Domaine Pierre Gaillard

Domaine Pierre Gaillard

Family Values: Saint Joseph, Côte-Rôtie et al. from an Icon of the Northern Rhône

Be it a Saint Joseph, a Côte-Rôtie or a Condrieu, every time you open a bottle with Pierre Gaillard’s name on it, you know you’re going to get a finely crafted and bristling expression of the soils from where it came. That’s his thing. Pierre Gaillard’s relationship with wine began at the age of 12 when he was found ploughing a neighbour’s vineyard by horse. Naturally, he went on to study viticulture and oenology (in Beaune) before obtaining a graduate diploma in winemaking from Montpellier. Not long after, Gaillard caught the eye of Etienne Guigal, who employed this talented and ambitious young viticulturalist to manage his growing roster of Côte Rôtie vineyards. 

Be it a Saint-Joseph, Côte-Rôtie or one of the Domaine’s fleshy whites, we’re yet to have a bottle of Gaillard let us down, just as we are yet to meet a wine lover who has not been anything less than delighted to share a bottle of this grower’s wine at a Bibendum table.

In 1981, while still working with Guigal, Gaillard professed he would like to buy his own parcel of Syrah, with a view to one day creating his own family Domaine. To his credit, Guigal offered to sell him one of his own parcels, and the choice then came down to two: a little-known vineyard called La Turque in Côte Rôtie; and another ancient wine-growing estate in high country Saint Joseph, dating back to Roman times called Clos de Cuminaille. The rest, as they say, is history.

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 meaning 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.

Now working alongside his son, Pierre-Antoine, and daughters, Jeanne and Elise, the wines of this Estate have never been in a better place. Gaillard belongs to that rare breed of Northern Rhône producer (let’s be honest) whose wines dole out a whole lot of pleasure no matter when or where they are opened. Therein lies the moral. Quality at a fair price rarely goes of style.

Region

Rhône Valley, France

Appellation

Northern Rhône

Wine Maker

The Gaillard Family

What They Are Saying

“Located above the picturesque medieval village of Malleval, the drive up to his winery and tasting room offers spectacular views over the surrounding countryside. The wines are pretty darn good too, especially the top-end stuff from Saint Joseph and Côte Rôtie... If the current trend of hot, sunny vintages continues, these will increasingly be wines to seek out.” Joe Czerwinski, The Wine Advocate

“Pierre Gaillard makes exciting, delicious wines in all three appellations. His St Joseph, in both white and red, is better than more prestigious ACs from less devoted, less artistic producers.” Jacqueline Friedrich, The Wines of France

Domaine Pierre Gaillard

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