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Léon Millot is a red variety of hybrid grape used for wine. It was created in 1911 in the Oberlin Institute in Colmar, Alsace, by the French viticulturist Eugène Kuhlmann (1858–1932) by crossing the hybrid grape Millardet et Grasset 101-14 O.P. (which is Vitis riparia × Vitis rupestris) with Goldriesling, which is Vitis vinifera. The variety was named after the winemaker and nursery owner Léon Millot. Léon Millot ripens early, and has high resistance against fungal diseases. It is therefore suited for cultivation in colder climates. It makes a dark purple-red powerful wine that ages well.
Léon Millot is cultivated in small amounts in Switzerland (on 9.35 hectares (23.1 acres) in 2009), Alsace and Canada. In August 2011, a Leon Millot varietal wine produced by Keuka Lake Vineyards in the Finger Lakes region of New York State won the prize for “best red wine” in the “New York Wine and Food Classic,” sponsored by the New York Wine and Grape Foundation and open to all of New York’s 307 wineries.
This wine was grown at Casscles Vineyards in Athens, New York. The wine was made at Hudson-Chatham Winery, where it was aged in French oak for nine months. This small batch, artisanal wine was made by award-wining winemaker Steve Casscles. It’s handpicked, hand pressed, with no fining or filtering. The wine fermented for seven days, and was punched down by hand twice daily to achieve maximum extraction, and was gently pressed in a 100-year old oak press.
This big, inky dark purple-red wine gives off dark plum and blackberry, maybe a hint of cassis and a slight hint of vanilla. It drinks beautifully now, but will grow better with age.