93 Insider Points
"This is not a Syrah that is going to knock you over like ones from hotter climates (i.e. Australia, California and Washington). This effort shows the elegant side of this noble varietal. Crushed rocks, violets, beef jerky and currant jelly on the nose. The palate is extremely zesty with hints of graphite, iodine, charcuterie and black n’ blue fruit. It’s extremely focused and the purity of the Syrah fruit resonates loud and clear. What is more remarkable is that it only weighs in at 12.5% alcohol by volume. The wine sees no oak and is fermented and aged in a combination of stainless steel tanks and cement eggs. Now wonder the fruit shines through! Bottom line … incredible for the price! A few sips and you’ll want to spark the grill and start cooking.” - Neil Mechanic, Invino Rhone Geek
You’re not going to find this selection at another retailer for this price. The bulk of it Northern Rhone Syrah is being poured at some of the hippest cafes in the San Francisco Bay Area. It’s creating quite a stir in the local sommelier community and for good reason- It’s freaking delicious!!
This is the type of wine that I bring home to enjoy with a weekend barbecue and great friends. Personal friend and French importer, Charles Neal has scored a gem of a producer with Laurent Combier and pricing is extremely fair. It’s rare to find a quality Crozes Hermitage for under 20 bucks, especially one that is as expressive as this one.
I had to plead with my buddy to release some to our clientele faithful, so time to pony up. You won’t be disappointed. Based on its overall balance, lift and appeal, I suggest a minimum order of 6 bottles and probably best to go large with a case purchase!
Maurice Combier left the Ardèche département in 1962 and bought property in Pont de l'Isère in the Drôme département to the east. Pont de l'Isère is about 15 kilometres upriver of Drôme's capital, Valence.
Drawings of colorful fruits
At that time, the Valence area was France's top fruit hub so Maurice continued his father Camille's tradition of growing fruit. The apricots and peaches were sold to a local fruit cooperative and the grapes to the cooperative in Tain l'Hermitage a few kilometers north.
During the 1970's, Maurice began working all of his land organically, rather than spraying his plants with dangerous chemicals and pushing production with synthetic fertilizers. As this was previously unheard of in Crozes-Hermitage (and for that matter, just about all of Europe), he become known locally as Maurice le Fou (Crazy Maurice). But before long, the orchards and vineyards had achieved a balance and were producing even more delicious fruit. Other producers in the area soon followed Maurice's lead.
Combier Next Generation
To his delight, Maurice's first son Laurent came into the fold and continued selling their fruit in 1989. Laurent studied viticulture and agriculture in Orange and did apprenticeships at various wine domaines further south, including stints in Châteauneuf du Pape and Domaine d'Ott in Provence.
Maurice and Laurent decided to leave the cooperative the next year and set off on their own. They established their own fruit brand called Combier, whose organic peaches and apricots are available throughout much of France.
They also began bottling their own wine from vineyards surrounding the house. Slowly Laurent started expanding the cellar, finally constructing an underground chai where all his vinification and aging now takes place. The domaine now comprises 20 hectares (49.4 acres) of vines, of which 90% are red.
Pair with your favorite barbecue meats from burgers to sausages.