I'M continuing my love in with the French this week with a look at one of their best exports. No, I'm not talking about Renault, foie gras or self confidence but rather the 18-grape symphony of Châteauneuf Du Pape.

Yes, you read it right: 18 grapes are allowed in the blend including both red and white varieties which makes it arguably the most complex wine blend in the world. It also means that when they get it right, and they invariably do, you have to take a sip, step back and salute the best wine-makers in the world. As well as being the best, they are also quite canny because no vineyard in the world is daft enough to try replicating these wines in all their glory.

You get some superb Grenache Mouvedre and shiraz blends from Australia but unlike the Aussies' ‘claret’ blends, the SGMs as they are often referred to, just can't be compared in any way to their French counterparts.

Although 18 varieties are allowed, you generally find the main grape these days is grenache with the rest providing a supporting cast role, but that does allow for a bit of consistency and familiarity across the various vineyards. Let's face it though, grenache is a cracking variety with its lively crushed fruit aromas, spice and a tendency to convert its rich sugars so easily to alcohol.

The crossed keys logo that proudly adorns each bottle comes from the time when the Papacy relocated to that region of France in the Middle Ages. See that, wine knowledge and general history in one column. You can also get white Chateauneuf du Pape but that's a bit rarer and more specialised so we will take a look at that in the new year.

Châteauneuf Du Pape, Grande Reserve, Beauchene

Trust me, folks, this is one of the best styles money can buy and in this case, not much money at all. Rich, vibrant fruits, spice and a wonderful hint of leather on the finish. My lord, this is good.

Corney & Barrow £27.95

Châteauneuf Du Pape, Charbonniere Mouree

Autumn berries with masses of spice, pepper and a bit of treacle on the palate. This is a big, big wine.

Master of Malt £39.50