“Before a wine can be great,
it must first be true.”
This is a quote from my friend Nicolas JOLY from the famous Clos de la Coulee de Serrant in the Loire Valley of France. As time passes and science and technology become more and more profound so these words ring greater bells.
Grown, not made. The Millton Vineyard specialises in growing fine wine from estate grown grapes sourced from their own single vineyards. For over 28 years these grapes have been grown in the traditional manner using biodynamic techniques. This involves growing the grapes without the use of herbicides, insecticides, systemic fungicides or soluble fertilisers. It therefore incorporates the use of special herbal, mineral and animal preparations and teas and includes a deep understanding of the complex cosmic rhythms which affect these daily activities. The resulting wines are certified to an international standard to assure that they are true to type and their original nature. They carry the certified organic trademark BioGro and grower ID number, which appears on the back label. In 2009 our vineyards and animals were Demeter. Both these organisations have exacting standards which are audited to international level and meet the stringent requirements needed to participate in these specialised markets. All wines are produced and bottled on the property.
“ I am often asked two questions; firstly what made you change to these methods? And secondly; does it make the wine taste better? After all these years I have come to realise that there was no change.
Why did you change to bio-dynamic growing. The motivation must have been intuitive. We were both was young and healthy. There had not been any major world disasters, such as Chernobyl or mad cow disease, which would influence my passion or opinion to the environment. I simply wanted to produce the best possible wine, to make a true expression of a product which wasn’t disguised which could be enjoyed by consumers in many different countries and cultures throughout the world. This still holds strongly to this day.
Does it taste different? The answer to the second question about the effect on taste, flavour aroma and texture is quite simple. Yes it does make a difference. Just ask the famous domains in Burgundy, the respected estates in Alsace and the well meaning properties in the USA why they have changed to biodynamics in these last years and continually the response is that the land smells sweeter, harbouring more microbial life and the wines have more texture, purity, length of palate presence and most importantly offer to the consumer an honest 'sense of place'. They can’t explain the reason nor can science set about to prove or disprove the practice. It still remains subjective however that quality is enhanced when one is open and sensitive to the surroundings.
My region is not yet famous while it would appear that those in the chosen locations appear loath to discard the chemical crutch. We do not 'make' the glam wines that shine with bling, that live behind the disguise which technology offer and impress the people who only sip. Our wines are not perfect for they have sensations which can only come from our place. These wines are made for drinking and enjoying with food and offer a challenge the senses or appetite. We grow wines that are suited to our area and, in general, these wines do not need the adjustment of taste from added sugar or acid and nor do they require additions of animal protein to effect soft palate pleasing texture.
As these vines are grown naturally the taste, therefore, is in harmon
y with the other senses. Just see how the glycerol stretches out on the side of the glass, how the clarity has a shine, a luminosity. You can’t fake that quality.
The end result is exactly a reflection of one’s own intuitive ability to understand the surroundings. If you don’t bother to look you seldom see in the same way of listening without hearing. In the end one should reflect the word 'disease' and see how it affects everything we deal with in such a way that we are inclined to seek protection from such an influence. If you see the word as two 'dis…ease' you will then understand nature’s desire to attend to the balance and harmony. The rest is easy."James Millton
Download a pdf of the full company portfolio.