“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. Both cuvées of Côte-Rôtie are excellent, with lush, concentrated fruit and real freshness.”
Jacqueline Friedrich, The Wines of France
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 St Joseph, Côte Rotie 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. As the review above by Jacqueline Freidrich shows, Gaillard is now reckoned in France to be among the Northern Rhone’s best winemakers.
If there was a Guild of Master Northern Rhône Wine Craftsmen, Pierre Gaillard would probably be the president. Be it a St Joseph, a Côte Rôtie or Condrieu, every time you open a bottle with his name on it you know you are going to get a thrilling, 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.
Gaillard’s vines are now into their third decade and, as they continue to mature, the wines just keep getting better and better. This improvement manifests itself in an added density and complexity. The St Joseph wines, the heart and soul of the Estate, are pure, stylish and very fine value. The Côte Rôtie is smoky and svelte; clearly a benchmark example.