Jean-Luc's fulfillment of a childhood dream came with the purchase of his first vineyard, a small parcel of old vines planted on a granite hillside overlooking the village of Cornas. The 1987 release of Jean-Luc’s first vintage of Cornas Les Ruchets was a great success, taking the French wine world by storm, and becoming the first in a long series of vintages of what is universally regarded as Colombo’s iconic wine. Early success fueled the swift acquisition of additional vineyards. Throughout the years following his rise, Jean-Luc has remained true to his passion for winemaking and constant to his guiding principle: Show respect for nature and the unique qualities of each and every terroir.
Living in the middle of their vineyards in Cornas, Jean-Luc and Anne have always wanted to preserve their environment by acting in harmony with nature’s abundance. Thus, for many years organic methods have been used in their vineyards. These included banning the use of any pesticides, using bark mulch in the vineyards (which preserves the natural microorganisms and humidity in the soil yet retards the growth of plants which compete with the vines for water and nutrients), and encouraging the natural biodiversity of the vineyard by planting trees around each plot and allowing wildflowers to bloom.
Laure has begun the official certification process in 2012, to confirm the organic status of the Domaine.
A small appellation of 110 hectares (270 acres), Cornas is located on the right bank of the Rhône River, on very steep slopes. It is where Syrah was born and where it gives its greatest expression of character, due to the granitic soil and the influence of the Mediterranean climate which allows juniper and oak trees to grow and encircle the vineyards. Surrounded by other esteemed appellations of the northern Rhône Valley, Cornas wines from Jean-Luc Colombo are elegant and alluring, with lovely floral aromas of lilac and iris, and bursting with flavors such as black currant and licorice. The wines have structure, complexity, and delicacy at the same time, with a surprising minerality. The appellation was elected “Best Appellation of the Rhône Valley” in 2005 by the Revue du Vin de France, due in part to these great wines.
Winemaking and maturing serve to define a style that exalts fruit and freshness, or, depending on the vintage, a silky elegance with finesse that distinguishes the different cuvées. The wine must have the proper balance in order to pair well with great cuisine.
In order to preserve the flora and fauna of Cornas, we decided many years ago to do our very best to work in harmony with nature. In certain vineyard plots which allow us to work the soil (because they are not too steep and therefore prone to erosion) we use horsepower! In the photo, Christian guides Gamine by voice through our Terres Brulées vineyards, as they turn the surface of the soil without disrupting the organic cycle. This allows us to remove the grass which competes with the grapevines for water and minerals, and to do so without the use of herbicides. In addition, the weight of the horse is well below that of a tractor which compresses the soil, and which could not access the steep slopes of Cornas anyway. And of course Gamine uses renewable energy – she eats the grass!