Generally being a fan of the small independent winery, I wasn’t sure how I would feel about Caves Saint Martin & Domaine Gales. Even if both are family-run, I had the preconceived notion that they were too commercial for my liking, and that the Gales family was off enjoying the fruits of someone else’s labor: I COULD NOT HAVE BEEN MORE WRONG! Isabelle Gales definitely has her feet on the ground and her sleeves rolled up. It was clear from the moment we met that she is passionate about wine and that her day-to-day work is all about shaping the future of her family’s business.
Domaine Gales was founded by Isabelle’s great-great-grandfather, Nicolas Gales, in 1916, and the business expanded in 1984 when the family purchased Caves Saint Martin (est. 1919). When Isabelle joined the business in 2011, she became the fourth generation of Gales to take charge -something that had not been anticipated by her parents.
Isabelle had originally decided to steer clear of wine and had studied art instead. It was only after moving away from the vineyards to a bustling Paris that she finally learned where her heart was. A friend of hers asked her to join a wine tasting course at Paris’ Ecole du Vin and it was during this course that she called her dad, and to his surprise, told him she wanted to become part of the business. Her younger brother Georges had always expressed interest and now manages The Pavillon St Martin– their delicious restaurant.
Arno Bauer, the Gales’ winemaker, has been with the family for many years and is a master of creation. Gales wines are generally delicate and perfectly crafted to be paired with a special meal, but quite frankly are also great on their own. Mr Bauer also has been able to carry on the the family’s tradition of supplying Luxembourg with high quality bubbles-Nicholas Gales being one of the pioneers of the traditional method raised the bar quite high.
For the Gales’ 100 year anniversary (in 2016), they produced a special bottle of crémant that was a secret mix of young and old wines (something very rare in Luxembourg). Although this bottle sold out incredibly fast, there have been plenty of new and interesting bottles since.
If you’re as impatient as I am and would like to try something different now, I suggest trying one of their Charta Schengen wines which combine grapes from France, Germany and Luxembourg in celebration of 30 years of the Schengen agreement. If you enjoy Pinot Noir, I would also suggest picking up a bottle from Gales (Domaine & Tradition label); it is full-bodied and carries wonderful flavours of cherries and red fruits- it’s a must try!
Although you can find St Martin wines and some Gales crémant in the grocery store, Gales’ still wines are only available for purchase direct from the Domaine. Although it’s not always convenient to make the drive, in this case you can use the opportunity to discover their almost 1km long underground wine cellars or to try out the lovely Pavillon St. Martin
Domaine Gales (Pinot Gris 2014)– the Domaine & Tradition label