Franck Balthazar Cote du Rhone 2019
Franck Balthazar’s bottle of Cote du Rhone is made of a blend of 60% syrah, 40% grenache.
In the nose concentrated dark fruit and tobacco. The taste is generous with somewhat meaty fruits (black cherry and berry), black olive and mild spices (pepper, licorice). The syrah is showing and brings a masculine dimension to the wine. Smoky tones (bacon and tobacco) in the finish, as well as some grenache sweetness (prunes jam). The soft tannins and acidity make the wine very easy drinking. A medium-bodied Côtes du Rhône, ready to drink young and slightly more bodied than most alternatives in this appellation. Could well be the hand of the wine producer!
Manually harvested; 100% destemmed; natural yeast; fermentation on concrete in 22 days; cap punching and pump over
“Balthazar’s elegant Cornas bottlings are among the very best in the appellation right now.” – Josh Raynolds Vinous
Côtes du Rhone
Typically thought of as a baby Chateauneuf-du-Pape, the term Côtes du Rhone actually doesn’t merely apply to the flatter outskirts of the major southern Rhône appellations, it also includes the fringes of well-respected northern Rhône appellations. White can be produced under the appellation name, but very little is actually made. The region offers some of the best values in France and even some first-rate and age-worthy reds. Red varieties include most of the Chateauneuf-du-Pape varieties like Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, Cinsault, and Counoise, as well as Carignan. White grapes grown include Grenache blanc, Roussanne and Viognier, among others.
With bold fruit flavors and accents of sweet spice, Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre form the base of the classic Rhône Red Blend, while Carignan, Cinsault and Counoise often come in to play. Though they originated from France’s southern Rhône Valley, with some creative interpretation, Rhône blends have also become popular in other countries. Somm Secret—Putting their own local spin on the Rhône Red Blend, those from Priorat often include Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. In California, it is not uncommon to see Petite Sirah make an appearance.