93 Insider points
Pierre Gaillard is no slouch, this is one of the great grower's and pioneers of the region. A guy who was a part of the Guigal success story. This 2016 St-Joe comes from an amazing vintage that made some smoking juice.
Literally, this wine has some smoked meat notes and toasted spices mingled with dark chocolate raisins and licorice. It's rich and dark, there are light vegetal notes like like olive tapenade with hints of espresso. Very smooth structure that glides over the palate with enough weight to stick around on the finish. Killer value. Drink now, enjoy with food or cellar for 6-8 years. 93 points.
Rhône Valley, France
18 months in oak barrels, 15% to 20% new oak
Pierre Gaillard is one of the most respected vignerons in the Northern Rhône....(He had worked previously for both Vidal-Fleury and Etienne Guigal before starting out on his own)
You may remember the Pierre Jean-Villa wines I featured a few months ago and mentioned Gaillard, Cullieron and Villard, "Godfather's" of the Northern Rhône and part of the Vins de Vienne partnership. Pierre Gaillard is one of the original three growers and winemakers who showed Jean-Villa all he needed to know to go off and start his own venture.
Lucky for us, P. Gaillard also produces his own "quintessential" N. Rhône wines! You will not find a better value from St-Joseph and this is your introduction to Gaillard wines if you are unfamiliar. Know that his is the standard for wines from the region.
Fun fact: Originally known as Vin de Mauves, mentioned in Victor Hugo's Les Misérables, the wine from St.-Joseph was a favourite in the French court of Louis XII (1498–1515) who owned a vineyard in St.-Joseph known as Clos de Tournon.
Things To Know:
• Pierre Gaillard studied Viticulture and Enology in Beaune, and obtained a Graduate Diploma in Winemaking from Montpellier. He bought his first parcel of land in 1981 which was called Clos de Cuminailles, located in Malleval. It was there in the upper part of the medieval town of Malleval that Gaillard established his business.
• Vintage: "2016 is a roaring success in the Rhône. It follows the excellent 2015 whose release saw an upsurge in interest in this classic French region of diverse expression. Where 2015 produced Northern Rhône Syrahs of remarkable depth and complexity, 2016 has produced what many growers in the South are describing as the vintage of a generation." ~CATHERINE PETRIE MW
• From the north of the appellation, this Saint-Joseph is a blend of wines from vines situated on slopes facing east and southeast. Most of the grapes come from the estate. The rest is bought from other growers, however the wine is made and matured at the property.
• Prior to founding his own estate, Pierre Gaillard was experienced in everything to do with Cote Rotie. In fact, he helped plant the first vines used in the famous wine of La Turque for Guigal. This is where Gaillard became a legend as one of the Rhones greatest grape growers.
Fruity, fleshy, elegant. This blend, made from all of the estate’s parcels (as well as some out-sourced grapes), expresses the diversity offered by the terroir.
In 1987, Pierre, with his wife Pascale, created their estate with cellars above the picturesque medieval village of Malleval. The cellars are above ground and made from sustainable material with wood much in evidence. Other vineyards quickly followed in Condrieu and Côte-Rôtie. Pierre's passion other than the vine is local history and he was always fascinated by Roman winemaking and, of course, the nearby city of Lyon had been a centre of wine production. Some of the vines were planted on slopes that were abandoned at the time of phylloxera and with his friends Yves Cuilleron and François Villard he formed the Vins de Vienne partnership to recover this lost heritage. He goes further, producing each year a small amount of wine made in clay amphorae.
In 2002, he created the estate of Madeloc in Banyuls-sur-Mer, followed by the estate of Cottebrune in Faugères in 2007. Today, Gaillard manages a total of 77 hectares.
The vineyard is located in the northern part of the Rhone Valley, ranging from Cote-Rotie down through to Cornas in the South. Planted on steep slopes, the vines are located on the last foothills of the Massif Central.
Try some of these Rhone classics: Cassoulet, Beef short ribs braised in red wine and herbs, Moroccan lamb barbecue, beef stew or even French onion soup.