Domaine Milan Le Jardin 2011
A new wine to us, Le Jardin from Henri Milan is a bottle of pure Provencial wine. Domaine Milan was created in 1956 by Robert Milan, Henri’s father. It was here that Henri planted his first vine at the age of eight. Back then, the land was devoted to conventional farming methods. This was one of the big changes that were heralded when Henri took over in 1986. The land had been spoiled by excessive synthetic chemical treatments during the 1970s and early 1980s, so it was at this point the younger Milan moved towards organic production. By 1996, Milan had several conversations that would change the way the domain produced wine. One was with renowned soil expert Claude Bourguignon, who suggested that Milan should use the different vineyard sites to produce different wines. The other was Claude Courtois, of Les Cailloux Du Paradis, who advised Milan on the process of natural winemaking. The terroir is suited well to grow vines based on the soil types. Blue marl, limestone, clay and yellow sandstone all offer the chance for wines with a powerful connection to the natural environment from which they came. Now they host varieties such as Grenache, Grenache Blanc, Syrah, Muscat, Rolle, Roussanne, Mourvedre, Chardonnay and Cinsault.
The appellation of Vin De France does not allow producers to display the vintage of a wine on its label, which is why you will note Roman numerals on the bottle of Domaine Milan VDF instead. It could be said that this rebelliousness is typical of Henri Milan. He broke away from Baux De Provence AOC so that he could have more freedom to produce the wines he wanted to make. Milan’s approach to letting nature do its business goes further than just this. The only chemical treatment used during the entire process of growth and vinification is a small amount of sulphur dioxide, which is added, on some rare occasions, during bottling. Fermentation begins through the use of indigenous yeasts found naturally on the skins of the grapes, which are harvested manually. This is helped along by grapes being blended together at the beginning of the process, without being destemmed.
By 1996, Milan had several conversations that would change the way the domain produced wine. One was with renowned soil expert Claude Bourguignon, who suggested that Milan should use the different vineyard sites to produce different wines. The other was Claude Courtois, of Les Cailloux Du Paradis, who advised Milan on the process of natural winemaking. Le Jardin grapes are hand-picked. Maceration for 8 days. Natural fermentation with indigenous yeasts. Ageing for 11 months in barrels (90% of the wine aged in old barrels, 10% in new oak barrels). No fining, no filtration, 2g of sulphites added at bottling. Le Jardin gives a Merlot of very great finesse with sensations of wild strawberry on the nose, deep red colour. On the palate, we find the wild strawberry, without the power and tannicity of Bordeaux Merlot.
Production is small with only 2,500 bottles made each year.
By The Bottle