The descendent from a long line of winemakers, Jérôme Galaup breathed new life into his family exploits at “La Ferme du Vert” in 2017 after gaining experience working alongside the Plageoles family, just 5 kilometres away. Armed with green thumb of generations of local farmers and the thoughtful knowledge of the local viticultural landscape and local varieties, Jérôme is making wines of an extremely high quality; someone that I respect both for the quality of his work and the character that he manages to fuse into each cuvée across a wide range of styles. The wines stay rustic; almost like the setting, but its the style of “rustic” with intention, one where everything has a place.
Formally situated in Castlenau-de-Montmiral on the right bank of the Tarn River ,50km East of Toulouse. Gaillac shares a mixed geology with clayish limestone dominating vineyard land on both banks of the river. Climatically think Mediterranean Bordelais, humidity and heat with continental location. Like most regions there has been a gradual warming experienced over the last few years; its a change that is evident but can be less damaging to these more well suited local varieties, though winemakers locally (Jerome included) have preferred to harvest earlier and earlier to maintain the brightness that balances the wines.
Jerome is surely a rising star in the neighbourhood if not a local star already. Much attention is paid to the vines, a careful analysis each day through the eyes of someone who has grown up between those same rows; he feels the change the temperature, he sees micro changes in the vines and knows when his cows are vines aren’t “jiving” its a growers sixth sense that goes beyond scientific understanding and links more to an intuition that can’t be trained. Jerome has an incredibly good sense of his land; not only does he oversee his 9 hectares of vines but a small heard of cattle and 10 additional hectares or so of mixed cereals, the whole lot surrounded by dense forest. He practices vilification and farming without manipulation. The wines are at times frank, fresh and savoury; ultimately we find the expression of each local variety but they resemble nothing else.
There is a deep connection with the earth and with the land, the wines become the place and the place is evident in each wine, the vats of cereal left to dry, the coniferous smell of the forest, sun ripened fruit and the ever fleeting smell of animals that are well loved. Wines of the Southwest are often misconstrued to be dense and lack precision aromatically, but it isn’t the case. Red varieties like Braucol and Duras can be vinified to thick, high alcohol wines rather than displaying balance and a character of ripe almost dried fruit & herbs. Whites can sometimes that character, Mauzac and Muscadelle being too textured or too subtle.
Someone deeply connected; who shares in his connection with nature.