Franck Balthazar Crozes-Hermitage 2017
A deft Syrah from the iconic northern Rhone region. A rich red, it pairs well with lamb, roasted meats, and really anything with smoky and earthy flavors. Franck Balthazar is a traditionalist winemaker, reflective of the great Cornas producers who preceded him. He has been working on a 97-year old parcel purchased from Noël Verset, retired Cornas icon. He makes about 8,000 bottles each year in a small cellar behind a local church. In the vineyard and the cellar, Balthazar 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). His wines, we offer, as proof of its effectiveness: they are luxurious, expressive, and elegant, with an unmistakable sense of place. The grapes come from the area around Seguret, about 80km south of Cornas. De-stemmed, vinified with native yeasts, and organic.