Having cut his wine-making teeth in the cellars of Rhône luminary Michel Chapoutier, Julien Montagnon took over Domaine Lombard in Brézème in 2011 and hit the ground running as a vigneron indépendent bottling his own wines. It was a shrewd move as here on the southernmost flank of the Northern Rhône the vineyards enjoy excellent exposure and drainage but don't command the eye-watering land costs of more celebrated appellations. This enables Julien to produce wines that are unequivocally good value for money. A case in point is his Viognier - a humble Vin de Pays de Drôme with bags of varietal character, lovely peach and apricot fruit offset by a mineral streak and a clean finish. His Brézème blanc is made from a blend of 80% Marsanne, 15% Roussanne and 5% Viognier that are fermented in vat and raised in used oak demi-muid barrels. With apricot and honeysuckle scents and a smoothly-textured, persistent palate of white peaches and yellow plums it makes a fine partner to fish and poultry. Julien also produces an excellent red Vin de Pays called 'La Rénommé' from a Côte-Rôtie-inspired blend of 10% Viognier and 90% Syrah under his 'Maison Lombard' négociant label. With crushed dark berry aromas and a wealth of stewed plum and damson flavours offset by peppery undertones it has rapidly garnered a loyal following. The flagship wine here is Julien's pure Syrah from mature rootstock called 'Le Grand Chêne'. It has a briary bouquet of ripe hedgerow fruit and dense palate of black fruit supported by rugged tannins that will soften with bottle age. It makes a fine partner to game and mushroom dishes and will cellar well for a decade.