These are among the most FUN wines to experience- they invade your senses with an irrepressible exuberance that supersedes the desire for detailed description. We could tell you that you can find the purest cassis you've ever tasted but that would be besides the point. Be warned, these 19s are incredibly delicious but our allocation was unfortunately modest. -Jason
It's with great delight that we make this timely presentation of Balthazar Cornas. They are excellent wines to march with through winter. The 2019 vintage was a classic solar season in Cornas and they will radiate that warmth back to you, but as if through a long, dark tunnel, picking up sweetness and herbs along the way, as Syrah from the Northern Rhône does.
Franck continues to make Cornas that straddles tradition and forward thinking. The wines have that classic deep coloration and relentlessly earthy structure. Yet at the same time they pop with beguiling fruit even in their infancy and the abundant tannins are nevertheless fine. Franck prefers old 600L demi-muids to smaller barrels and uses minimal sulfur. There was less rain at the end of the vintage in Cornas compared to neighbouring appellations so these are particularly concentrated and powerful wines.
The 2019 'Sans Soufre' from Balthazar's younger vines is vinified whole cluster with, of course, no sulfur added. It is the epitome of untamed and irrepressible Cornas that yet speaks eloquently in its youth. Dark fruit, blood, fennel and a touch of violets mingle on the nose. The palate has nice weight yet such energy as is necessary to lift these occasionally lumbering wines. The tannins are fine grained and the fruit continues to climb beyond them like waves on the beach. A fantastic youthful Cornas.
The 'Chaillot' is more architecturally complete wine- a youthful monument, dark and pithy. Concentrated blueberries, cracked pepper, roast lamb, morello cherry, and roses. There's nevertheless intense graphite and a hint of briney green olive subsumed in the fruit. The finish is sappy and smoky at the same time, but the tannins remain somewhat burly and this will reward patience. If you're going to broach this now, give it plenty of air!
2019 Cornas 'Sans Soufre Ajouté,' There is a lingering, rather intense bouquet, a coil of black cherries, a hint of bacon fat, a supple curve to it. The palate has a restrained offer of blackcurrant fruit, a little spark, clarity in the tannins. It holds well in mid-palate, and deepens into the close, the finale compressed, southern density there. It has good structure, good freshness which accelerates towards the finish, a pure stream of fruit. It’s a typical Cornas on the close, a lot of fine grain. It can run until 2038 or so if well stocked. - John Livingstone-Learmonth, DrinkRhone
2019 Cornas 'Chaillot,' Deep-pitched blackberry, cherry, cassis and pungent floral qualities on the intensely perfumed, mineral-accented nose. Sappy and densely packed yet lively as well, offering bitter cherry, dark berry preserve and candied violet flavors and a hint of salty olive. Shows superb detail and mineral drive on the youthfully tannic finish, which hangs on with strong, dark-fruit-dominated tenacity. - Joshua Reynolds, Vinous