I’d like to start, if I may, with a bit of poetry:
“Late August, given heavy rain and sun
For a full week, the blackberries would ripen.
At first, just one, a glossy purple clot
Among others, red, green, hard as a knot.
You ate that first one and its flesh was sweet
Like thickened wine: summer’s blood was in it”
Seamus Heaney’s evocative poem “Blackberry-Picking” sprung to mind (well, my wife’s mind really) when drinking this Saint Michel 2009 Gaillac. Its combination of blackberry fruit aromas and a distinct leafyness makes it reminiscent of wandering through bramble bushes picking fruit and trampling on leaves.
Anyway, let’s take a quick step back. Gaillac, in south west France, is not a region I am very familiar with but having done a quick bit of research it would seem that it is actually France’s second oldest wine region, with 2000 years of wine-making history. Impressive stuff. One of the signature local varieties of Gaillac is Braucol, or Fer Servadou as it is also known, which gives fantastic colour and is often quite “rustic” or “gamey” apparently. Although based on Braucol, this one is blended with Syrah and Merlot. The result is a deep coloured, medium bodied wine with intense blackberry and leafy aromas. No signs of the rustic, gamey notes, but I did get hints of blackcurrant, wood and spice. I’m always keen to discover new regions (in this case, new to me, rather than regions that are new to winemaking!) and if you haven’t tried a Gaillac I’d definitely recommend checking this one out at Majestic. I’ll definitely be seeking out more examples.