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Pierre Gaillard, 2010 Vintage

Following on from this week’s Wine of the Week, the Pierre Gaillard Asiaticus 2010, here are notes on four more wines from Pierre Gaillard, all from the 2010 vintage.

I liked these wines; they show rather primary varietal characteristics at present, but they also show good harmony on the palate on the whole, with ripe and integrated structures, freshness and style. The Asiaticus was undoubtedly the most striking, but I woudn’t shy away from any of these, especially the Clos Cuminaille which looks like good value to me.

Although only two were marked tiré sur fût looking at the Pierre Gaillard website all his Northern Rhône cuvées spend at least 18 months in barrel so I have assumed all are barrel samples, hence the ranged scores. I have also included prices for cases, in bond, from stockist Bancroft Wines.

Pierre Gaillard, 2010

Pierre Gaillard St Joseph 2010: A moderate concentration of varietal Syrah fruit on the nose here, showing good character and suggestive of some concentration, but also rather blunted and difficult to define around the edges. A nicely rich substance on the palate though, with a light grip underneath the fruit, showing some biting structure in the midpalate and end. A nice weight to it, with firm and rather punchy acid and a light tannic backbone. Attractive if rather soft and low key at times. 14.5-15.5/20 (April 2012) (£125 per case, in bond)

Pierre Gaillard Saint Joseph Clos Cuminaille 2010: Dark, rich and spicy fruit on the nose here, very classically varietal in some of its tones, especially the blackberry fruit with that typical Syrah vein of sweetness, presented in a soft and slightly diffuse fashion, but certainly identifiable. There is a slightly woody, bracken-like quality to it as well. The palate is soft, gently polished, not especially deeply fruited or rich, the fruit a touch hollow at present, muted by the oak somewhat I think. Where the wine shows its mettle is in the finish, which has better definition than through the midpalate, showing a little grippy tannin and refreshing acidity. Very primary at present, but very harmonious and certainly showing some potential. 16-17/20 (April 2012) (£165 per case, in bond)

Pierre Gaillard Cornas 2010: A darkly coloured wine, concentrated but not opaque, and red-black in terms of hue. The nose is very muted at first but with time it reveals rich fruit aromas reminiscent of blackberry, with such a creamy, sweet intensity that it suggests blackberry purée swirled with vanilla ice cream. And yet alongside this there is a sooty, savoury note which steers the wine away from mere sweetness and simplicity. The palate is full, opening out over an hour or so, with firmly structured fruit and moderately grippy tannins through the middle of the wine, and gentle fresh acidity to the core. The fruit character isn’t quite as well defined as on the nose, but there is some frame to it, and there is certainly some substance to the finish. A wine with some good potential here. 16-17/20 (April 2012) (£260 per case, in bond)

Pierre Gaillard Côte-Rôtie 2010: Great primary fruit character on the nose here, all blackberry with the very typical sweet, buttery, crumble and vanilla ice cream character that comes with young Syrah, and underneath that there is a dark and savoury seam of aromatic, smoky, roasted meats. A good substance in the palate, similarly primary as the nose is, but with a good definition and flesh. Rich, full, more savoury than the aromatics suggested, with a dry and biting finish. Later, this settles down into a really savoury and harmonious balance. A very good style here, with really super potential. 16.5-17.5/20 (April 2012) (£310 per case, in bond)

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