Gaillac claims to be France’s oldest wine growing region - it maybe, with some challenges from Languedoc and Narbonne. Nonetheless, with reds, whites and rosés, the region has something for everyone.
In the 1st century, Roman merchants brought wine down the Tarn River. As a natural part of this commerce, vineyards grew up along the sides of the river. Since then, great wines have been a part of the region. Wine production in the region covers 4,200 hectares (10,000 acres) and produces almost 60,000 hl of white wine and 20,000 hl of rosé wines. With the massive varieties of wines and the deep tradition of wines in the region, this region of traditional Gaul is a wine adventure all of its own.
The major red grape varieties of Gaillac wines are Fer Servadou, Syrah, and Duras. These grapes must be in 60% of any wine in order to receive the Gaillac AOC. Other grapes in the region include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc, with Gamay also being allowed. The red wines of the region are big and bold, used to strengthen the flavor of Bordeaux. One of the most interesting grapes is the Prunelard Noir. The grape is very ancient - the phylloxera outbreak in the late 19th Century was thought to have wiped them out, but some very old vines were found in the last 30 years. Today, up to 10% of the Prunelard Noir wine is allowed in Gaillac wines.
The white Gaillac wines come from Len de L’el ( Loin de l’oeil ), Muscadelle, and Mauzac grapes. The Gaillac blanc wine that is much a part of the region’s history is made from these grapes, with perhaps a touch of Ondenc or Sauvignon Blanc. The Gaillac blanc is a dry, clean white with a slight greenish tint, with tastes of slight red berries and dried plum. The Gaillac Methode Ancestrale wines are made entirely from Mauzac grapes.
Many of the wines that are made in Gaillac can also be found in some regions of Spain. The phylloxera outbreak caused many of these wines to be relocated to Spain to survive.
Gaillac wines represent some of the oldest and most traditional wines styles in the world - This ancient Roman region has been supplying wine to Europe and the world for over 2,000 years. Most of the wine houses of the Gaillac region have been making wines for generations, and the experience of the vintners and the ancient soils of the region virtually guarantee some of the world’s finest wines.