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Jean-Luc Colombo

Jean-Luc Colombo's mother was a cook from Marseilles who ran a local restaurant, and from her he learned the skills that would result in him becoming an exceptional cook himself. Like all people interested in food, the pleasure of taste is intrinsic, and this inevitably led him to study oenology and the gastronomic pairing of wines with the foods of his childhood. Jean-Luc and his wife Anne have made an unparalleled contribution the the Rhône Valley. He also has a pharmacy degree and in 1984 together with Anne, opened their “Centre Oenologique des Côtes du Rhône” wine laboratory and they have both been awarded the French Légion d’ Honneur, France's highest civilian award. The Colombo's revitalized the Cornas wine region by introducing what were revolutionary ideas at the time, like organic viticulture, green harvesting, de-stemming before fermentation and extended maceration. These methods have not always made him popular with the old school winemakers of this traditional region; indeed, he has referred jokingly to himself as “the most hated and loved winemaker in the Rhône”. But these controversial ideas slowly became accepted and Jean-Luc has worked with over 100 producers in the Rhône Valley as a consultant and influenced many young winemakers. Jean-Luc acquired his first vineyard in 1986, and now it is a real family affair: Anne, herself a cordon bleu chef, is the vineyard specialist, and their daughter Laure joined the business in 2010, following a Bachelor in Viticulture and Oenology from Bordeaux, and a Masters Degree in Oenology from Montpellier. She is a talented winemaker who, as well as assisting with her parents maison, has also started up her own winery, Le Domaine du Lorinet, in Saint Péray with her partner Dimitri. The Colombo estate is located in the heart of Cornas in the Northern Rhône. They are passionate about the environment and biodiversity and their vineyards have been certified organic from the 2015 vintage. 13 hectares are under vine in Cornas in the Domaine de Eygas Vineyard, planted with Syrah on four different sites; Les Ruchets (their flagship wine), La Louvée, Les Terres Brulées and Vallon de l'Aigle, on 300 million year old decomposing steep granite terraces. The wines from here are complex, powerful yet elegant with a glorious fragrance. The Domaine du Mois du Mai Vineyard in Saint Péray, just south of Cornas in the Ardèche, is planted with 80 year old Marsanne and Roussanne vines - these wines are floral and mineral whites. The Domaine de Champ Fleuri, Côte Bleue Vineyard near the Gulf of Marseilles, is planted with Clairette on limestone soils, and produces full-bodied wines with fresh aromas and a spicy palate. Jean-Luc is also a négociant and sources grapes from other appellations in the Rhône to craft superb Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Condrieu, Crozes Hermitage, Hermitage, Côte Rotie, Saint Joseph and Côte du Rhône. Altogether a comprehensive portfolio of impressive wines are produced. Jean-Luc's bottles are as unique as his wines; he is a finger painting enthusiast, and each one of his bottles is graced with a unique label illustrating the name and the story behind each wine. Jean-Luc Colombo is hailed as the winemaking wizard of the Rhône, and indeed, his wines are quite magical!