Domaine Philippe Gilbert, 2016 Update

I taste a lot of wines during my visits to the Loire Valley, and I meet a lot of vignerons. This latter point is essential; tasting is one thing, but it is nothing without an opportunity to hear from the men or women who actually made the wine, to learn what makes them tick, to hear of their domaines, their vineyards and their winemaking philosophies. Only then do I begin to get the full picture of the wine in the glass in front of me, to understand where it is coming from. After all, wine (and wine writing) should be about more than just impressively long tasting reports, filled with 300 or more tasting notes (and scores of course) but little in the way of real information.

Philippe Gilbert

There is still a problem though; even taking this approach I still think many of my reports stop some way short of the ideal, because the focus is still on the wine in isolation, and not with dinner. For me, and I think for most people who read Winedoctor, wine is for drinking with food. The precise details aren’t important; it could be a fine dinner, but it could also be a blustery picnic, with nibbles during the Super Bowl, or with breakfast (yum, yum) if you’re so inclined. Whatever the situation, it is still very different to tasting the wine in the Loire Valley, perhaps one of 70 or 80 wines tasted in one day. Not infrequently the Renaissance tasting, where I usually meet Philippe, is a noisy, bustling affair, the experience often marred by bruised ribs (as other tasters elbow their way through to the table) and disdainful looks from a certain East Coast team of importers (because I dared to get in their way with my mini-laptop – sorry guys!).

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