Jean-Luc Colombo 2016 "Les Abeilles" Côtes du Rhône Rouge

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Tasting notes
Medium-bodied, deep and bright purple with a gorgeous, seductive nose and a meaty yet silky palate with flavours of red fruit, elegant tannins and a good aromatic persistence. Great wine with grilled lamb or pork, seared ahi tuna, or young cheeses. Serve slightly chilled to 15 - 16°C

Why we recommend this wine
We visited the winery some years back when we were looking for Rhône reds with some Syrah in the blend and this is a good example of what we were looking for.

The wine
A classic GSM blend; Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre (a third of each). The grapes are from 25 year old vines grown in vineyards in Cairanne, Rasteau and Vacqueyras at the heart of the Côtes du Rhône. The vines are situated on the ancient terraces of the Rhône Valley covered in pebbles and sandy clay soil. Harvested manually before then being de-stemmed, lightly crushed and fermented in stainless steel tanks. The wine is matured for ten months in stainless steel tanks before bottling.

“Les Abeilles” (The Bees) is named for the bees that inhabit the vineyards in the southern Rhône Valley. The bees thrive in these vineyards because no harsh pesticides are used. The Colombo family, life-long beekeepers as well as grape growers, are committed to combatting this global concern and have developed the Bee Helpful Program to help support research to help restore healthy honey bee colonies.

The wine estate
Jean-Luc Colombo inherited an early taste for the pleasures of the table from his mother, a cook from Marseille, and he became an outstanding cook. This naturally led him to the studies of oenology, to learn the secrets of wine and their natural accompaniments with the dishes of his childhood.

This is a true family business with father, mother and daughter all actively involved. They own vineyards in Cornas where they are based, Saint Péray and Côte Bleue - that strip of coast that runs along the Mediterranean from Marseille to the west. They also buy in grapes from other areas of the Rhône.

For many years “organic” methods have been applied in the vineyard but, in 2012, Laure Colombo launched the organic certification process (officially called ECOCERT in Europe). The vineyards have been certified from the 2015 vintage.

Food and wine
A fruity but lightish red means red meat dishes that are not too heavy, chili and tomatoes and young cheddar. Also see our guide to pairing food and wine here.

Did you know?
Cornas, south of Lyon, where Jean-Luc Colombo is based is one of the smallest appellations in the Rhône valley and produces only red wine from the Syrah grape.