Gaillard | Pierre
In our opinion, though, there are those that simply cannot be beat, such as Pierre Gaillard, a Frenchman who has taken the great heritage of Syrah in the Northern Rhone Valley, combined it with the advantages of his youth and tireless work ethic and is now turning out modern yet soulful examples of this great grape. He makes superb wines from the most prestigious districts of the valley such as Cote Rotie, St. Joseph, and Condrieu (Viognier), but it might be his “simple” Vin de Pays Syrah that is the most impressive accomplishment considering its shelf price of under $15.
Today Pierre has arrived as one of the most capable craftsmen in the Northern Rhone. The Gaillard name is synonymous with top-quality Condrieu, despite the fact that he produces more red wine than white. His truly epic 1999 Cote-Roties drew international acclaim for their power, enthralling aromatics, and length. His winery is located in the Medieval town of Malleval, and like many proprietors, he has recently heavily invested into the winery and is now the proud owner of a grand, modern barrel room for ageing the reds.
This man is one of the world's true masters of Syrah, Viognier, and Roussanne. He makes St. Joseph that would pass for Cote Rotie in any other house. We only wish he could make more wine.
We love the passion, enthusiasm, and skill that Pierre Gaillard shows as a winemaker, but we also love how he embodies these same qualities as a friend and father. For example, he lets his school age son tend a few rows of vines on his own right next to the winery.
When we last spoke, the boy had yet to harvest a crop of viable grapes from this tiny parcel after a few years of trying, but the glow in Pierre’s eyes as he laughs about watching his son try to imitate the work he sees the men doing in the vineyards nearby clearly makes the investment worth every penny.