Franck Balthazar, Cornas Sans Soufre, 2018
Franck Balthazar works a 97-year old parcel purchased from Noël Verset, a 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. He makes about 8,000 bottles each year in a small cellar behind a local church.
These wines are deeply coloured & intensely aromatic, but without the stodginess that some might associate with over-extracted, heavily oaked examples form the region. The wines are made by Franck and Franck alone…he is a veritable one man show in many ways. He opts for light pigeage and ferments the grapes with the stems intact, retaining characteristic green, vegetal flavours. The wine rests in 600 litre barrels until he sees harmony and softness achieved. These wines are truly luxurious and reflective of the true Cornas terroir. As the name suggests, this wine had no sulphur added at any stage.
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