A heroic brew at a house-wine price

2010 Les Plans, Domaine Santa Duc, Vin de Pays de Vaucluse, Southern Rhône, France (£97.20 per case of 12 bottles, £8.10 per bottle, Robert Rolls Fine Wines, 020-3215 0011, www.robertrolls.com).

I love the wines of the southern Rhône and Gigondas is one of the best value, most seriously underrated red wines in France. I have followed Santa Duc for aeons and yet for some reason only really tasted the Gigondas wines in their portfolio.

As you may already know, Robert Rolls has one of the most discerning palates in the country and so it is no surprise that he champions Yves Gras’ wines. Robert poured me Yves’ budget rouge, Les Plans, the other day and I nearly fell off my chair. There is no compromise whatsoever in the glass.

Steeped in references to his more famous reds, this cracker comes in at a house-wine price, but seems to be so over-engineered it could pass as a cultured offering from a much grander postcode. Grenache, syrah, merlot and cabernet form the blend in this heroic brew, and oak doesn’t even get a look in.

It’s the earthiness, spice and integrity in this dark, velvety red which captivates the senses. If this wine thrills you, as it does me, then ask for more information on Santa Duc’s top cuvées, Gigondas Les Hautes Garrigues and Les Garancières.

• Matthew Jukes is a winner of the International Wine & Spirit Competition’s Communicator of the Year (www.matthewjukes.com).

Merryn

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