Last week, Valérie, Fx and the Oé tasting committee went to unearth new nuggets at the Millésime Bio show in Montpellier.
After surveying 5 halls over 24,000 m2 of exhibition space, strolling among more than 1,300 winegrowers, including 976 from France (that's what we're looking for anyway) and slaloming between the 7,000 participants, the team came back with beautiful surprises for this year 2020. Are you ready for the topo?
Millesime Bio, what is it?
It is the world's leading organic wine trade fair. It is here that small and large winegrowers who cultivate in organic farming meet each year to introduce the discerning taste buds to their cuvées. It is in this show that we discover our winegrowers and that they recommend “their neighbours” to us - those who are not present at the show and who also produce good committed wine!
During the show, 450 jurors challenge the participants. This year 479 wines from 13 different countries out of the 1612 references tasted by the jury won medals. Several of our winegrowers have had this chance (or rather should we say merit). What pride! For example, Saint-Emilion from Château Moulin La Grangère (it even won two medals) and Val de Loire from Domaine Ampélidae.
In the arena of Millésime Bio. To your glasses, fire, GO!
Before leaving for the show, it is Valérie our oenologist who prepares the ground. She begins by going through the map of the show to find the locations of our winegrowers - we would not go to the show without stopping to say hello to them, taste their new vintages and hear from the estate.
On site, Valérie and Fx's mission was to find lesser-known appellations such as Terre de Camargue and Côtes de Toul. You know ? Valérie explains “We choose new wines based on the appellations we already have, so as not to validate the same types of wine.” and she continues “That makes them wines to be tasted by the m2. At the end of the 20th wine already, you can feel the sauce rising even when using the spittoons each time (laughs)”. Her beauty tips: “No make-up kit but a toothbrush, to avoid stains due to wine tannins, and have a perfect smile throughout the tastings”.
From the first day, Valérie and Fx pre-select the wines. On the second day, they debrief with the other four people of the Oé tasting committee, they taste again together then validate the selections (or sometimes not...). Following this, we receive in our offices in Lyon two bottles of samples to taste quietly and definitively validate the wines that we will offer you in 2020 ;-)
A major discovery!
One of our winegrowers made us taste something original: orange wine! He originally comes from Georgia. The one we tasted is made in Bordeaux from white wine macerated for 16 days. The producer who made us taste it produces only 500 bottles. It's special, “we like it or we don't” as Valérie would say. To make orange wine, you don't need to do a magic trick or add orange juice. The technique is to vinify white grapes like reds! For the more curious among you, the must (grape juice) ferments with the pulp, the skin, the pips and the stalks. It is the yellow pigments of the skin that give the pretty amber color of orange wine. On the nose, floral aromas, notes of crushed apple and sometimes dried fruit emerge. On the palate, the orange wine is tannic and fresh. During the tasting, our winemaker suggested pairing it with Asian, spicy or spicy dishes. And Valérie's touch: “We also love it with a little sweetness for dessert!”.
The anecdote not to be missed: “When we got back from the show, we almost missed the shuttle. That's what interesting winegrowers are, it's always difficult to leave them, so much do we like talking to them. We ended up running away so as not to miss the train.” said Valerie.
Consume less and better
Our visit to Millésime bio gave us a boost. Despite Brexit, US taxes of 25%, declining wine consumption and alcohol-free months like Dry January, it warms our hearts to see that organic growing areas are increasing by 12% each year and that France tends to become the first organic consumer country in the world in 2021.
Millésime Bio Montpellier, see you next year!