A visit to the People`s Palace which is Andre Romero`s Headquarters is always entertaining. Andre the hospitable was out buying our lunch when we arrived and so we were left to rootle about in the cellar for a bit. Then Frederic, Andre`s son, started us on the tasting. The wines had just been sulphured prior to the bottling four weeks later and were still full of carbonic gas - so could have been forgiven for showing less well than they did. Resplendent as ever in his AC Rasteau track suit the man himself appeared lugging a car full of carrier bags. But don`t worry, there were no salad leaves or vegetables, except the carrots in the pig`s head pate (we failed to recognise this until it was pointed out to two Chinese merchants, when the component parts became more obvious). It was very tasty though. Andre does a lot of mentoring among younger winemakers and we were introduced to his current protege. And so the tasting began. With cloudless skies outside and the Mistral howling around the exposed building, a brilliant line-up was presented. I must say that the wines, despite a little reduction at this awkward stage, were expressive, and from the Vin de Pays Cabernet to the Fleur de Confiance highlighted once more the confident winemaking and extremely old vines of the estate. I was particularly taken by the Violette, a conscious treading on the toes of Cote Rotie producers. Not yet on our list was an outstanding Tannat, and untasted were other varieties we can`t even talk about (legally). Incidentally, if you ever want to know which producers have upset Andre recently, pay a visit to his bathroom, where the offender`s bottles act as toilet roll holders. We haven`t seen Andre this year, but this modern-day Kulak will probably be at the UGC tastings in Bordeaux being shepherded around by the aristocracy.