Rosenthal's Best Pink Wine
Rosé has to be refreshing to be worthy of the name. And Philippe Gilbert's Menetou Salon is as refreshing as they come: cool Loire nights preserve the freshness in his bright Pinot Noir fruit.
The wine doesn't just cool you down on a hot day, it will reinvigorate you with vibrant acidity and the perfectly drawn berry flavors.
But Gilbert's rosé goes a step further: more than just refreshing it is a rare rosé worthy of contemplation.
Now, don't get me wrong. You don't need to spend any time thinking about the wine. It's summer and the wine is delicious and it's plenty good enough just to enjoy it.
But if you find yourself taking a sip as the conversation lulls, you may notice that the minerality reminds you of something you've tasted before. That's because the soils are Kimmeridgian limestone -- the same fossil-rich dirt you find in Chablis and some of Sancerre's best sites.
Stay focussed on the wine and you may also notice that the fruit reminds you of some of the better (and much more expensive) Sancerre Rosés you've had -- which makes sense given that they are neighbors.
And if you go back to the beginning -- swirl the glass and revisit the aromas -- you'll see there's more going on than first meets the (figurative) eye: berries, but also a pithy citrus note, something subtly floral or herbaceous, and a hint of that same minerality.
You may wonder how a wine this inexpensive from such an unfamous region could be so delicious and so dialed in.
Part of the answer is that although Menetou-Salon is new to many wine lovers, it's a centuries-old source of great Pinot Noir. The locals have had hundreds of years to find the right spots and match them with the right grapes and techniques. In fact, Domaine Phillipe Gilbert was founded by Phillipe's ancestor, Francois Gilbert, in 1768.
It also helps that this rosé comes from a single site (the Clos de Morogues) with those classic clay-limestone soils and perfect expositions.
Of course, there needs to be more than just history and terroir to make a great wine -- there needs to be a great vigneron too. Phillipe Gilbert is that.
He was a successful playwright and dramaturg before coming home to take over the family domaine. It feels sometimes like he's using the vigneron's tools tell a story in much the same way he used the tools of the theater to do the same in his prior life.
Biodynamic farming, hand work in the vineyard and spontaneous fermentations in the winery: everything is done to permit the wine to tell the story of that site, that year.
If you stock up on one rosé this season, it should be this one: