Jean-Charles Boisset, brings me out in hives.
Premiering in California in the 1850s, the Colombard grape was first cultivated in the southwest of France. Nowadays, the French use Colombard mainly in the production of Cognac and Armagnac. Thought to be the offspring of Gouais blanc and Chenin blanc, this grape variety reached the peak of it's popularity in California during the table wine boom of the 1960s and 70s when it became the most widely planted variety in California. The grapevine displays high vigour and high productivity and can yield anywhere from 8 - 13 tons per acre. That's a lot of grapes! Due to the heavy crop, maturity can be somewhat slow and so French Colombard is usually amongst the last white grape varieties to be harvested in California's north coast vineyards. The fruit has a winning combination of high acid and low pH, so it produces a fruity, crisp wine that is easy to drink - a wine that should be a popular summer tipple. But let's face it, French Colombard is just not perceived as a very sexy grape: not many people have even heard of it.
The Buena Vista, 2011, Russian River Valley, French Colombard was a most appealing wine. On the nose I got a lovely, limey-green apple, spicy-apricot-creaminess and on the palate, well, the elevated acidity had me on the first sip. With just 50 cases produced (our bottle was no. 339), there is not a lot of this wine to go around. But if you can find a bottle of it, buy it.