Gaillac wines – because wines of the future always have a past
« Parce que les vins d’avenir ont toujours un passé ! » Gaillac 1990s Marketing slogan
It’s becoming a bit of a cliché that everything you write about in this region is a “best kept secret” or a hidden gem, and Gaillac wines are no different. The region was producing wine during the Roman times in the 2nd century BC, and claims to have been the Bordeaux of wines even before Bordeaux had grapes.
Having been a run of the mill wine region post World War II, in the latter part of the 20th Century, Gaillac wine growers seriously upped their game and developed various wine varieties from grapes unique to the region. So grapes such as Braucol, Mauzac and the interestingly named Loin de l’Oeil (far from the eye) are integral in the key Gaillac wine types.
The wines produced are many and varied and this could be a reason for its lack of celebrity for anything in particular. As well as the usual three main colours, it produces a sparkling white, and a perlé which is a very slightly fizzy wine, achieved by keeping the wine cold until it is bottled.
After this year's beautiful warm autumn we were blessed with another gloriously sunny weekend for Gaillac Primeur. This is when the vineyards from throw open their doors on the weekend following the third Thursday of November to show off and celebrate their Gaillac Primeur, the first wine of the year. Having seen the commercial success of Beaujolais Nouveau in the 1970s, several other regions have followed suit and introduced an early young wine, to boost interest and sales, and the Gaillac wine growers put on a good show.
Following the official release of the wine and the competition on the Thursday, almost all of the vineyards make an effort to welcome all comers with free food, ranging from buffets of cheese, paté and charcuterie, to heart warming Garlic soup, and the season’s oysters. All designed to tempt visitors into dégustation of their range of wines, if temptation were needed.
So we did our research and set off to visit three vineyards, which looked like they may offer good wines and a good buffet. It was a really good way to visit vineyards, because the welcome was so warm and the atmosphere was buzzing with walking groups, cyclists and families enjoying the late November sunshine and far reaching views towards the Pyrenees. At the end of the day we’d eaten our fill of paté and garlic soup and visited an extra two vineyards following recommendations from other punters.
Wine selection at Gîte des Milans
The Gaillac Primeur experience was also Stage 1 of our winter resolution to learn a bit more about the Gaillac wines in order to be better informed for our guests, and be able to recommend vineyards and tasting experiences, rather than leaving it to pot luck which of the hundreds of vineyards they roll up to for a bit of holiday tasting. All in the interest of professional research for guaranteeing the best holiday experience, of course.
Our guests in 2018 will be greeted by a wine rack stocked with a selection of Gaillac wines, a sort of minibar with big bottles (maxibar or vinibar), and an honesty box.
2018 Gaillac Wine Events
3-5 August 2018 La Fete des Vins
15-18 November 2018 Gaillac Primeur