buying case of twelve £8.46