Franck Balthazar has been blessed with the laid-back demeanor necessary to crafting flawless cuvées, as well as with the opportunity to work a 97-year old parcel purchased from Noël Verset, retired Cornas icon. The domaine was founded in 1931 by Franck’s grandfather, Casmir Balthazar, buying some vines and planting others, with its first bottling in 1980. Franck took over the 2 hectare family estate from his father René in 2002. Then the estate was made of one hectare of century old vines and one of forty-year old; he has since expanded to 3.5 hectares of Syrah, with new plantings in 2005 and 2008, from which he makes about 8,000 bottles each year in a small cellar behind a local church. By fermenting each parcel separately, Franck is able to better demonstrate the expressive value of his lands. His philosophy in the vineyard and in the cellar is purely traditional, reflective of the great Cornas producers who preceded him. In the vineyard and the cellar, he is a one-man show: he ferments the grapes with the stems intact, with some pumping over and light pigeage, and ages the wine in demi-muid (600 liter barrels). He is a purist and a traditionalist, and has perfected his method of cultivation and vinification of the Syrah grape. His wines, we offer, as proof of its effectiveness: they are luxurious, expressive, and elegant, with an unmistakable sense of place.
75% Syrah, 25% Grenache
The grapes for this wine are sourced from three hectares next to Vinsobres dans la Drome, which will now be Franck's and is farmed organically. The winemaking occurs in stainless steel, fermentation with wild yeasts, no filtration and little SO2.
From 37 year old vines, these grapes are bottled at the beginning of August. Maceration lasts for 15 days and kept in barrels for 10 months. Filtered.
Cornas, Sans Soufre
From young vines only 9 years old, vinified without sulphites from start to