No-one better embodies the changing fortunes of Cornas than Franck Balthazar. His wines since the acquisition of Verset’s prime 1914 Chaillot vineyard have been terrific – his breakout vintag was the 2010. a really well-chiselled wine. I remember my offer, which had the Chaillot at £26 a bottle – this was in 2015. A smart buy if you clicked reply. His wines are great, and are clearly following the trajectory of Allemand, although are perhaps not that far now from being a bit fully priced in the market. Not to say, they won’t still go up in price – because I think they will – just that they’re not the value they once were.
I was interested to try a sample of his négociant ‘Franck Balthazar Selections’ wine -not to be confused with some early CDR bottlings that came from just outside Cornas. This is fully in CDR territory, from fruit sourced in Vinsobres.
It reverses the proportions of the majority of CDRs and fronts up 75% Syrah to 25% Grenache. Really nice 13.5% alcohol. Compact. I liked this a lot, but it’s not especially profound. It’s really well made, it has a nice short back and sides and I much prefer this proportion of varieties than the other way around. Where would I place it in the hierarchy of CDR? Equal to Coudoulet maybe. It’s very good – slick like rick.