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Pretty Pinot in Pellé's Menetou-Salon Rouge

The wines of Domaine Pellé have taken off at Flatiron Wines over the past few vintages. We can't keep them in stock! 

No matter how many different cuvées we carry – or how much quantity we take – we’re always running out.

Pretty impressive, especially when you consider that the wines come from one of the most notoriety-challenged AOCs in France: Menetou-Salon.

True, there’s fabulous terroir there (silex and Kimmeridgian marl abound), but the region lives in the enormous shadow of its neighbor, Sancerre. 

Yet the wines fly off the shelves here just as fast as any Sancerre we carry, for two simple (but very good) reasons: Paul-Henri Pellé is a fantastic winemaker, and the wines are screaming deals.

Case in point: the 2018 Menetou-Salon Rouge, which comes from the tiny village of Morogues. It’s very possibly the best Pinot Noir we carry under $30. More than that, it’s another example of how well-matched the cool, northerly terroirs of the Central Loire are to this grape variety in warm vintages.

Now, most winemakers in this part of the Loire focus exclusively on white wines; like Sancerre, Menetou-Salon is dominated by Sauvignon Blanc production.

But Pellé has a real gift for Pinot, and he makes several red cuvées along with his many whites. Maybe Paul-Henri picked up a few tricks during his stint in Burgundy before he took over the family domaine.

We could try to compare Pellé’s Menetou-Salon Rouge to red Burgundy, but one of the best things about the wine is that it doesn’t taste like it’s trying to come from somewhere else.

With its smoky, black cherry fruit and subtle herbal underpinnings, this is an expression of Morogues terroir that stands on its own, and it’s all the better for it. It’s a versatile wine that you can enjoy with nearly any kind of food (we drank it chilled last night with roast chicken), or all by itself, so there’s a deep discount for stocking up.

Pelle, Menetou-Salon Morogues Rouge, 2018

This was bottled just one week before my tasting. It starts off with smoky cherry fruit, all toasty and fresh on the nose. This is backed up by an elegant and seamless style on the palate, carrying rich fruit, with a fairly firm and polished grip to it. It is built upon a solid concentration of tannins, along with fresh and vibrant acidity. Another indication of the fine character of this vintage for the region’s reds. From a 2020 Update. 92/100 –Chris Kissack, thewinedoctor.com