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The Observer

Published:  23 July, 2008

Last week Tim Atkin MW spent 500 (of his own money, he assures us) to attend a very special tasting of Cte Rtie. Emphasising he is "not someone who has money to throw away" and has never "flashed my own credit card so wantonly", Atkin admits this was something of a special occasion. The tasting - organised by Christie's Wine Department - gave the Observer critic a chance to select 20 samples from the "greatest ever" vintage of 1999. He adds the "myth" that the Syrah/Viognier blend is typical of Cte Rtie has caught on in other parts of the world, especially Australia. There are some great opportunities that have sprung from this folklore, particularly if you are looking to spend in the 30 bracket. He recommends the 2005 Shiraz/Viognier Yering Station (9.99, Sainsbury's) and the "intense yet balanced 2004" Cte Rtie Domaine Jamet (34.90, Bibendum).