Had a good evening last night with Jean-Luc Colombo at Hawksmoor Seven Dials last night. Jean-Luc was quite tired – he was suffering from a cold, and had spent the day shooting pheasant – but put on a good show.
Jean-Luc Colombo is one of the leading figures in the northern Rhone. He and his wife both began careers as pharmacists, but his passion was in food and wine. By the age of 22, he’d accumulated a cellar of 1000 bottles.
He decided to establish a wine laboratory in 1982, and began consulting to wineries.
In 1985 he decided to take the plunge and begin making wine. He had a lucky break after his second vintage, when at Vinexpo an American importer bought all his 5000 bottles of Cornas Les Ruchets for three times the price that most Cornas were selling at.
Now he owns 45 hectares of property in Cornas, with 18 hectares of vines: for a small appellation, that’s quite a slice.
I’ll write up the wines in full after I get a chance to taste the 2010 en primeur on Monday, but for now, I’d highlight two wines that I really liked, and which were well priced.
First, the Collines de Laure 2010, which is a vin de pays made from young vines in the Cornas appellation. It’s really fresh, vibrant Syrah with meat and olive notes, as well as a bit of richness. At a retail price of £10, it’s a great bargain (stockists list – Bacchanalia Cambridge and Berry Bros & Rudd [although I couldn't find it just now]).
Second, Jean-Luc Colombo Cornas Mejeans 2009, which is a blend of different parcels. It’s beautifully aromatic with lovely olive, pepper and black cherry notes, and some raspberry freshness. It’s £23 from Luvians, Handford, Fine Wine Company Edinburgh, Portland Wine, Les Caves du Patron.
Hawksmoor was great. Busy, bustling, dimly but warmly lit, with lots of iron and open brickwork. The steaks are fabulous: I had a ribeye that was perfectly cooked, after starting off with some delicious steak tartare. Triple cooked chips were super, but even better were the beef dripping chips.