Organic Wines of Millesime Bio 2011
For the wine enthusiast, passionate about organic and biodynamic wines, Millesime Bio is a Mecca. Its like having Christmas, birthday, a visit to Disneyland, and an all-access pass to (fill in your favorite blank) all at once! Five hundred top organic and biodynamic producers showing off their wines – and three days to taste, taste, taste.
This year, 2011, was the 18th Millesime Bio and the biggest yet. Held in Montpellier, France and organized by the association of organic producers in Languedoc-Roussillon AIVB-LR, and Sud de France, it attracted more than 3500 wine proffessionals – buyers, importers, journalists, and conventional producers, come to sample and check out what the ‘organic’ fuss is all about.
As a blogger it was a fantastic opportunity to catch up with many of the producers featured on Organic Wine Find, taste their latest wines, and also meet and dicover new producers. With so many organic wines in one place, at one time, it presents a unique opportunity to compare quality. For a wine to stand out in the company of so many excellent peers, it has to be something really special.
So who were the ‘standout’ producers this year?
Domaine Pierre Frick This was one of my favorites from the show, and without doubt the best sulfur free wine that I tasted in Montpellier. Jean-Pierre has really taken sulfur-free winemaking to a new level. The same quality you’d expect from a sulfited wine, but with the added benefits of even more expressive nose and vitality of flavor. The wines that stood out for me (and they were were all excellent) were the 2009 Blanc de Noir Sans Soufre and the 2008 Muscat. I could have stood sniffing that muscat for hours, it was so tantalizing!
Terre Des Chardons won “Best In Show” as far as I was concerned. Truly mind blowing wines on so many levels. The two cuvees from their range that stood out were the Costieres de Nimes Rouge “Marginal”, a blend of 80% Syrah and 20% Grenache, and the Rosé a 50/50 Syrah Grenache blend. Delicate and refined, they are both farmed biodynamically and both made with indigenous yeasts and without added sulfites. Extraordinary ‘living’ wines that leave you flying. Can’t recommend them highly enough.
Guillot-Broux An outstanding range of well-made organic wines from the Macon region – Chardonnay, Gamay and Pinot Noir. The whites stood out for me with their gentle attack, and then whoosh, a wonderful bracing surge of minerality on the mid palate coming together for a nice long finish. Will be great with food, but also enjoyable just as a tasting experience on their own.
Dominique Cornin Delicious, clean, well-made chardonnay. Not too oaky, not too acidic, nicely balanced.
Philippe Delesvaux I must admit that I went into this tasting wondering if I was going to find a Chenin Blanc that I could enjoy, having found lots of examples earlier in the day that were either too hard or too blah for my palate. Philippe Delesvaux’s wines were a nice surprise and a pleasure. Slightly sweeter versions of Chenin. I particularly enjoyed the 2009 Les Clos which had an awesome fragrant nose, and delicious sweetness without being too sweet. Lovely well-made wines.
Closel Chateau des Vaults At the other end of the Chenin Blanc spectrum is the Savennieres, dry, with biting acidity, that really shows off Chenin to its best. These Loire wines are sometimes called austere but I found the Closel to be quite delicious, with an inviting bouquet, and a palate that’s both complex and refreshing.
Chateau Le Puy Compared to some of the more fashionable varietal blends I was beginning to feel like my home region, and my regular staple, the ‘bordeaux blend’ was a just bit on the boring side. But no list of outstanding wines would be complete without Chateau Le Puy. A superbly crafted blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Carmenere – smooth, balanced with a bright, acidic finish.
And the list goes on..
Domaine Duseigneur – fantastic Rhone blends
Didier Montchovet – Great Pommard
Chateau La Canorgue – Gold Medal Winner from the Cotes de Luberon