Jean-Luc Colombo Through the Eyes of Ian Ribowsky

“I carry the passion. I’m always looking for that wine that takes my breath away.” – Ian Ribowsky

Wine ambassador for Jean-Luc Colombo, Ian Ribowsky is quite quotable. He spoke with passion as we tasted through six wines from Provence and Cornas, two rosés from Provence and four reds from Cornas. The reds, of course are 100% Syrah as is mandated by law in Cornas in the Northern Rhone.

The Jean-Luc Colombo Cape Bleue Rosé, 2015 Méditerranée IGP, is ballet pink in the glass with a balance to match a well-executed arabesque. With 67% Syrah and 33% Mouvedre, aromas of strawberry, melon, peach, spice and roses comes through. The cold soak and cold ferment give the wine its bright acidity, soft mineral finish and the clean lines of a polished ballerina.

The Jean-Luc Colombo La Dame du Rouet Rosé, 2015, Coteaux d’Aix en Provence, is a blend of Syrah, Cinsaut and Grenache. There is no destemming, nor MLF in making this wine. All the focus in on the primary aromas of ripe cantaloupe, white peach, and flowers. The finish is a bracing acidity that makes this a very food-friendly rosé.

Jean-Luc Colombo Terres Brulées, 2013, Cornas, is a dense, dark ruby with medium staining on the glass. 15 months in oak with grapes sourced from 30 year old vines produces not just dense color, but dense aromatics as well. There are layers of blackberry, black cherry, menthol, tobacco, black currant, and iris. The tannins and acidity are moderate plus, but the alcohol is moderate, giving the wine a strong, but elegant structure.

Jean-Luc Colombo Terres Brulées, 2009, Cornas is from the same vines as the previous wine, but an older vintage. The years turned the color from ruby to garnet and added dried fruit and licorice aromas with a hint of dustiness.

Jean-Luc Colombo Les Ruchets, 2013, Cornas is made from grapes from 90 year old vines. The berries are small, but the structure is great, hitting moderate plus on tannin, acid and alcohol. The color is deep ruby with aromas of rose, black cherry, vanilla, leather, earth and mineral. Still young, with great potential for aging.

Jean-Luc Colombo L Louvée, 2013, Cornas is from 70 year vines, with 22 months in oak, including 33% in new oak. The structure is moderate plus on acid, tannin with moderate on alcohol. The aromas are blueberry, black berry clack cherry, licorice, leather, thyme, lavender and a hint of olive.

Everyone in the room agreed the Jean-Luc Colombo Cornas wines are all beautifully structured and aromatically complex.

When asked what the oldest wine in his personal collection was, Ian Ribowsky referenced a 2000 bottle. Then in his very quotable way he said, ‘Wine is here to enjoy. We’re here to enjoy it, not hoard it.”