Gaillard's Saint-Joseph is drawn from several parcels located in the high country of Malleval and Chavanay. The vines all lie, at altitude, in the far north of this sprawling appellation, closer to Vienne and Condrieu than to Tournon-sur-Rhône. The steep, cool soils here have plenty of granite, which contributes to the style of this perfumed and vibrant Syrah.
Each parcel is then vinified separately to bring out its own individuality, and to allow more options when assembling the wine. Aged mostly in used Allier and Nevers barrels for 18-20 months, and bottled unfiltered, the restrained used of new oak, just 10%, coupled with the natural freshness and tension of this year's release gives us a wonderfully lifted example of St Joseph.
Expect red cherry and wild berry fruit, pulpy texture and ultra-fine tannins. Classy and yet super drinkable.
"Pierre Gaillard began his career working for both Vidal Fleury and Guigal before he struck out on his own in 1985. Since then, both his reputation and his vineyards have expanded, mainly in the Saint Joseph, Côte-Rôtie and Condrieu appellations, but now also Cornas and an estate in the south-west, Domaine de Madeloc, where Banyuls and Collioure are produced. Today, Gaillard is also part of the Vin de Vienne project with Francois Villard and Yves Cuilleron. He was a key member of the Guigal team in the 1980s, helping create la Turque. As the review above by Jacqueline Friedrich shows, Gaillard is now reckoned in France to be among the northern Rhône’s best winemakers.
If there was a Guild of Master Northern Rhône Wine Craftsmen, Pierre Gaillard would probably be the President. Be it a Saint Joseph, a Côte-Rôtie or a Condrieu, every time you open a bottle with his name on it you know you are going to get a thrilling and bristling expression of the site from where it came. That’s his thing. 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 which means that 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.
As they continue to mature, the wines just keep getting better and better. This improvement manifests itself in an added density and complexity. The Saint Joseph wines, the heart and soul of the estate, are pure, stylish and very fine value. The Côte-Rôtie is smoky and svelte."