The story begins when the Milan family's grandfather acquired the estate. It is in this house that his family settled. On the advice of his neighbours and the inhabitants of the village, he planted vines. At the beginning, the grapes are harvested and then sold to be worked by other winegrowers.
In 1986, Henri, the son, took over and decided to set up a winemaking cellar with the ambition of "producing wines that do not hurt the head".
It is with this in mind that he stops using fertilizers and chemicals and looks at organic and biodynamic viticulture by reading Steiner, one of the founding fathers of the movement.
He decides to go and meet Burgundian winegrowers who have started out and learn from them. He then met Claude Courtois, a former winegrower in the Aix region and one of the leaders of the movement. Henri then invited him to examine his land and study the possibilities of switching to biodynamics.
Self-taught by nature and thanks to his meeting with Claude, Henri launches out and perseveres in biodynamics. Thus in 2000 he released his first vintage without any added suffering with great pride!
Like any wine-growing adventure, Henri Milan has also experienced lows, but this has not changed his determination to make wines the way he wants them to be.
Our Coup de Coeur wines from the Milan Estate:
In 2002, Henri was joined by his son, Théophile, who was first part of the sales team, and gradually took part in the winemaking process with the values that his father had instilled in him and this way of working that he kept precious.
He is accompanied by his wife who helps to manage the estate. A former sommelier in New York, biodynamics attracts her, she even wrote her thesis on it in 1980.
Since 2011, Théophile has been developing his own vintages with his own vision, he will soon take over the reins of the estate!
It is for this purpose that he has surrounded himself with a young and dynamic team like Sébastien Xavier, his cellar master, with whom he developed the 100% Grenache cuvée and who manages most of the cellar!
The estate is located at the foot of the Alpilles, straddling 2 communes: 15 hectares in the commune of Saint Rémy en Provence and 5 others in the commune of Eyragues. Its terroir is mainly composed of clay and limestone, but there are also blue marls (as in Chablis) which are ideal for the production of its whites and which produce exceptional wines for ageing. It manages to maintain excellent acidity despite the hot and dry Mediterranean climate.
Unlike its winegrowing neighbours, Théophile produces more whites and reds (40% of each colour) than rosé. His difference is also noticeable by his way of making wine, this one is more authentic, he does not try to bring his wines into the standards we know.
Ugny and clairette are not among the grape varieties used, although they are very popular in Provence. Instead, grenache, vermentino, marsanne, roussanne, chardonnay, bourboulenc, muscat or pinot gris bring this typicality to its wines.
For the reds, it has turned to grenache, syrah, the emblematic grape varieties of the Rhône Valley, cinsault, cabernet sauvignon, merlot (which flourishes on blue clays) and pinot noir. This grape variety, atypical for the region, was planted by Henri Milan because of its nickname "Le bourguignon de Provence" ! Pinot, which resembles grenache very strongly, is very popular on this clayey soil!
The work on the soil is done with horses, which helps the young vines to take root deeper without rushing the soil.
Théophile, always in search of new experiments, has planned to plant one hectare with the macabeu, savagnin, grenache gris, chardonnay and chenin grape varieties! A real bet!
The work of the vine follows the biodynamic codes, however the estate has not started the certification process. Indeed, Théophile prefers to work the grapes as he wishes while remaining faithful to the vision of the family estate.
Find the wines of the estate here