Variety from the Southern tip of Rhône
Harvest 2018 (picture courtesy of Jean-Luc Colombo)
Côtes de Rhône is an AOC (Appellation d’origine contrôlée) in France located in the southeast corner of the country. Rhône is split into northern and southern regions. The northern region is known for reds. The southern region boasts a wider variety of varietals including reds, whites and roses. I was recently asked to sample 3 wines from Wine.com – a large online store that has an extensive selection to choose from and also boasts of a live chat function with Sommeliers who can guide you in your wine selections for purchase. Wine.com has a robust mobile application and recommendation engine to assist you in your purchasing.
Each of the wines I sampled were excellent representations of the complexities and honor of terroir in the Rhône grape growing region.
In this writing, I will focus on a delightful white blend that I sampled – 2014 Jean-Luc Colombo Les Abeilles Blanc (www.vinscolombo.fr).
The Jean-Luc Colombo Les Abeilles Blanc is a light white blend with a white floral and honey nose. The varietals in this blend are Roussane and Clairette which make for a tasty blend. There are hints of peaches but, it is the blend of the flowers and honey that immediately grab your attention. The nose is light and pleasant reminding me of honeysuckle blossoms from my childhood that would dot the neighbors’ yards in the spring and summer months. And it’s no wonder because the vineyards of Jean-Luc Colombo are a habitat for bees (abeilles) and a reflection of the natural growing conditions.
2014 Jean-Luc Colombo Les Abeilles Blanc
When to Drink: Now
Varietal: Roussanne and Clairette
Food Pairing: Chicken, Turkey, Soft Cheeses
Average Selling Price: $14.99
The palate from this les Abeilles Blanc offering has a slight hint of stone fruit and citrus with honey rounding out the flavors to give a rounded mouth full. There is medium acidity in the wine and the minerality of the terroir is present.
The Jean-Luc Colombo vineyards are relatively young in the French winegrowing region having been first acquired in the mid 1980s. Jean-Luc and his wife Anne focus on biodiversity techniques in growing grapes with no pesticides or herbicides being used. Irrigation is banned which forces the grape roots to adapt to the native terroir and honors the mineral characteristics of the soil.
I paired this white blend first with a salad of wild greens, arugula, pickled beets and grilled chicken drizzled with a light balsamic vinegar dressing. The slight sweetness of the Jean-Luc Colombo les Abeilles Blanc with the heightened acidity of the salad and the taste and smell of grilled chicken was an excellent combination. A little later in the evening, I also paired this wine with a couple of soft cheddar cheese selections.
This wine is not widely available in grocery stores but is available via Wine.com. I highly recommend this for consideration of pairing with holiday meals featuring turkey and everyday dinners where a salad and chicken are featured. It is a great value wine and by ordering 6 or more bottles (which any good host will need because you don’t want to run out), you’ll save tremendously on shipping costs.
Remember to drink what it is that makes you truly happy and always think positively!
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