The village social scene seems to have picked up this summer and I can't help but feel that now my wife has become a school governor we're picking up invites that maybe would have passed us by last year, however we're still getting out more than we used to which has to be a good thing. Ann, our now-retired local vicar, is married to a man very well connected in the wine trade (incidentally a friend of Robin Yapp from the 1970s) and has invited us for supper a few times but we had never quiet made it. Finally this Saturday we'd managed to sort out babysitters and the such like so we were off.

syrah - tandem

When visiting oenophiles it's always fun to think ahead and think a little left field as this is sure to ignite discussion. Yapp Brothers has recently shipped a delicious Moroccan Syrah grown by Alain Graillot, who normally focuses on world-renowned red Crozes Hermitage so this was left field enough for the evening - or so I thought. Wine 'Top Trumps' was soon the entertaining game of the evening - my 2009 Moroccan Syrah was trumped by a 2008 Syrah from Virginia! As we coasted through a number of interesting wines that kept us thoroughly entertained we'd arrived at the "What's the most unusual wine you've got to hand?" moment of the evening. Our host just couldn't resist the challenge and a bottle was duly produced to blind taste.


So, should you ever be shown this bottle be prepared. I'd spotted the Vigneron Independent logo on the foil so had a small advantage knowing it was French and at 12 percent ABV I was thinking of the Loire - but it didn't taste, well, like a Loire red really should. I'd guessed Cabernet Franc, however our host was genuinely delighted when he'd unearthed this Malbec from the Loire Valley. All rather cunning but great fun!

Now I need to think very carefully about the return leg...