Someone wrote that Pierre’s wines win hearts in their youth, but lack for nothing in terms of future potential. His winemaking approach seems to be rooted in the traditional, but also modern. His wines are consistently excellent and some of the greatest quality/value plays in the entire Rhône. Gaillard earned his top tier ranking through his hard work, talent and dedication.
Pierre Gaillard got into the wine business at a very young age. His first vineyard was the Chardonnay vines he planted in his parents’ garden. Later he worked at Guigal and Vidal Fleury. He was a force at Guigal in the 1980s, helping to create La Turque which became a benchmark vineyard in Cote Rotie. Today, Gaillard is considered by many to be one of the most capable craftsmen in the Northern Rhône and is also considered a master of Syrah, Viognier and Roussanne.
This is Gaillard’s Viognier from the Northern Rhône — and it shows why he is considered a master of the varietal. Deep golden straw in color. Not extremely aromatic, but with some peach and honey. On the palate, peach, apricot and honeysuckle with softer notes of lemon zest, quince and smoke. Great flinty minerality and acidity with a long, pure finish. Extremely rich, viscous, concentrated and lush, yet elegant and structured (oak is present).
This is one of the 2 best Viogniers I have had this year. The other is the McPrice Myers Viognier Larner Vineyard 2006. They are very different styles, the Gaillard has more weight and viscosity — and might be the more memorable. But the McPrice is also outstanding and perhaps a bit more versatile, not to mention more budget friendly. That being said, the Gaillard Condrieu performs with (and exceeds) many bottles of Condrieu that cost twice as much.
Recommended. One of my top 10 wines of the year.
Other wines from Pierre Gaillard:
Gaillard Côtes du Rhône Les Gendrines 2006
Pierre Gaillard Saint-Joseph Clos de Cuminaille 2005