Featured Vineyard Series: Domaine Le Colombier
The Rhone Valley wines and vineyards are amongst some of the most famous in all of France. The region is typically talked about in two halves - Northern Rhone and Southern Rhone. Like most wine regions in France, it gets its name from a river, the Rhone. It’s on these banks that the Syrah/Shiraz and Viognier grapes grew their first leaves but of course they have migrated and become known all over the world now.
Apart from Hermitage, all of the great wines of Northern Rhone come from the right bank of the river, making the most of the ideal Eastern sunshine. The Syrah from this region is powerfully complex with black fruit characters and a natural spice.
Southern Rhone opens up to the Camargue and a Mediterranean climate. The vineyards spread further away from the river and spread out over the hills of Provence into the ports of Languedoc. This part of the region is most famous for its galets - flat heat- retaining stones that help produce beautiful ripe and smooth Grenache grapes for red blend wines from Cotes du Rhone and Chateauneuf-du-Pape.
Some quick facts:
- 79,000 hectares of vines planted
- 80% red grapes/20% white grapes
- Main red grapes: Syrah, Grenache, Carignan, Mourvedre, Cinsault
- Syrah and Cinsault are native grapes of the Rhone Valley
- Main white grapes: Viognier, Marsanne, Roussanne (these are all native of the Rhone Valley)
- The region started out with 5 appellations:
- Northern Rhone: Saint-Joseph & Cornas
- Southern Rhône: Châteauneuf du Pape
- Clairette de Die
- Now, there are 32 appellations/AOC and counting
The Domaine, the Family and the Wines
Domaine le Colombier was established in 1962 by the Mourre family. The property and its wines are a hidden gem that will delight you no end. The vineyards spread across Vacqueyras and the Southern Rhone mostly. In 1995, son Jean-Louis joined the family and has augmented the wines and maintained a consistent quality since his arrival. Thanks to his background in geology the wines authentically represent the soils, flora, climate and wine-making of the Southern Rhone. For 10 years the Estate has been certified organic.
The winery’s dovecote or catchphrase is ‘Melior Mutata Resurgo’ the anecdote behind this is that in 1962 a wooden crate arrived in the port with all the winery’s supplies on board and nestled in the middle of it all was an orange caterpillar tractor - an item to be treasured and from it came a set of wines that have been reborn but yet embrace where they come from.
The Grape Varieties and their Wine Styles
The main red grapes of the Estate are Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre. The main white grapes are Viognier, Marsanne and Grenache blanc. The cellar and vines are some of the oldest in the region - the oldest vines date back to 1902. The grapes are all estate-grown and handpicked and sorted to give the best and most authentic blends and styles. The wines are mostly fermented and aged in stainless steel tanks or concrete vats to preserve and enhance the freshness and natural authentic flavours of the grapes.
At Cavavin Ireland, we currently have three styles of the Estate’s wines available for you to discover, explore and enjoy.
The region gets its name from Mont Ventoux - a UNESCO Biosphere reserve since 1990. It is located in the South-East of the Rhone Valley. The syndicat des Vins de Ventoux was formed in 1939, in 1973 it was promoted to AOP/AOC (appellation) status. The vineyards are worked in harmony with nature and with respect for the region’s historical and cultural heritage. Ventoux’s red wines are supple and aromatic, their scents ranging from red fruit and spices to leather, liquorice and truffles. Red wines are 54% of the region’s total wine production.
A blend of Grenache and Syrah, this blend is the unsung hero of Rhone Valley red wines. Fresh and tempting black fruits with hints of spice, this wine is complex in terms of its authenticity and full flavours of the fruit. It has a refreshing finish that leaves you wanting for more!
This region is the home of the property, located in Southern Rhone. The grape vines for this blend are some of the oldest in the region and date back to 1902 hence the name Vieilles Vignes (old vines).
This is a blend of Grenache and Mourvèdre grapes. It is a dense richly fragrant blend thanks to the Mourvèdre grape and the maturity of the vines. It is a wine with plenty of weight and long-lasting flavour. Enjoy with grilled Spring lamb and rosemary.
The wines of this region are diverse in style as the grapes can come from a diverse range of vineyards. Colombier fruit is all estate-owned and the vineyard practices are the same as their Vacqueyras and Ventoux sites but the grapes come from a more diverse range of sites. The climate is more mediterranean here with a warmer growing season and riper fruit. The wines may not fall into the strict guidelines of say a Chateauneuf-du-Pape but the quality and value for money is undeniable.
This Grenache/Syrah blend is an intense ruby colour with distinct aromas and flavours of red fruits (cherries and berries). Hints of caramel give this wine fullness, roundness and a hint of sweetness. A riper more flavoursome Rhone red blend for sure. Enjoy with roasted red meats.