Domaine Philippe Gilbert, 2015 Update

Only a month or two ago I was dining at Martin Wishart, overlooking the Water of Leith, and my index finger settled on my first choice of wine. Enquiring as to some specific detail – if I recall correctly I was looking for the exact identity of the cuvée in question – and not liking the sound of the answer I ultimately decided to opt for a different bottle. This time my finger landed on the 2012 Menetou-Salon Blanc from Philippe Gilbert. It should work well with scallops. And it should work well with turbot. That settled it; my choice was made.

Philippe Gilbert

As I write this report I am now simultaneously dipping quill into ink pot to write to Philippe (pictured above) to apologise for his wine not being the very first one upon which my finger landed. I have tasted a lot of Philippe’s wines, either at the domaine, or at various salons in France, and they have often shown well. But they are always so young, and always tasted in isolation, but here with another year or two in the bottle, and with plenty of time to make a relaxed assessment of the wine as it performed when matched with a number of dishes, the wine was a shining beacon of all that is good about Menetou-Salon. This was not the shrill and green style of Sauvignon Blanc that turns so many against the variety and its associated appellations. This was something else, rich, polished, flavoursome and convincing. And what is more it was, of course, a fraction of the price you would expect to pay for a Sancerre of comparable interest.

While I recharge my quill and plead for Philippe’s clemency, here is a brief report on some of Philippe’s other wines, tasted at one of the aforementioned salons, in Angers as it happens, earlier this year.

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