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Franck Balthazar Cotes du Rhone 2019


60% Syrah, 40% Grenache. One of the top growers in the Northern Rhone is Franck Balthazar, who left his engineering career in 2002 to answer the siren song of Cornas’ steep granite slopes and take up the classic farming and winemaking methods of his father René. A dozen years later, Balthazar is making some of the most expressive, and rigorously traditional, wines in Cornas. Franck bottles all of his tiny production, made by methods little changed from those of his grandfather. The domaine is the definition of old-school with even the vineyards being plowed by horse. Also, the domaine’s vineyards are planted exclusively to la Petite Syrah, the ancient local clone whose small, olive-shaped berries produce a wine of greater aromatic complexity than modern clones. All of this lead Josh Raynolds of Vinous to say, "Balthazar’s elegant bottlings are among the very best in the Rhone right now.” The grapes for his Cotes du Rhone wine are sourced from three hectares next to Vinsobres dans la Drome, which will now be Franck's and is farmed organically. This is a shrewd buy as Vinsobres is one of the most underrated parts of the Rhone and always punches above its weight. Enjoy the timeless wines of Franck Balthazar.

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