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 Saint-Peray 2021
This 100% Roussanne from Clarençon is a true delight. The bright yellow colour sets the stage before being greeted by a bouquet of fragrant florals and a subtle hint of saltiness. The aroma is further enhanced by a rich compote and cooked white fruits, adding complexity and depth to the wine.
On the palate, the wine has a soft and delicate texture that is soothing and refreshing. The taste of honeyed sweetness is instantly followed by a burst of delightful peach notes, which adds a fruity and refreshing taste to the wine. A finely textured finish creates a satisfying mouthfeel, leaving a long-lasting impression that will surely linger in your memory.
Overall, this St Péray is a true delight that embodies the essence of fine winemaking. It’s perfect for those who appreciate the subtleties and nuances of a well-crafted wine and is sure to leave a lasting impression.