2011 Cornas, Domaine Alain Verset

Cornas is of course made from syrah, which in the Rhône often tastes as if it has been seasoned with crushed black peppercorns. If it’s a good wine there ought also be a skein of mineral, and, if the wine is stil young or youngish, a dense, purplish-black lick of fruit.

This Alain Verset Cornas hits all the right notes at first whiff. Verset has a tiny vineyard holding of two hectares but boutique is not the right word here. He used to make wine in his spare time, and worked in a factory for his day job.

“At a time when Cornas had less of a following he was actually selling some of his wine in bulk,” says Siobhán Astbury of Haynes, Hanson & Clark, his importer. “Now he is a fulltime winemaker, in his 60s. It’s a tiny set-up – a two-man band with him and his daughter.”

The wine is pressed using an old-fashioned basket press, which helps to preserve a sense of texture and place, and it’s superb. Already drinking well now, or it will keep awhile. If you don’t like grouse, find another excuse to drink it – such as rillettes on white baguette with the sting of cornichons. Or a beef and olive daube.

Victoria Moore in The Telegraph on 18th August, 2017