There's always on-going discussions about which wines are showing well any many a recommendation to take on-board but I took a more systematic approach after been identified as a "Southern Man" by our Shop Manger - which I think this means that I have a preference for Southern Wines and nothing to do with anything else specifically unless of course you are of an age when Neil Young's "After the Goldrush" rings any bells..

So, my plan was to start at the beginning of the Yapp list, starting on page 7 and have a vinery tour down the Rhone - naturally heading south. I've tried and returned to many of the mid-pagers (mainly the Côtes du Rhône Villages Rasteau: Saint Gayan 2006, Côtes du Rhône: Cuvée Personelle 2000 and Côtes du Ventoux: Château Valcombe 2005) but soon headed off further down the page - I got to Bin 09 - Vin des Amis (literally "Wine of the Friends") produced by Auguste, Pierre & Olivier Clape.

When I asked about it at Yapp HQ not that many of the staff had tried it recently - so I was literally heading off into uncharted water. The tasting notes say "A tasty, vibrant Syrah that is a terrific, low-priced introduction to the Clape range"- it was a gem of a find, 100% Syrah and as warming and satisfying as any Autumnal fireside red should be. This thought came to mind again when I was talking with a customer at our Vintners Hall tasting in November who was sharing her "secret find" with me of a fantastic red called Vin des Amis and had I tried it? Now I'm sure that we're not the only ones to have enjoyed this particular wine - but it is worth a try if you are ever heading off towards the Rhone or browsing the first few pages of the Yapp list.

On a personal note, watch out at the end of the bottle as not only will you need to keep an eye out for the fine sediment (the wine is not filtered to give greater character) but you'll want to order more - and we have finite stock and I'm hoping to hang on to a modest proportion of that myself.