Wine, Growth Potential of Gaillac

Why Gaillac?  

Gaillac, a view including the Abbaye St Michel
Gaillac, a view including the Abbaye St Michel
Gaillac Wine’s Growth Potential.
A very pleasant surprise:
I first visited the Gaillac (pronounced Guy’ack) region over 25 years ago to attend The painting School of Montmiral, susequently returning many times and eventually living near Gaillac for 8 memorable years.
When I first visited Gaillac, naturally I tried the wines.
Some were so awful I did not touch Gaillac wines again until last year
Why is it that Gaillac, which had such a wine glory, somehow completely lost it?
How was it that the wines prized by Kings of England, in Holland and all Northern Europe had fallen into near complete obscurity during the 20 th century?
Parts of the answer: the inland remoteness of Gaillac, it’s transport served mostly by the capricious, dangerous river Tarn, and later by the railways.
Part of the responsibility is with the restrictions imposed giving priority to Bordeaux, and duties imposed at Bordeaux the principal port of shipment.
Then in the 19 th century there was the quasi-mortal shock of phylloxera.
A devastating disease that arrived in France from North America causing a sort of hysteria among the growers, a disease that was worse that devastation among the vines; very, very few ‘old’ varieties survived.
Then there are problems compounded by the planting of replacements, ‘popular’ vines many of which produce good wines but don’t always reflect the original character of the ‘old’ vines and wines of Gaillac.
In the words of the great authority M.Robert Plageoles of domains des Tres Cantous: ““Gaillac is one of the oldest vignobles of Gaul. No vignobles was chosen by hazard.
Particularly Gaillac; intelligent men saw that Gaillac combined two climates, the humidity of the Bordelais with the heat of the Mediterranean”.
”When a crepage (variety of grape) has been used for five hundred years it can be considered a crepage of Gaillac”.
“Everything else is not a crepage of Gaillac”. His opinion…
Further reading: Le Vin de Gaillac, 2000 ans d’histoire Relié – mars 2001
de Fernand Cousteaux (Auteur), Robert Plageoles (Auteur)
To tour the Gaillac region, meet the people and sample the wines is an amazing voyage of discovery.
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Gordon Frickers (c) December 2016
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