Your Wine IQ

Gaillac


Wine By Region Right Europe Right France Right Southwest Right Gaillac


Not located near Bordeaux like many of the other Southwest France appellations are, Gaillac is instead located near another regional French hub, Toulouse. Lying slightly to the northeast of the famous city, Gaillac makes all three colors of wines. The reds and the sweet whites are the most ageable.

At 10,000 acres (sourced from nearly 75 villages across Southwest France), the Gaillac appellation is quite large, and production totals to about a million cases of wine each year.

History

This historical appellation is rumored to be the oldest wine region of France (although back in those days, what we now know as France was called Gaul). However, historians say that parts of the Languedoc may have been producing wine even earlier. By the Middle Ages, Gaillac was a very well-known region and its wines were popular among royalty and clergy. Gaillac became an AOC in 1970.

Climate and Viticulture

Limestone and gravel are the primary soils in the vineyards of the Gaillac appellation. Temperatures are mildly warmer and more Mediterranean than those of Bordeaux, but the differences are barely significant.

Grape Varieties

Many diverse grapes are used in the red wines: Bordeaux icons Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, Rhône mainstay Syrah, and ancient local grapes Duras and Fer. Gaillac Primeur, a knockoff of Beaujolais Nouveau, is made from Gamay. Whites use Sauvignon Blanc, Muscadelle, Mauzac, and local grapes Ondenc and Len d'El. As far as flavors go, whites are unpredictable, varying from rich and sweet to dry and acidic. Red wines are more homogeneous, typically having serious, robust flavors and good aging potenetial.

Major Producers

Although this appellation is not totally reliable due to its large size, there are many good producers here. Six especially good domaines are listed below.

Subregions

Although Gaillac is a large appellation, subregions have yet to be established here.