Appellation: Vin de France.
Cuvée: see Vintage Notes below and back label for Cuvée name.
Colour: Red.
Grapes: from Grenache Noir, Mourvèdre, Carignan, Syrah, Cinsault.
About: Every year, Nadia and Christian Charmasson make one or two or three reds according to what the season and their different parcels around Tavel and Lirac gives them. They are very distinctively Southern Rhône and yet utterly different from other Southern Rhône wines.Location, parcels: from Le Plan in Tavel, Romagnac in Tavel, the ancient forest of the Château de Clary near Roquemaure, and St Agricole in Roquemaure, 10km east of Tavel.
Size ha: 3.
Age: Le Plan planted 1946, Romagnac 1988, Clary 1950, St Agricole planted in 1995.
Soils: Le Plan on sand, Romagnac on Lauses, the white stone used in construction, Clary on free-draining clay-limestone, sand and galets, St Agricole on free-draining clay-limestone, sand and galets.
Exposition: on gentle south-facing slopes.
Altitude m: 80.
Training: free-standing gobelet.
Farming and philosophy: Biodynamic, by hand, with fervour for growing fruit cleanly with respect to the environment.
Average yield hl/ha: 25.
Climate: Mediterranean with the northerly Mistral wind to benefit the vines.

Winemaking

The grapes are harvested by hand at the end of September into small cases, to protect the fruit and remove any not perfectly ripe and healthy. As soon as they’re picked, they’re moved to a refrigerated truck in the vineyard at 6ºC to protect against oxidation or risk of fermentation.

In the cellar, whole bunches are put into a closed stainless steel tank to ferment slowly during around 4 years by natural yeasts with no other additions whatsoever including sulphur. After the ferment is finished, the wine is pressed in a 1970 Vaslin horizontal press, and racked back to tank with the press wine to age on its fine lees. There’s no temperature control, they don’t know when the malo happens. The wine is bottled by gravity, with no fining and no filtration. It’s usually aged a year before release.

Vintage Notes 2014
A fresh, cool, relatively wet year that’s made for very juicy wines.

Cuvée: Achillée Millefeuille 2014, one of four tanks of red bottled separately. This was the longest to come around, fermenting for nearly four years, bottled in 2019.
Yield hl/ha: 15.
Harvested: 26 September.
Bottles produced: 900.
Date bottled: 2019-05-09.
Alcohol %: 14.
SO2 Total: 0 added.
Closed by recylable sugarcane Nomacorc.
Tasting: great ruby colour that’s a little amber from age, broad and full and complex aromas of green bell pepper, black pepper spice, mint, camphor, seaweed, ortie piquante, and finally after some aeration, blackberry and dried fig, yet it comes across as fruity. The palate is full-bodied, dry, silky and airy, with crystal acidity, succulent tannins, great energy and a long finish. Quite majestic. Radically different. Very Balazu.

Cuvée: Mélisse 2014. The simplest, most “easy drinking” of four reds produced in 2014, not lacking for complexity, yet very straightforward, their take on a “vin de soif”.
Grapes: Grenache Noir 50%, Clairette Rose 10%, Mourvèdre 20%, Carignan 20%.
Yield hl/ha: 15.
Harvested: 24 September.
Bottles produced: 900.
Date bottled: 2015-10-04.
Alcohol %: 13.5.
SO2 Total: 0 added.
Closed by recylable sugarcane Nomacorc.
Tasting: lovely aromas of confit and fresh cherry, with some clove and cinnamon spice, dried roses, garrigue and earth. The palate is medium-full bodied, rounded, with gentle acidity and soft tannins and a cleansing vegetal finish. Richly satisfying.

Vintage notes 2015
A super vintage generally in the Southern Rhône, classic in aromatics and structure.

Cuvée: Coquelicot 2015 is the pure Grenache Noir version, from Romagnac, Vaussières, and La Montagne-Comère soils.
Yield hl/ha: 20.
Harvested: September 14.
Bottles produced: 900.
Date bottled: 2017-08-12.
Alcohol %: 14.
SO2 Total: 0 added.
Tasting: this has outstanding energy from moment you put your nose in the glass to inhale the aromas of cinnamon, black pepper, tobacco and red and black cherry. There are notes of ginger, nutmeg, orange peel and dried fig, too. The palate is tannic and rich but also very pure, with a vegetal salty acidity and a firm, lingering finish. It’s a great reflection both on Balazu and the style of the vintage.

Vintage Notes 2016
A sunny, warm year, with no issues in the vineyard except lack of rain but it wasn’t drought yet. The wines are exuberant.

There are several Cuvées in 2016 – depending on when you happen to be in Tavel.

The first is Camelia which was bottled on 2020-10-14.
A blend of all the grapes and terroirs.
1200b
Complex, super rich, coal, hearth place, tannins are beautifully ripe and smooth, fine, cool, ortie, cassis, hummus, some tobacco, beautiful finish, super ripe cassis kirsch.

Second red is called Mauve 2016 assembled from 4 tanks with a higher proportion of Syrah, but still only around 30%, than Camelia, and you notice it.
Bottled in 2021-04
3000b
More smokey, more cassis, more pure and fresh, great tannins, spicy, complex, great energy, finish is long. super

Vintage notes 2018 Cuvée name: Cerisier du Japon
2018 was a miserable year commercially since mildew caused by a very damp Spring played havoc with the yield. Christian and Nadia had very little wine and what there was was lighter than usual so there’s just one Cuvée of red available earlier than usual for their wines since that’s the way nature made it. We loved it. It’s Grenache Noir 100% from Roumagnac vineyard in Tavel.
Yield hl/ha: 10
Harvested: September 18 – 20
Bottles produced: 1500
Date bottled: 2020-10
Alcohol %: 14
SO2 Total: 0 added
bottled 27 sept and 5 oct 2020
great nose, dead leaves, spicy dried red fruits, fine, pure,
palate is lovely, fine, fresh, pure, rounded, camphor, some marmite, balsamic, quite soft, honeyed, caramel, very ripe, savoury and sweet, cinnamon, complex, digeste, finish is soaked cherry, and licorice. Light compared with 2016 or 2015.