A wine pairing with Asian food

© T. Joly
A region of rolling hills, castles and medieval villages, the Gers department is part of Gascony and famous for its traditional gastronomy and its unspoiled countryside. It also produces Colombelle, a fresh, fruity, crisp and modern style white wine combining quality and good value.

[ Practical ]

Colombelle L’Original
Price in France : between €4 and €4,50.

Price in France : between €3,30 and €3,50.

Producteurs Plaimont
Tel : 0562696287

Located in southwest France, between the Pyrenees and the Atlantic Ocean, worldwide known for foie gras, Armagnac and d’Artagnan, Alexandre Dumas’ famous hero in The Three Musketeers, Gascony is a land of tradition. However, Colombelle, one of the region’s most successful wines, was created only 13 years ago. Everything started in 1979 in California, when winemaker André Dubosc tasted, much to his amazement, a Mondavi light and fruity white wine called French Colombard.

Gers © DR
 Immediate success
In those days, this grape variety was indeed only grown in France as a raw material for Armagnac and Cognac production. At the time director of the Gers based wine cooperative Producteurs Plaimont, André Dubosc was in search of new wines to reverse Gascony’s vineyard decline and decided to bet on this variety.
He persuaded winegrowers to cultivate it and to cut yields. The winery was dotted with modern equipments such as stainless steel tanks and temperature control. Oenologists made endless blending and vinification trials…. These works led to the birth of Colombelle at the autumn 1987 and it was an immediate success, the wine being acclaimed both by critics and consumers. It is made from three grape varieties that are now grown on 250 ha, on hillsides scattered with old castles and picturesque villages. Colombard is of course the main one, accounting for around 80% of the blend, and brings floral and fruity aromas as well as vivacity and freshness.

© DR
 Appealing wine
The other two varieties are Sauvignon and Ugni Blanc - the latter being also used for Armagnac production - that bring structure, balance and length. This blend and cold fermentation techniques create a refreshing, extremely aromatic and easy to enjoy wine. Pale yellow in the glass, the 2010 vintage is marked by an appealing combination of golden apple, citrus fruits, white peach and pineapple aromas and flavors. On certain years, it also has hints of mango and passion fruit.
It makes Colombelle a perfect match for exotic food and particularly for Chinese dishes, even spicy and sweet ones. But it is also very good as an aperitif and goes very well with dishes traditionally recommended with white wine such as fish, seafood, poultry…. Most people drink Colombelle young, within a year, but it can be kept for 2 – 3 years without problem and usually get a deeper golden color and more tropical aromas.

Gers © T.Joly
 Marketed in 42 countries
Last but not least, this wine is a very good value. 2010 marks Colombelle’s 13th anniversary and Producteurs Plaimont has slightly changed the wine name to “Colombelle L’Original”, probably to distance it from possible competitors because success is still there. The yearly production now reaches 7 millions bottles that are marketed in 42 countries, export accounting for 60% of all outlets. As an example, 120 000 bottles are sold in China and for the first time this year in Hong Kong. In France Colombelle is available at numerous wine stores including Nicolas.
Besides, Producteurs Plaimont also produces another white wine with a similar taste, made from the same grape varieties, but in slightly different proportions. Named Florembelle, it is mainly sold in France, in supermarkets.

November 03, 2010
Thierry Joly