2017 Domaine Combier Crozes Hermitage



In the 1970s, in the northern Rhone village of Crozes-Hermitage, an apricot, peach, and wine grape farmer named Maurice Combier began growing the fruit in his orchards and vineyards organically. Maurice advocated farming without chemical fertilizers and insecticides. These were practices as unheard of in Crozes-Hermitage as they were in all of the Rhone Valley. The people of his village began referring to Maurice as Maurice Le Fou — Crazy Maurice.

As the years passed by, farmers in the region saw the quality of fruit Crazy Maurice got from his organic vineyards and orchards. And then they began copying him.

In 1989, Maurice’s son Laurent became his partner in the family’s orchards and vineyards. They began their own fruit brand and their own wine label. Today, Domaine Combier comprises 20 hectares of organic vineyards.

The sacrifices Laurent makes for quality Syrah fruit makes him just as crazy as Crazy Maurice. “I search, above all,” says Laurent, “for a purity of Syrah.” A search for Syrah you can taste in his Domaine Combier Crozes-Hermitage 2017. The soils of Laurent’s Crozes-Hermitage parcels are chalky-clay with pebbles on the south side of the family estate and loessic and granite on the north side. Laurent destems his Syrah grapes and ferments them for a month in stainless steel vats. He ages his Crozes-Hermitage in old barrels for a year.

What you have in your glass is a deep, ruby northern Rhone Syrah with ripe raspberry, black pepper, and spring violet aromas, followed by the purest of rich blackberry flavors. This is the classic Crozes-Hermitage, with medium-to-full body, supple texture, and great structure. A wine whose versatility may astonish you. As delicious with legumes, mushrooms, and root vegetables as it is with any cut of beef. As warm as a hearth, as comfortable as an easy chair, I call Domaine Combier Crozes-Hermitage my perfect autumn wine.

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