What makes Gaillac so SPECIAL?
Gaillac is the second oldest, after Narbonne, wine growing region in France and has had vineyards
since before the birth of Christ. Major vineyard development took place in AD 972 with the arrival of the
Benedictine monks who founded an abbey in the town of St. Michel. Laws were established regarding the
quality of wines from Gaillac in 1271, and in 1938, the white wines of the region were granted AOC status.
In 1970, this guarantee of quality was extended to Gaillac's reds and roses.
The appellation region has three distinctly different terriors with on the right bank of the Tarn the
soils tend to be molassic clayey-calcareous slopes, with sandy or gravely outcrops are at the heart of
the vineyard. While to the north the Plateau Cordais has granitic and calcareous soils that are the well
suited for fruity whites and subtle reds. On the left bank the soils are of pebbles, gravels, sands or
"boulbenes"(soils of alluvial, sandy and clayey composition) and these are ideal for producing dense,
deep red wines.
The region has seen over the past 20 years a return to the use of traditional Gaillac grape varieties
such as Ondenc, Len de l'el and Mauzac in white, Fer, Duras and Braucol in red. These are often blended
with classic red varieties such as Cabernet, Merlot and Syrah; and whites such as Sauvignon Blanc, and
Muscadelle. As a result some unique wines are produced with characteristics not found in other regions.
Principal Gaillac Grape Varieties
MauzacA traditional Gaillac grape,a variety only exists in
Gaillac and Limoux. It is excellent for the making of various white wines : dry, sweet, sparkling.
Main characteristic are aromas of apple and pear. It produces soft wines with low acidity.
Len de L'el
This ancient variety can only be found in
Gaillac. It produces a wine with a very subtle, floral or citrus fruit aroma, bringing the wine freshness
now unique to Gaillac, Ondenc can produce a highly perfumed, full bodied wine.
It is also high in acidity which lend itself well to the production of sparkling wine
Used in conjuction with traditional Gaillac varities, especially in
One of the oldest grape varieties known, it brings
colour, suppleness and finesse, with characteristics of peppery and spicy aromas.
Also called Fer Servadou, it produces a wine high in
colour, full bodied and rustic. Characteristic aromas of blackcurrant, raspberry, crumpled
leaves and red pepper.
Syrah is best suited to warm south facing vineyards.
Used to bring robustness and aromatic complexity to Gaillac reds.
Used exclusively to produce Gaillac Primeur. Gamay is well
suited to the Gaillac terroir and has enabled Gaillac Primeur to obtain national recognition.
FACTS ON GRAPE GROWING & WINE-MAKING in GAILLAC
Name:Appellation Gaillac Controlée
Location: In the Tarn district, west of Albi city
Vineyards:100 independent producers and 3 cooperative cellars.
Places: 73 villages
Size of the vineyards: 2,500 ha (6,200 acres)
Production volume:165.000 hectolitres producing 10 million bottles(60% red wine)
Soil: Mainly Clayey limestone, and gravels
Weather:Predominantly oceanic, with a Mediterranean influence, due to the dry, hot south wind.
Appellation Gaillac Mousseux Controlée
Appellation Premières Cotes de Gaillac ControléeThe appellation stretches over both sides of the
Tarn and to the north up to Cordes.
The Mousseux Appellation area follows the boundaries of the Gaillac appellation region.
GAILLAC WINE TYPES - Appellation wines
|Gaillac Blanc Sec (Dry white Gaillac)|
Must contain minimum percentages of Len de l'El or Sauvignon grapes, or a blend of the two. It may also
contain Mauzac, Muscadelle, Ondenc and Semillon grapes. Colour is typically pale yellow with hints of
green. Aromas of pears, apples and sometimes honey.
|Gaillac Fraîcheur Perlée (Pearl fresh Gaillac)|
A slightly sparkling white wine with very fine bubbles or pearls from the second fermentation
|Gaillac Doux (Sweet Gaillac)|
Naturally sweet wines that must contain a minimum amount of residual sugar per litre. Grape varieties
are the same as for the dry white wines. They have a range of sweetness and typically have a flavour of
|Gaillac Mousseux (Sparkling Gaillac)|
Sparkling wines made by the "Gaillacoise Method " which is a single fermentation, with no addition of sugar.
The sweetness comes solely from the grapes. After several months, the residual natural sugar starts to
re-ferment and this produces the bubbles. The wine can be dry or half-dry.
|Gaillac Rouge (Red Gaillac)|
Must be made from set minimum percentages of Duras, Fer Servadou(Braucol) or Syrah grapes.
Each grower will use their own choice of other varieties to blend. The red wines typically have
a deep colour and a powerful nose, with tones of red fruit and hints of spices.
|Gaillac Primeur (Early harvest Gaillac)|
The Primeur may only be sold from the third Thursday of November following the harvest. Made from the
Gamay grape, it is a wonderfully fruity, easy to drink young wine.
|Gaillac Rosé (Pink Gaillac)|
The wine grapes used are the same as for the red wines. The rosés are typically light, fresh, easy-drinking