Verset's Vines - Breakthrough Vintage: 2010 Balthazar Cornas Chaillot

Posted by Ian McFadden

Verset's Vines
- Breakthrough Vintage
2010 Balthazar Cornas Chaillot
Traditional Cornas Value

With each vintage Franck Balthazar elevates his Cornas to a new level. With that said, his 2010 Chaillot marks a breakthrough vintage.

If I were to corner Balthazar into a stylistic signature, I'd focus on the way the wines combine a sturdy, inky Cornas intensity with a sense of agility and refinement.

In Balthazar's 2010 Chaillot, everything came together in a big way. We loved Balthazar's 2009, but it didn't prepare us for the stunning 2010.

We've spoken at length about this, but it's worth repeating here: the Northern Rhône is being rediscovered and prices reflect this. Bottles from the old guard, Verset and Gentaz-Dervieux, have hit almost unimaginable levels. Prices for current benchmarks have also jumped quite a bit - 2010 Clape is $190ish, Allemand Chaillots is $110 and Reynards is $135.

Balthazar's methods are directly inherited from the old school - stems are included, he raises the wines in old 600-liter demi-muids. He even plows his vineyards with a horse.

This connection to Cornas' old-school is a literal one as well - a good deal of his Chaillots is sourced from a plot of 97-year-old vines bought from none other than Nöel Verset.

The Rhône authority, John Livingstone-Learmonth, writes that Balthazar's "wines express their place faithfully." This is particularly the case in the ultra-pure 2010 vintage.

2010 is all about detail, agility and clarity - it shows what makes the traditional wines of the Northern Rhone so special. There's gorgeous aromatics and an incredible combination of wildness and elegance.

It's very heartening to see producers like Balthazar continuing to make soulful Northern Rhônes. While the wines of the old wisemen can't be replicated, it's encouraging to witness people like Balthazar remaining faithful to the Northern Rhône.

Balthazar is starting to develop a big following and 2010 will bring many more into Balthazar's corner. With a vintage like 2010 and at pricing this sharp, we suggest that you jump on this. Balthazar's Chaillots will benefit from 10 years + in the cellar.

To order, please email us at or call the store at (212) 980-9463.

Ian McFadden
Director Fine & Wine
Crush Wine & Spirits