Portraits Vignerons - Portrait de la famille Milan, Produire des vins qui ne font pas mal à la tête - Les Grappes

Portrait of the Milan family, "Producing wines that don't hurt your head."

The story begins when the grandfather of the Milan familybought the estate. It is in this house that his family settles. On the advice of his neighbours and the inhabitants of the village, he planted vines. At first, the grapes were harvested and then sold to other winegrowers.

Henri transforms the family home into a wine estate

In 1986, Henri, the son, took over and decided to set up a winery with the ambition of "producing wines that don't hurt the head".

With this in mind, he stopped using fertilisers and chemical products and began to study organic and biodynamic viticultureby reading Steiner, one of the foundingfathers of the movement.

He decided to go and meet Burgundian winegrowers who had started and to learn from them. He then met Claude Courtois, a former winemaker in the Aix region and one of the leaders of the movement. Henri invited him to examine his land and to study the possibilities of going biodynamic.

Self-taught by nature and thanks to his meeting with Claude, Henri launched and persevered in biodynamics. In 2000, he proudly released his first wine without added sulphur!

As with any winemaking adventure, Henri Milan has also had his ups and downs, but this has not changed his determination to make wines the way he wants them.

Our favorite Domaine Milan wines:

Théophile follows in his father's footsteps

In 2002, Henri was joined by his son, Théophile, who was initially part of the sales team, but gradually took part in the winemaking process with the values that his father had instilled in him and the way of working that he treasured.

He is accompanied by his wife who helps with the management of the estate. A former sommelier in New York, she is attracted to biodynamic viticulture and even wrote her thesis on it in 1980.

Since 2011, Théophile has been developing his own vintages with his own vision, and will soon be taking over the reins of the estate!

With this in mind, he has surrounded himself with a young and dynamic team such as Sébastien Xavier, his cellar master, with whom he has developed the 100% Grenache cuvée and who managesmost of the cellar!

A real work of research of originality in the choice of the vine stocks

The estate is located at the foot of the Alpilles mountains, straddling two 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 give exceptional wines for aging. It manages to maintain excellent acidity despite the hot, dry Mediterranean climate.

Unlike his winemaking neighbours, Théophile produces more whites and reds (40% of each colour) than rosé. His difference can also be seen in his way of vinification, which is more authentic, he does not try to fit his wines into the standards we know.

Ugny and Clairette are not used, although they are very popular in Provence. Instead, Grenache, Vermentino, Marsanne, Roussanne, Chardonnay, Bourboulenc, Muscat or Pinot Gris bring this typicity to his wines.

For the reds, he has turned to Grenache, Syrah, emblematic grape varieties of the Rhone Valley, Cinsault, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot (which thrives on blue clay) and Pinot Noir. This grape variety, atypical for the region, was planted by Henri Milan because of its nickname "The Burgundian of Provence"! Pinot, which is very similar to Grenache, is very much at home on this clay soil!

The soil is worked with the help of horses, which helps the young vines to take root more deeply without disturbing the soil.

Théophile, always looking for new experiments, has planned to plant a hectare with macabeu, savagnin, grenache gris, chardonnay and chenin grapes! A real gamble!

The work in the vineyard follows the codes of biodynamics, but the estate has not started the process of certification. Indeed, Théophile prefers to work the grapes as he wishes while remaining faithful to the vision of the family estate.

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