on and off @Millésime + Salon des Vins de Loire

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Entrance to Millésime Bio@Montpellier

So Millésime Bio is over for another year. It is clearly a wine fair that is popular with both producers and visitors, with a strong pull to visitors from Northern Europe. Now 21 years old it continues to grow with more than 800 exhibitors, even though the organisers are trying to manage its expansion with some producers, who want to come, still on the waiting list. Wanting to keep a balance between the producers and visitors, so that it is worthwhile for both parties.    

As seems the case with all large fairs these days Millésime Bio attracts various Salons-Off. These are not at all problem, rather a benefit, if the events are held before the main fair but are more problematic if held in competition with Millésime Bio. The salons-off are rather like ivy growing on a tree – for a while they can co-exist but the ivy will eventually kill the tree. Given Millésime Bio’s expansion and being unable to accommodate all the producers, who want to come, this is not currently a problem.  

It is, however, an understandable concern and source of anger for some producers like Pierre Clavel exhibiting at Millésime Bio: ‘et le coup de gueule est contre les salons OFF qui vont tuer le salon principal’.    

Instead the Salons Off are probably more a concern for the Salon des Vin de Loire, whose health is less rude. Both Millésime Bio and the Salon des Vins de Loire attract a significant number of visitors from overseas. Should one of these Salons cease to be viable because of too much competition from competing events, you can be sure that people (or very few) won’t travel across the Atlantic or from Northern Europe to attend Les Affranchis or Le Vin de Mes Amis competing events with Millésime Bio. Neither will they travel to attend La Dive Bouteille or La Levée de la Loire, the organic Loire wine event held on the Monday – the first day of the Salon des Vins Loire.  

I have no wish to explore the intricacies of local politics but I remain amazed and disappointed that some solution over integrating the organic producers at La Levée de la Loire somewhere at the main Salon hasn’t been found. The result is bananas! There are producers who only go to the Levée held at Les Greniers de St Jean, some who are both the Levée and the Salon, and I presume some who are only at the Salon. Chaotic! Perhaps heads need to be banged together to work out a sensible arrangement.  

It is little wonder that the Salon des Vins de Loire has attracted some criticism recently: http://jimsloire.blogspot.fr/2014/01/2014-salon-des-vins-de-loire-why-one.html   http://www.thewinedoctor.com/blog/2014/01/back-to-the-loire/  

I attended one Millésimé Bio event: the Carignan conference (l’association Carignan Renaissance) led by fellow Cinq Michel Smith. The history of Carignan is a warning to not dismiss a grape variety as low quality. The official word at during the 1980s and 1990s was that Carignan was part of the Midi’s poor quality past and that its part in AC wines should be limited and its place taken by grapes like Syrah, which were going to ‘ameliorate’ the quality of the wines from the region.  

To get over the message press trips were organised, including some from the UK, and articles duly appeared condemning Carignan. Along with a bonus for pulling out old vines, numbers of parcels of old Carignan were pulled out. Fortunately just before it was too late people started to realise that old Carignan could be magnificent and more recently younger Carignan could be good too if the yields were kept low.  

Carignan is particularly well adapted to resisting the fierce wind – the Tramontane – that blows in parts of Languedoc and the Roussillon whereas Syrah is decidedly fragile in high winds.  

At Montpellier three fifths of Les 5 met – Michel, Marc and myself, while it will again be three fifths at the Salon des Vins de Loire with David replacing Michel. Unfortunately young Hervé has missed both events with a stress fracture.  Santé

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Michel was suicidal over not being able to come to the Salon des Vins de Loire. Fortunately we managed to talk him out of it!

At Montpellier three fifths of Les 5 met – Michel, Marc and myself, while it will again be three fifths at the Salon des Vins de Loire with David replacing Michel. Unfortunately young Hervé has missed both events with a stress fracture.  Santé

Une réflexion sur “on and off @Millésime + Salon des Vins de Loire

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