- 100% Syrah
Similar to the rest of the Northern Rhône, Syrah is the only red grape allowed in St-Joseph. However, regulations allow for the addition of up to 10% Marsanne and/or Roussanne, both white varietals as part of this red blend. Marsanne and Roussanne are also used individually or as a blend for the white wines.
St-Joseph lies just south of Côte Rôtie and is defined by similar granite soils to its loftier neighbour and also granites from the Centrale Massif to the west. These soils distinguish the wines by making them edgier and more taught than the easy Crozes-Hermitage appellation and yet with all the character and credential that make Northern Rhône syrah so famous.
Many of the red wines are meant to be consumed while waiting for Hermitage and Côte Rôtie to mature. With some of the vines in this region aged upwards of 100 years old the best wines are lively, structured and exuberant. Generally the wines are defined by the delightful red fruit that makes them very drinkable while young while keeping a poise and breeding of the more majestic Côte Rôtie
About 9 percent of the wine made in St Joseph is white, with the predominant variety Marsanne and a lesser amount of Roussanne grown. Since the 1980’s the best producers have sorted out the vineyard plots that work best for each variety and Pierre Gaillard’s whites are subsequently dominated by Roussanne. Good white St-Joseph exhibits exotic aromas and lovely levels of peach, apricot and greengage fruit. The palate is typically rich and well-weighted
St-Joseph, along with the rest of Northern Rhône has a continental climate that differs from its southern neighbour, which has a more Mediterranean climate. The appellation is the second largest appellation in the Northern Rhône covering 920 hectares. The classic part of the appellation begins in the south around the villages Mauves and Tournon. This part of St.-Joseph lies fairly high and these fields are regarded as the best of the appellation. 50 km to the north, when the appellation approaches Côte Rôtie, the soil is richer and the wines differ from the classic southern wines. It is in this northern section that Pierre Gaillard has his vineyards which are at the core of his identity; it is where he first established his vineyards and where he lives.
About Pierre Gaillard:
When Pierre Gaillard was 12 years old he was caught ploughing a nearby vineyard with a horse. Since then he has gone on, naturally, to study oenology, viticulture, and work as vineyard manager for Marcel Guigal before establishing his own domain based in St Joseph.
Pierre Gaillard has slowly built up a portfolio of vineyards since 1981 when he bought his first plot: Clos de Cuminailles in Malleval. His prize vineyard plots cover the best parts of the Northern Rhône in Côte Rôtie, Condrieu, Cornas, and Crozes-Hermitage as well as his treasured vineyards in St Joseph.
In 1987, he established his business in the upper part of the medieval town of Malleval and in 2002, he created the estate of Madeloc in Banyuls-sur-Mer. Finally, in 2007, he created the estate of Cottebrune in Faugères. Today, Pierre manages a total of 77 hectares.
Pierre’s wife and three children: Jeanne, Elise and Pierre Antoine help him to manage the estate and take part of the winemaking process. Jeanne in particular has studied oenology is a rising star and makes her own range of wines as well as assisting her father with his. Elise has also graduated and is in charge of the domaine in Roussillon at Madeloc. Pierre has also graduated in winemaking in 2010 and has been working in vineyards in New Zealand since. There is a buzz about the domain!
So good are Pierre Gaillard’s wines that Jancis Robinson MW has said that upon tasting his top St Joseph Les Pierres that she, “could almost have taken it for a Côte Rôtie”. This is praise indeed for an appellation that has long been overlooked.
Pierre has not look backwards and has worked alongside François Villard and Yves Cuilleron with the Vins de Vienne project and has also branched out to Faugeres and Banyuls/Collioure.
The Gaillard’s have gone from strength to strength and are this year’s hottest tip for value and quality. Every wine from the Vin de Pays (AOP) to their top Côte Rôtie and Condrieu are exemplary and will excite any lover of good wine. The Pierre Gaillard range of wines is available in limited quantities only. The red wines are available in Ireland now and the whites are due to be bottled in June.