People are talking about Domaine Balansa, a swoon-worthy producer based out of the Haut-Corbières AOC who specializes in beautifully crafted old vine expressions of Carignan, Grenache Noir, Syrah, and other more obscure varieties like Lledoner Pelut. These wines encapsulate everything we love about the Languedoc, with their unapologetic fruitiness and whiffs of kicked up dusty sage. They remind us of days spent hiking in canyons under sunny blue skies, and keep us waiting in eager anticipation for the warmer months to come.
Domaine Balansa’s story begins with Céline Peyre, who was living in the city at the time, but felt a strong pull back to her roots at her family’s vineyard within the Hautes-Corbières AOC.
Three years later, Céline moved back with her partner, Alexandre Gressent, to begin Domaine Balansa. The dramatic sweeping hillsides at the property are home to plantings of 100-year-old Grenache, Carignan, Syrah, and an additional kaleidoscope of red and white grapes. Domaine Balansa biodynamically farms 14 hectares of hillside vines that the Peyre family have been stewards of for multiple generations.
The climate here is Mediterranean with windswept, undulating terrain that seems to go on as far as the eye can see. The soils are composed of schist, and the vines thrive in the sun’s milky golden light. There’s a fabulous tension in Domaine Balansa’s wines that’s almost elemental – like fire mixed with ice. Each wine hits the perfect balance of bold, ripe red fruit pierced with a lean and graceful core of minerality.
Domaine Balansa VDF Rosé Pech de Rozies
Not a throwback rosé in the least – sophisticated, with a heady finish that lingers long after it's gone. Picture elegant strawberries and lilac blossoms in this mixture of Grenache Noir and Syrah. A garden party bottled up just for you.
Domaine Balansa VDF Rouge La Vinhota
La Vinhota is such a flirt. This coquettish, carbonically macerated blend of Lledoner Pelut and Grenache Noir is bubblegum, pink feather boas, and baby roses on parade. A light, day-drinking red that tastes like Mariah Carey’s album “Daydream.”
Domaine Balansa VDF Rouge Can Del Rey
This wine is all grown up with soft dark florals and spices. Composed of 100-year-old vines of Carignan, Grenache Noir, and Syrah, Can Del Rey has a savory component as well – think black olives.
Domaine Balansa VDF Rouge Versicolore
We’re going to let you in on a little secret: if you haven’t had old vine Carignan, you’re missing out. This 100% Carignan is the perfect wine to hop onto the Carignan train with. A jewel loaded with smoky, meaty aromas and qualities of mentholated black plum. The word “complicated” never tasted so good.
Written by Cynthia Mersten.