When you think of wine fairs, Montpellier may not immediately come to mind, but Millésime Bio has put this city in the south of France on the map as a must-visit destination for wine enthusiasts. Millésime Bio is not just any wine fair; it is the epicenter of the organic and biodynamic wine world. Let’s take a deeper dive into the history of this bio-centric fair and explore what Montpellier and Millésime Bio have to offer.
The History of Millésime Bio
Millésime Bio was founded in 1993 and has steadily gained popularity ever since. It started as a small gathering of organic wine producers and has grown into the world’s largest fair dedicated to organic and biodynamic wines. Every year, thousands of visitors, including wine merchants, sommeliers, and wine lovers, flock to Montpellier to discover the latest trends in organic winemaking.
Organic vs. Biodynamic Wine
Before we delve further, let’s first look at the distinction between organic and biodynamic wine. Both approaches focus on sustainability and environmental respect, but there are subtle differences. Organic winemaking aims to minimize the use of synthetic chemicals in the vineyard. Biodynamic winemaking takes it a step further, considering the vineyard as a living ecosystem, taking cosmic influences into account, and using natural preparations to strengthen the soil and plants.
My Discoveries at Millésime Bio
During my visit to Millésime Bio, I uncovered a treasure trove of captivating winemakers and wines. Below, I’ll share my most exciting discoveries with you!
This winery harmoniously combines traditional winemaking practices with contemporary innovation. They cherish their ancestors’ heritage while utilizing modern techniques to continually enhance the quality of their wines. The result is a range of wines that reflect the timeless elegance of the region while possessing a contemporary character.
During my visit to Famille Fabre, I was enchanted by their orange wine, a bold and intriguing creation. Orange wine is made by fermenting white grapes with their skins, a process that adds deep color and complexity to the wine. Famille Fabre’s orange wine strikes a fantastic balance between fruity aromas and the subtle tannins from the skins, resulting in a unique flavor experience that is both adventurous and refined.
Château Serre Blanc
Located in one of the newest appellations in France, Cairanne, also caught my attention.
Cairanne is an emerging and remarkable appellation in the Southern Rhône Valley in France. Situated in the Vaucluse department, Cairanne is part of the Côtes du Rhône-Villages region and has quickly risen to become a prestigious appellation with a rich history and a flourishing wine industry.
The history of winemaking in Cairanne dates back centuries, but it was only in 2016 that it was promoted to the status of an independent Cru appellation, indicating its exceptionally favorable terroir for wine production. This upgrade acknowledges the unique characteristics of the area and the quality of the wines produced there.
What truly sets Château Serre Blanc apart is its winemaker, who is not only a master of winemaking but also a pilot. This unique combination of skills has led to an unconventional approach to winemaking and a profound connection between wine and aviation.
Piwi Grape Varieties: Sustainability in the Vineyard
During my exploration at Millésime Bio, I stumbled upon an exciting and innovative development in the world of winemaking: Piwi grape varieties. Piwi is an abbreviation for “Pilzwiderstandsfähige Rebsorten” in German, which translates to “fungus-resistant grape varieties.” These grapes are specially bred to resist fungal diseases like mildew and downy mildew, significantly reducing the need for chemicals in the vineyard.
Solemme, a producer of organic champagnes, impressed me with their refined and complex bubbles. A tribute to the elegance of the Champagne region and a commitment to nature.
My favorite, Solemme Blanc de Blancs, made exclusively from Chardonnay grapes, offers an expressive elegance with notes of citrus, peach, and a subtle hint of brioche.
Tenuta Fontana: A Unique Vineyard
Tenuta Fontana is no ordinary vineyard; it is a living museum of traditions and winemaking history. Located in Campania, Italy, Tenuta Fontana has a rich heritage dating back to 1870.
The estate is nestled in the hills of Irpinia, where volcanic soils and a unique microclimate contribute to the production of characterful wines. One of their most striking wines is the “Vigna del Melone,” an Aglianico wine that showcases the depth and complexity of this native grape.
What makes Tenuta Fontana truly special is their dedication to preserving ancient vines and traditional winemaking methods, including the use of amphorae.
Greek Splendor: Giannikos and the Unique Retsina
One of the most remarkable discoveries I made during my visit to Millésime Bio was the Greek winery Giannikos, renowned for its exceptional wines and the distinctive retsina.
Giannikos: A Rich Heritage
Giannikos is an ancient winery located in the beautiful region of Nemea on the Peloponnese peninsula in Greece. This region is known for its ancient wine traditions and the production of the famous Agiorgitiko grape. The winery is run by the passionate Giannikos family, who have been making wine for generations with an unwavering commitment to quality.
Giannikos’ Unique Retsina
One of Giannikos’ most remarkable creations is their retsina, a traditional Greek wine characterized by the use of pine resin during the winemaking process. However, Giannikos’ retsina is not just any retsina; it is a work of art.
Giannikos has perfected the art of making retsina, achieving the right balance between resin and wine to create a refined and balanced taste. The wine combines fresh citrus aromas with subtle resinous notes, resulting in a refreshing and intriguing sensory experience.
A Dive into Greek Wine Traditions
A conversation with Giannikos’ winemakers revealed the deep roots of their Greek wine traditions. They cherish the legacy of their ancestors and are determined to preserve the ancient crafts and techniques passed down through generations. It is this dedication to tradition, combined with their pursuit of quality, that makes Giannikos a valuable treasure in the world of wine.
Giannikos is not just a producer of retsina; they also offer a range of other wines, including delightful white and red wines made from native grape varieties like Assyrtiko and Agiorgitiko. These wines reflect the unique terroir of the Peloponnese and embody Greece’s rich and diverse wine traditions.
Millésime Bio in Montpellier unveils the exciting world of organic and biodynamic wine. It is an experience not to be missed and a tribute to the growing sustainable movement in the wine world. Cheers to these discoveries and to sharing the passion for wine in a greener and healthier way!