Gaillac Red Wine
Gaillac is one of the most original wine growing areas in France in every sense. The Romans started planting vines as far back as the 1st century AD, then in the Middle Ages the Church leased out land to farmers who were prepared to plant vines. The range of grapes and styles is amazing, the limestone slopes being used to grow the white grape varieties, whilst gravel areas are reserved for the red grapes. The Mauzac grape, for example, is especially versatile: it is resistant to rot and ripens late and may be found in everything from sparkling wines (methode rurale or gaillacoise was being praised by Provençale poet Auger Gaillard long before champagne was a twinkle in Dom Perignon’s eye) through dry (en vert), to semi sweet and even vin jaune. Mauzac is gently perfumed with a nose of apples and pears and an underlying chalkiness. The other major variety is Len de l’El, which, in Occitan, means “far from the eye” (loin de l’oeil). The reds are made predominantly from two more native varieties, Duras and Braucol, although the temptation to create a Bordeaux style in the interests of commercialism has meant that grapes such as Merlot, Cabernet and Syrah have found their ways into blends. Robert Plageoles has been dubbed “one of the artists of the appellation”. Mauzac is his particular passion. He produces all styles; the accent is always on wines with purity, delicacy and finesse.