Franck Balthazar took over the family domaine, dating back to 1931, in 2002. His father René had been in charge since 1950 and had overseen the move into domaine bottling in the 1970s, at the same time as his contemporaries Auguste Clape and Noël Verset. The domaine has extended from the 2 hectares of 2002 (1 ha of centenarian vines Chaillot and one 50 year old hectare in Mazzard) to around 3,5ha today - plantings on an extreme site above Sabarotte were added in 2005 & 2008 on newly formed terraces. This willingness to do things the hard way in pursuit of excellence is a hallmark of Franck's work, in keeping with time-honoured tradition that his grandfather, Casimir, would recognise. Vineyards are organic and ploughed with a horse, ferments are whole cluster with native yeasts in concrete vats. To retain the perfume gifted by old vines and high-perched plantings all wines are aged in old 600 litre demi-muid. Sulphur is kept to an absolute minimum, indeed all winemaking techniques are as natural as possible.
Franck Balthazar Cornas Chaillot 2018
A highly perfumed nose evokes an array of fresh, mineral-accented dark fruits and pungent flowers, along with suggestions of game, licorice and incense. Palate-staining, appealingly sweet, spice-laced cherry, cassis and floral pastille flavors show superb energy and a smoky mineral quality that strengthens with air. Finishes on a youthfully tannic note, with building sweetness and a lingering suggestion of exotic spices.
95 -96 Points, Josh Raynolds , Vinous
This is Franck’s flagship wine from the fruit of century-old Petite Sirah vines from the famed & revered Chaillot vineyard. A parcel acquired from Noël Verset. A small portion of 50 year old vines from his Mazzards parcel is included. Wines age in demi muid for 18 months and are bottled without fining or filtration.