The Domaine Henri Milan comprises 16 hectares (40 acres) of biodynamic vineyards located due south of Avignon, in the idyllic Provence region of southern France.
In an area more commonly known for its insipid salmon-pink rosé, it’s a delight to find wines with character.
The MGO – standing for Milan Grand Ordinaire – is a blend of six different vintages and cuvées: Papillon Rouge 2014, Le Vallon 2009 / 2010 / 2011, Clos Milan 2006 and the MGO2.
As with most of the wines that I like to drink, these are made with no chemicals or additives, just healthy grapes, indigenous yeasts and very little sulphur.
Henri Milan is one of the pioneers in this regard, having made his first wine without adding sulfites in 2000. Another important step away from conventional winemaking wisdom occurred in 2007 when he made the decision to leave the Baux de Provence AOC. All the wines from Domaine Milan (Henri now works alongside his son, Theophile, and daughter, Emmanuelle) are declassified as the very basic “Vin de France.”
I opened this bottle of MGO 3 on Friday with three other wine folk. It was unanimously declared the most interesting wine of the night.
HENRI MILAN (Saint Rémy de Provence) “MGO 3” NV predominantly Grenache, some Syrah – Mourvèdre – Cinsault and a tiny dose of Cabernet Sauvignon (13%)
The true charm of this wine lies in its elegance. It starts with an enticing ruby colour and continues onto the beguiling nose of red fruit – very typical for grenache – some spiced, some cooked.
If you take an objective look at this wine – using the trendy catchwords which are so often bandied around – you’d say light-to-medium bodied, fruit-forward with a moderate finish.
Yet the reality is that there’s something very special and wholesome about this wine which is harder to describe. It’s so easy to drink that it feels more like a strawberry and cranberry drink than a wine. It wavers between juicy redcurrants and fraises des bois and a more herbaceous side, evocative of the wild shrubs of southern France.
This wholesomeness is in part due to its remarkable digestibility. There’s a delicious freshness to this unique wine; it feels good to drink. Rarely do red wines from the south of France succeed in walking the tightrope of fruit, rounded tannins and legerity but this nails it.