If there was a Guild of Master Northern Rhône Wine Craftsmen, Pierre Gaillard would probably be the President. Be it a Saint Joseph, a Côte-Rôtie or a Condrieu, every time you open a bottle with his name on it you know you are going to get a thrilling and bristling expression of the site from where it came. That’s his thing. There is no dead weight in the Gaillard cellar and each wine offers precision and purity of fruit. This is not to suggest Gaillard is a technocrat. Far from it. He has great vineyards, infectious passion, makes good decisions and possesses a dirt-under-the-fingernails grit which means that most of the hard work has been done before the fruit arrives in the cellar. The quality of fruit he harvests, allied to his fine touch in the cellar, results in some of the most evocative, flavoursome and stylish northern Rhône wines going around.
As they continue to mature, the wines just keep getting better and better. This improvement manifests itself in an added density and complexity. The Saint Joseph wines, the heart and soul of the estate, are pure, stylish and very fine value. The Côte-Rôtie is smoky and svelte.
2019 Pierre Gaillard Côte-Rôtie – $89.95 per bottle .
The Gaillard Côte-Rôtie is a blend of 90% Syrah co-fermented with 10% Viognier from the schist and gneiss soils. All the fruit was harvested by hand with a strict selection, ensuring only the finest bunches and berries made it into the final blend. Fruit was 100% de-stemmed and vinification involved a five day, pre-fermentation soak, and then regular punch-downs. The wine then spent 18 months in barrique (40% new) and was bottled unfiltered. It’s a seductive, layered, and fleshy Côte Rôtie with pulpy blackberry, dark cherry and dark chocolate notes and a long, super-fine palate. There are some lovely tannins and hints of iodine and other spices but all in all this a perfectly ripe Côte Rôtie–that although very seductive now, will certainly age beautifully. Those who hold for ten years will have a very special bottle indeed.
2019 Pierre Gaillard Saint Joseph – $69.95 per bottle.
The nose is loaded with dark cherry, coffee and iodine notes while the palate is vibrantly fresh and floral for a sunny vintage, with both red and dark cherry, rose and a hint of something bloody. Lovely, lovely Syrah.
Pic above: Pierre Gaillard.