The Gaillac Appellation

 

 

Cahuzac-sur-Vère is on the Circuit des Vins for those who want to study the Gaillac appéllation in depth. The bustling market town of Gaillac (from the Latin ‘gallus’ a rooster) was founded in AD 972 but the vines that make up the appellation were first planted by the Romans in the first century BC. The wine was developed by the Benedictine monks and graced the best medieval banquets and was much enjoyed by Henry III of France and Louis XIV. In 1938 the vineyards of Gaillac were among the first to be accorded the Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée.

Older than Champagne
Maitre vigneron
AOC Gaillac map

There are some 112 vignerons producing AOC Gaillac wines of which a significant percentage are organic. At the last organic wine festival in December there were more than 60 wines from 16 exhibitors and more are joining their ranks each year.

 

The Gaillac appellation is based on some very distinctive grape varieties, for example among the whites l’Ondenc, le Mauzac, le Loin d’Oeil and Le Verdanel, and among reds le Braucol, Le Duras and le Prunelart. You will also meet more familiar varieties such as Sauvignon, Syrah, Gamay, Jurancon and Merlot. 

The AOC consists of seven distinct varieties: dry whites, ‘perlé’ – dry white wine with a hint of sparkle, dessert whites made using the Mauzac and Loin d’Oeil grapes for which the appellation is particularly  known, sparkling made with Mauzac grapes using the ‘methode ancestrale’ where the wine is bottled while it still contains unfermented sugar, reds, rosés and the red ‘primeur’, made with Gamay grapes, fruity, easy to drink and only available after the third Thursday in November.

Ripe Jurancon Grapes
Fermentation
La vendage

Confit de canard, foie gras and the the famous Cassoulet are among the favourite dishes of the region, not forgetting Roquefort cheese from the Aveyron next door. Apart from grapes the Tarn is renowned for its apples, walnuts, chestnuts and rare mushrooms. For lovers of gastronomy Cahuzac has its own Michelin-starred restaurant at the Chateau de Salettes and Helene is happy to recommend others of her favourite restaurants in the area.

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