Gaillac, Chateau de Rhodes Ancestral Method, NV, Mauzac

Cocooning: 89/100

Bored of average negociant Champagne?

Can’t bare heavily processed Prosecco any more?

Try our Fizz from the slopes of Gaillac!

The new-old-kid-on-the block with low alcohol, natural fizz, ancient grapes from an organic run vineyard and so delicious!

Sparkling Gaillac is clearly enjoyable

True happiness in the glass, small bubbles roll down the tongue, more than exploding. A fine and super aromatic wine: juicy pears drop, William crispiness and dash of spice. Low alcohol at 11% makes it so inviting.

The anchor for the region

The local fizz made from the Mauzac grape is fast becoming the anchor for the Region.

With a distinctive pear-skin flavour, the grape, unlike Champagne, only undergoes one fermentation. It's a bit like Spumante, but made in a natural way.

They bottle it halfway through, so the fermentation continues in bottle, trapping the CO2 inside the bottle as well as gradually turning the rest of the sugar into alcohol.

Organic, naturally

The Château de Rhodes is a twenty-hectare certified organic estate located on the prime limestone hillsides on the right bank of the Tarn river, in the heart of Gaillac.

Eric Lépine took over the property in 2002, and since then the Domaine has focused on minimal intervention wine made from traditional Gaillac grapes.

In 2011 he took a step further. Since then all wines are vinified with native yeast with minimal use of SO2.

Gaillac and method ancestral

Though they rarely feature in many trendy glossy magazines, the wine of Gaillac might have been seen as artisanal, local and too niche, in the past.

The history of Gaillac is rooted in white and method ancestral sparkling Gaillac from Mauzac grapes.

Some consider Gaillac as the oldest winemaking region in France. Locals are quick to point out this week's wine of the week is one of the few appellations of method ancestral and that sparkling Gaillac was famous throughout Gaul centuries before sparkling wine existed in Champagne.

Experimentation in Gaillac

This is worth putting your explorer hat on as Gaillac has been slow in finding itself.

The wine growers of Gaillac are the real heroes of the French Vineyard, they quietly dedicate their time to the ancient yet unheard of grapes to match the ecosystems of Gaillac.

Nobody here has been trumpeting they are greatest wines of France. But global warming might have triggered a sense of self-preservation through experimentation. It has spurred their desire to explore while conserving fragile ecosystems.

The wine growers of Gaillac are in a constant state of grape experimentation. Instead of specialising in one grape, Gaillac winemakers try their hand at everything: red, white, still, semi-sparkling, sparking, dry, sweet, even oxidated.

And they are spoiled for choice. For reds grapes, there is Duras, Braucol and Prunelard; for whites, Mauzac, Ondenc and the curiously named Loin de l’Oeil – ‘far from the eye’.

No wonder they are still looking! Expect more from Gaillac!

Final verdict

Climate: Continental

Soil: Limestone hard

Flavours: Fruity

Structure: Refreshing

Style: Graceful

Closure: Cork

Approach: Biodynamic, Sustainable