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Palate Press has published my story about organic wines, organic wine regulations and reflections of French winemakers on the controversies.

The story went up overnight and will be on the site about one week. The piece was a result of my week-long visit to Montpellier, France, and the 19th annual Millesime Bio – organic wine trade show.

Here is a direct link to the story.

I also provided a quick summary of what I thought were the top wineries I tasted during the show. Unfortunately, due to space considerations that section was cut. Here is it below:

The opportunity to sample the wines of 587 growers was a unique three-day experience. Sometimes wine writers and other professionals forget consumers seldom get the opportunity so sample so many great wines. I went to the Millesime Bio on a press trip open minded but not knowing what to expect. While a certain number of wines were certainly sub-par and undistinguished, the vast majority were great wines. No consumer, nor few experts, would have any idea these are organic wines or feature substantially lower sulfite levels. Additionally, the Languedoc wines are generally great values.

Most of the labels mentioned below are imported to the U.S., but not all. Most of the sites have an “English option” but not all. A few of the best labels I tasted and consumers might seek out include: 

Joly

DomaineHYPERLINK “http://www.domainevirgilejoly.com/en/” HYPERLINK “http://www.domainevirgilejoly.com/en/”Joly – The wines of Virgile Joly were the most consistent I tasted. He is a rising star in the Languedoc and is a great spokesman for organic wines. For my palate, Joly’s 2011 Grenache Blanc was the top Languedoc white blend of the show. 

DomaineHYPERLINK “http://www.domaine.carlecourty.sitew.com/Fiche_Technique_de_nos_vins.G.htm” Carle HYPERLINK “http://www.domaine.carlecourty.sitew.com/Fiche_Technique_de_nos_vins.G.htm”Courty – Frederic Carle’s Cuvee Marion, named after his daughter, was the best red blend. It was a beautiful combination of 70 percent Syrah, 10 percent Grenache Noir, 10 Carignan, and 10 percent Mourvedre.

Cabanis

DomaineHYPERLINK “http://www.domainecabanis.com/domainecabanis_en.htm” HYPERLINK “http://www.domainecabanis.com/domainecabanis_en.htm”Cabanis – Jean Paul Cabanis poured his wines one evening at dinner. His property dates back to 1932, not old in Southern France but with a delightful history. He produces three reds, two whites and a Rose’.

Chateau de HYPERLINK “http://www.domainecabanis.com/domainecabanis_en.htm”Cazeneuve – The wines from this beautiful Chateau setting, near Montpellier, are more rustic than many I tasted and at a slightly higher price point. Andre Leenhardt’s 100 percent 2008 Mouvredre was a fabulous bottle of wine at 35 Euro.
Bojanowski

Clos Du HYPERLINK “http://www.closdugravillas.com/”Gravillas – John Bojanowski, a Louisville native, and his wife Nicole are championing Carignan at his St, Jean de Minervois region winery. He does a 100 percent bottling of the Southern France grape that is a knock out. 

A few more options include: Mas Janiny, wines from Terroirs Vivants, Mas Laval, Italys’ Perlage label, Chateau. Bonnet, and two more from Italy – Casina Di Cornia and Antica Enotria.

Send comment or questions to: hewitthoward@gmail.com

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