Gaillac French wine was already known in the fifth century, particularly in ecclesiastical circles. With the arrival of the Benedictine monks in the tenth century Gaillac became known as one of the best winegrowing areas of France. The vineyards cover 2,500 hectares on either side of the river Tarn, stretching from the town of Albi, north of Toulouse. The soil on the left bank of the Tarn is poor, consisting of stone and gravel, which is ideal for red French wine. The right bank of the Tarn is more complex and diverse with granite, chalk, and sandstone predominant. White, rose, and red French wines are produced, with the current production of Gaillac consisting for 60 per cent of red wine.
The white Gaillac French wine is made with Mauzac grapes, which are also found in Languedoc (Limoux) and in various small southwestern wine-growing areas. Mauzac is supplemented here with the Len de l’el grape for its finesse and aromatic strength. The Len de l'el grape is also grown in both French and Spanish Catalonia. French wine from the right bank is wellbalanced and possesses rich fruitiness, floral bouquets, and is very fresh. The modern-style white wines are slightly less broad, lithe, and lingering in their aftertaste than the traditional Mauzac and Len de l'el wines. This French wines produced on the left bank are fruity, juicy, and warm. Drink Gaillac white at 10°C, and the sweet white at 8°C.
There is also sparkling white Gaillac, available in two types: the methode artisanale is achieved without the addition of liqueur. The gas bubbles are created by the fermentation of the sugars already present in this French wine. This Gaillac methode artisanale is very fruity and full of character. Gaillac methode traditionnelle is produced with a second fermentation in the bottle after a dose of liqueur has been added to this French wine. This sparkling wine is perhaps somewhat fresher but less complex and above all less fruity. Drink it as an aperitif at about 8°C.
Gaillac French rose is generally made by modern means using the saignee method (early drawing off during the steeping of the wine of a little red and subsequent vinification as white Frech wine). This is a friendly, fairly light, and easily drinkable rose. Drinking temperature for a good French wine: 10- 12°C (50- 53 .6°F) .
Gaillac red Frech wine is made with the Duras grape, an old variety that made a comeback about twenty years ago, to which the native Braucol or Brocol (local names for the Per Servadou or Mansoi) is added. Duras imparts colour, backbone, and refinement to the wine while Braucol gives it fleshiness and rustic charm together with superb aromas of black currant and raspberry. The red French wine made by modern methods from grapes grown on chalky soils are light, aromatic, and easy to drink. This French wine has much in common with the Gaillac rose. A warm, stronger, but more lithe red with plenty of fruit aromas (preserved fruit, red currant and blackcurrant) originates from the granite soil of the hills. This French wine can be readily laid down. The red wine from the left bank is darker in colour and more richly flavoured, with bouquet of preserved fruit, spices, and blackcurrant. This French wine, which is robust and rich in tannin, needs to be aged in the bottle for some years. Drink the modern-style Gaillac French wine at 14-16°C (57.2-60. 8°F), and the traditional and robust red at 16°C (60. 8°F).