Domaine Philippe Gilbert, 2020 Update
I have been a regular visitor to the Loire Valley for decades, and a committed attendee at the region’s flagship wine fair, the Salon des Vins de Loire, for much of that time. In the weekend running up to the salon I spend most of my time at what used to be referred to the Renaissance tasting, but which these days seems to go by the moniker of Degustation Salon St Jean. Whatever name you call it, with its exclusively organic and biodynamic vibe, there are so many growers of interest at this tasting – Eric Nicolas, Damien Delecheneau, Patrick Baudouin, Vincent Carême and the like – I can spend two days here and still not get to the end of my shortlist of vignerons I want to talk to and wines I want to taste.
It is thus not possible to taste with every vigneron who attends this salon every year, especially in years where I sacrifice some of my time there in order to visit vineyards, such as my trip out to see those gathered together by Ivan Massonnat and Jo Pithon under the umbrella of Domaine de Belargus in 2019. One attendee (aside from those listed above) I would certainly be reluctant to omit is Philippe Gilbert. While my heart my be divided between Vouvray and the Coteaux du Layon, between Chinon and Saumur-Champigny (I think it must have been quartered rather than halved), I cannot deny that there are some superbly talented vignerons working in the central vineyards. Philippe Gilbert (pictured above) is one among them; I have tasted with Philippe every year, ever since I first visited him at his domaine in Menetou-Salon, during the 2013 harvest.