With just a tiny 1.6 hectare parcel atop the Hermitage hill and 13 hectares in Crozes-Hermitage, the family owned Domaine du Colombier remains one of the best value estates in the Northern Rhone consistently producing exceptionally bold and well-priced wines.
The Viale family planted their first vines in 1929. Initially the grapes were sold to local negociants, particularly to Guigal, and only in 1992 Viale started bottling their own wines. The estate is now run by the 3rd generation winemaker, talented Florent Viale, who produces both Syrah reds and Marsanne whites under the acclaimed appellations.
‘Lutte raisonée’ is practiced in the vineyards, which literally means ‘the reasoned struggle’, an approach which is very close to organic, but has more flexible guidelines. Stricter organic or biodynamic methods would be almost impossible due to the fragmented nature of the vineyards. Traditional vinification is followed by aging mostly in older demi-muids. Wines are bottled without filtration or fining to retain maximum character and complexity. All of this brings wines that “shine for their purity as well as character. While the winemaking here is traditional, with the wines destemmed and brought up mostly in used demi-muids, the purity of fruit can give the impression that wines are more modern styled than they are. They will all benefit from short-term cellaring” (Jeb Dunnuck).