History of Leon Millet
This grape developed in France is a little hybrid vine having the same parentage as the other well-known sibling of this grape, the Marechal Foch Léon Millot, sometimes also referred to as Foster’s Leon or Leon Millot Rouge and is referred to by other names to help it get distinguished from other grape varieties like Leon Millot Noir or Wagner’s Leon which bears a resembling name.
This grape, created in 1911 was developed at the Oberlin Institute in the Colmar, Alsace area by the, famous French viticulturist Eugene Kuhlmann by crossing Millardetet Grasset 101-14 O.P. with Goldriesling, the hybrid from North America. Millardetet Grasset is a Vitisriparia × Vitisrupestris and Goldriesling is a Vitisvinifera.
This variety in fact derived its name from the tree nursery owner and the winemaker Mr. Leon Millot. And similar to its sibling, this grape even also shares the cold resistance offered byMarchal Foch, though is much more productive.
Regions where Leon Millet is grown
Leon Millot is widely grown in the United States and Canada. It is also to a lesser extent grown in the states of Switzerland and Alsace.
The quality of the grape grown in Switzerland is excellent, though it just occupies around 9.35 hectares or 23.1 acres of land.
Characteristics of Leon Millot Grape
Leon Millot is an early ripening grape variety having a blue skin, fair vigour and offering a high resistance against the fungal infections and diseases.
It is therefore best suited when the grapes are cultivated in the cooler climates. This grape grows in the form of small berries in small clusters of 0.2 lbs/ cluster, perhaps explaining the reason why it is time consuming to harvest the berries.
The common flavours and aromas of the grape include earthy, barny, purple fruits, woody notes and chocolate.
Winemaking process for Leon Millot
Some winemakers think that if the skin is left too much in the wine, it might develop an unwanted that if left on the skins too long, Leon Millot can develop an unwanted herbaceous note due to its Vitisriparia background.
Also, this grape has high malic acid content and hence malolactic fermentation might be necessary for this grape.
This grape, being low in tannin content, addition of tannins during fermentation might prove useful as far as maintaining tannicity is concerned along with maintaining the colour.
In fact, if this grape remains at a higher pH level for too long, its deep, vivid purplish color might change to brick red.
Characteristics of Leon Millet wine
This grape produces a wine with a bright and a high degree of colour, provided the pH is maintained right and hence is used as a blending component in light coloured wines like the Pinot Noir.
While the garnet colour is characteristic and valued, Leon Millet blends really well with Pinot Noir to such an extent that the quality of Pinot Noir remains not affected.
In fact, in Alsace, Leon Millot is known the wine doctor (le medicin du vin) thanks to its ability to add bright colours to the otherwise pale Pinot Noir.
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