The Gaillac Region
The region - GAILLAC - vineyard of The Tarn
Gaillac lies in a vast area described as the South-west, or Sud-Quest, wine region which is a collection of over 10 wine regions that stretch from central France all the way to the Spanish border.
The Gaillac wine region is situated in the Midi Pyrenees 50 km east of Toulouse, in the direction of Albi, in the Tarn departement. The vineyard area stretches over both sides of the Tarn and to the north up to the medieval town of Cordes. The Tarn is 375 kilometres long rising in the Central Massif and becoming a tributary of the Garonne. The Millau Viaduct spans the valley of the River Tarn near Millau, and is now one of the region's most popular attractions.
Gaillac is one of the oldest French vineyards, the first vines being planted in Roman times. Today the Gaillac Appellation covers 2,500 hectares spread over 73 communes, for an AOC production of over 165,000 hectolitres. Presently, the appellation consists of one hundred independent producers and 3 cooperative cellars.
The region has three different terroirs with a range of soil conditions from sand to gravel, differing aspects and varying climatic conditions. This difference, coupled with special grape varieties, gives rise to an exciting range of wines with unique characteristics.
The 3 different terroirs and the ages of the vineyards enable Gaillac to grow a number of traditional minor grape varieties that are not grown in other parts of France. Such as Mauzac and Lenc de l’Elh in the whites; and Duras and Braucol in red. There are also found the famous varietals of Cabernet, Merlot, Syrah, Sauvignon and Muscadelle.
This diversity of the Gaillac vineyard means that it can produce a great variety of wines, a wide range of dry and sweet white wines, red and rose wines as well as sparkling wines.
GAILLAC – Surprisingly DIFFERENT!
Gaillac is a region of surprises with a unique collection of vines and an amazing range of wines. So if your palate has become jaded and dumbed down with a diet of world market wines made from a handful of grape varieties, then it is time you tasted the wines of Gaillac. Add the magnificent Tarn river with the gorges that it has carved out over the years and the landscape it has created, and you have an exciting environment. Mix in hill villages, rolling countryside and rich farmland, along with a “healthy” serving of gourmet traditions and you have the setting for a unique wine and food experience.
What makes this a great area for wine and food lovers?
The Gaillac wine region is a farming region with almost endless local produce and is rich in gourmet traditions. Mellow local stone villages with farmers markets, vineyards, orchards and gardens all contribute to your wine tour experience. The gastronomic excellence of the region is unquestionable, and regardless of where you dine, you will taste wonderful foie gras, cassoulet, roquefort and drink local Gaillac wines and of course Armagnac.
Vineyards – enjoy a wide range of wines from winemakers who will be delighted to share their love of the terroir with you.
Landscape - the region has breathtaking scenery with strange rock formations, deep gorges, wild rivers plus special quiet secret places that have to be visited to really appreciate their beauty.
Bastide villages - The picturesque bastide villages (including Cordes, Puycelci, Castelnau de Montmiral) offer opportunities to explore this beautiful, unspoilt region of France
River Tarn - explore a river that has carved the landscape into plateaus, river valleys and deep gorges.
Architecture - ruins of medieval castles, vilages clinging to cliff faces, farmbuildings with character and form.
And towns of the Gaillac wine triangle
Gaillac - the nearest market town and centre of the local wine region. Markets are on Friday mornings and highly recommended. During the summer Friday evenings see open air concerts held in the Abbey grounds - wine and food are usually included. This friendly town is worth a visit for coffee or lunch and a wander around the older quarters.
Albi - A lively ancient city, founded by the Romans (c.100 B.C.). Enjoy walking around the pedestrianised old quarter, admire the red brick gothic Saint Cecile cathedral, soak up the views of the river Tarn and explore the Toulouse-Lautrec museum and gardens.
Cordes-sur-Ciel - a must to visit, it is situated 110m above the surrounding countryside and is probably the most beautiful 'bastide' in France (c.1250). Cordes offers fantastic panoramic views and wonderful architecture which is steeped in history with plenty of shops and restaurants
Carcassonne - the Disney-like medieval walled city.
Toulouse - the pink brick city with lots to see and do. Enjoy a visit to the "Cite de L'Espace" with its Ariane rocket etc.
Millau Viaduct - on every trip we marvel at the beauty of this engineering achievement - the highest viaduct in the world, "the eighth wonder of the world".
Unique foods and cuisine - taste the rich flavours of the region by visiting Roquefort, home of the world-famous blue cheese and enjoy it with the sweet white Gaillac wines. Try also cassoulet, the magical blend of pork, beans and herbs, and other gourmet dishes. And to go with cuisine like pork, the unique red wines of Gaillac.
Wines ranging from RUSTIC to SUAVE and you're spoilt for choice!
Come and discover just what makes the Gaillac in the SUD-QUEST a unique wine region of France. It is different and wonderful experience!