Domaine René Rieux
The Gaillac appellation, like Bergerac, Buzet or Cahors, is one of a number of lesser-known winemaking regions in southwest France that have learnt to live in the shadow of their dominant big brother, Bordeaux. The truth is that long ago the city of Bordeaux became rich and powerful at their expense, as it was granted the right to levy tax on wines that had to be traded down the Dordogne and Garonne rivers and through its port. And often these deep, dark wines were requisitioned in transit, effectively stolen, to blend with and bolster the weedy reds of Bordeaux!
The full range of Gaillac wines have great character and really deserve to be rediscovered by wine lovers everywhere. They are mostly made from esoteric local grape varieties, the reds are spicy and rich and the whites deliciously fruity and fresh, and the area also produces distinctive semi-dry sparkling wines, wonderfully round sweeties and a traditional almost sherry-like style called vin de voile.
This property is part of the Vertuvin group of wineries, representing many of France’s great wine regions, each one owned and managed by ESAT charities. These offer work to local mentally handicapped people within a protected environment, overseen by experienced industry professionals and dedicated care staff. By undertaking all the usual activities associated with wine production, from pruning to packaging, workers gain a variety of experiences and an invaluable sense of accomplishment, leading to a richer quality of life.
René Rieux was the local hero known for championing the traditional style of semi-sweet sparkling wine known as méthode gaillacoise, and the ESAT retained his name when they acquired the 50-acre estate in the late 1980s, as well as his winemaking guidance which was passed down to current director Raymond Papaix. The vineyards lie in several zones around the winery buildings, mainly on well-drained south and southwest facing limestone slopes, and are now converted to 100% organic viticulture.
These wines are an ideal discovery for those who are already familiar with the wines of Bordeaux and want to develop their knowledge in a similar direction. Full-bodied wines to accompany red meats and cheeses, barbecues, pizza and pasta dishes, they offer a whole range of new and exciting flavours while retaining the elegance and balance that show real quality. Gaillac wines can be a bit rustic, but the excellent terroir of the René Rieux vineyards and the skill and experience of the winemaking team ensure that these wines will be as smooth and enjoyable as any from the appellation.
We offer their barrel-aged red made from the local Braucol and Duras varieties blended with Syrah, rich and spicy yet balanced and fresh, and their rousing and remarkable special cuvée named Hyperbole, made from 100% Braucol and just stuffed with savoury and fruit flavours.
|Harmonie, Dom René Rieux, Gaillac rouge, 2014|
|Hyperbole, Dom René Rieux, Gaillac rouge, 2008|