In a land where pigeon lofts and vineyards dot the rise and fall of river banks, where you can find ancient dolmen and multiply-restored cathedrals and middle-age châteaux, wine has been made for nearly 2,000 years. This is Gaillac, a winemaking region of Southwest France that is bisected east-west by the River Tarn (a tributary of the Garonne). Like its neighbor to the North - Cahors - this Southwest growing area has a venerable history, all the more venerable for its perseverance through centuries of war (one of them notoriously spanned an entire century), eco-devastation (phylloxera nearly depleted every vine), and deliberate stifling (the Bordelaise nearly squeezed Gaillac wine-production out of existence in the 18th century). There was a reason for this Bordelaise vise: the wines made here in the lowlands of the Tarn department are precious gems of spice, power, and exactitude. Chief among the resurrection and current renaissance of sorts in Gaillac - for over 7 generations - has been the Plageoles family in Cahuzac-sur-Vére, slightly northwest of Gaillac. Committed to autochthonous varieties, and all that makes the Gaillacois joyously themselves, in addition to a staunch observation of organic viticulture (gobelet-trained vines, no spraying, no chemicals, no fining, no filtering, the list goes on), theirs are wines leading Gaillac back into a future of completely well-deserved renown. Here is a bottling from one of the domaine’s side-projects named “2P Productions”, headed by Romain Plageoles (the youngest in the family) and his wife Fanny Papelard (ergo ‘2P’).
Vinification: A blend of 70% Merlot and 30% Loin de l’oeil, the grapes are hand-harvested from 30 year-old vines grown in clay and limestone soils. Once harvested, the grapes are destemmed. The juice, in contact with the skins for a short period of time, then begin to undergo spontaneous fermentation with only the help of native yeasts in fiberglass tanks. Racked once after both alcoholic and malolactic fermentation are completed, the wine goes back into tank for anywhere from 6 to 8 months of elevage. This cuvée is bottled unfined, unfiltered and with no additional SO2.
Tasting Notes: A medium-bodied, well-rounded chillable red. Sweetart sugar plums and blueberry pie, with some underlying earthy, mushroomy notes. The Loin de l’oeil provides some zippiness that lingers through the finish. Juicy and fresh, but enough weight to hold up to a bbq lunch on the roof under the summer sun. Serve chilled.