Jean-Luc Colombo and his wife Anne first established an oenological laboratory in Cornas in the Northern Rhône in 1982. At the same time Jean-Luc started a wine making equipment business selling barrels and the like to wineries in the area. Through his contacts, he quickly became very well known and respected for his sound oenological knowledge and soon some of the biggest names in the region, such as Georges Vernay and Michael Gérin, looked to him for advice. This led to a flourishing consultancy business that spread as far as Châteauneuf-du-Pape through which he successfully helped to introduce modern day winemaking techniques into this previously somewhat rustic region. This fight to modernise winemaking in the area led him to develop other innovations such as the association Rhône Vignobles – an association which reunited all of his clients in the hope to enable fruitful exchanges on how to improve wine quality, as well as promote “en masse” their advances to the wider world.
Cornas, Northern Rhône – France
In 1987 Jean-Luc and his wife bought an old rundown farm near the top of the South-facing hill in Cornas along with 10 hectares of vines. In parallel, in 1994 he established what is now a flourishing Rhone Valley négociant business, producing wines from appellations such as Côte Rotie and Hermitage. However, we have concentrated on the wines that he is producing from his small Domaine, which come exclusively from vines in Cornas. This Domaine is now being run by his wife Anne, and has developed a highly respected image and cult following in the USA and around the world.
Viticulture and Winemaking
Although the Colombo’s are not biodynamic (which is unsurprising considering their scientific backgrounds) their viticulture is minimalistic – they work the soils, use grass between the rows, compost where necessary and chemical treatments are used only when absolutely necessary. However, the winemaking for both wines is unmistakably new-world, using 100% de-stemming, cold maceration, controlled fermentation and frequent pump-overs. In addition, the wines are aged in new barrels for around 20 months before bottling.