Maison Lombard is in the tiny northern Rhone appellation of Brezeme. It was founded in 1981 by Jean-Marie and Sylvette Lombard, who took on an enormous project with the property. The vineyard had been destroyed by a plant louse called phylloxera, which literally eats the vine from the roots up until it eventually keels over and perishes.
The only cure is to replant with rootstock that is resistant to phylloxera and move on. The Lombards' vision extended beyond just replantation: they wanted to do everything organically and biodynamically.
Converting an existing vineyard to organic and biodynamic systems is much more difficult and expensive than starting that way. You have to undo some of the things you don't want before you can begin.
Upon retirement in 2012, the Lombards sold the property to the dynamic duo of Emmanuelle and Julien Montagnon to continue the legacy of the property. Julien was an accomplished winemaker, so the transition was an easy one.
The northern Rhone has several powerful appellations, Hermitage and Cote Rotie being the most famous. This is Syrah country. It dominates the vineyards and produces such a powerful, prodigious wine that it is often tempered with some Viognier to relax its muscle.
And so it is here, with our blend being 90% Syrah and 10% Viognier. The Syrah provides the power and extraction while the Viognier the feminine virtues of floral scents, blueberry and seduction.