The world of wine has plenty of superstar grapes with Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Carmenere, Shiraz and Chardonnay on anyone's ‘A’ list and with the exception of the latter two, it just shows what an impact Bordeaux has had on the world.

So, my question is, with so many fabulous varieties and at least one blockbusting wine that even beer drinkers have heard about in Chateauneuf du Pape, why is the Rhone lagging so far behind? Shiraz is, without doubt, a red carpet variety but what about the rest of the Rhone Rangers? I know I'm mainly a red wine chap but trust me, if you've never tasted a good white Rhone Valley wine or a new world Viognier or Marsanne then you haven't lived.

They produce some cracking whites with the young ones so aromatic and packed with soft fruits, but at the top end, they can display some of the creamiest, deepest flavours of any white wines in the world. If you want an early barbeque tip, it’s Hunter Valley Semillon folks.

It's the red grapes that offer by far the most variety of flavours and styles though and that makes for many an interesting tasting session. Grenache was a minor star of the noughties with Old Vine versions gracing many a dinner table but then the novelty wore off leaving Shiraz or Syrah (you call it tomato etc etc) as the only premier league red grape but after a recent tasting session, I think its time to put the others on the catwalk. Grenache is still a fabulous variety of course but just recently, I've tasted one or two gorgeous wines made from Cinsault and Carignan.

The latter is becoming a single varietal star in South America but my new love right now is a variety that I used to tease for making thin peppery crimes against wine and that’s Cinsault. Tescos have come up trumps with their own label version from South Africa and those wonderful guys from the Garage Wine Company in Chile have one that will blow your socks off. Anyway, my point is, there's more to the Rhone Valley than Papal crosses on expensive bottles.

Tescos Fairtrade Cinsault, South Africa

Berries and pepper on the nose with soft, warm autumn fruits and hints of herbs on the palate. Best with Pork dishes or chargrilled chicken but as a Vegan wine, it's also great with rich vegetarian dishes.

Tescos £7.50

Vat 16 by Flagstone, South Africa

Cherries and plums on the nose with a cracking rich raspberry palate and a hint of spice. So much fruit that you hardly notice its whopping alcohol level.

Laithwaites Wines £12.99

Gerard Richardson MBE