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Leon Millot (aka. Kuhlmann 194.2)
Léon Millot (Kuhlmann 194-2) is an early-ripening black grape produced from (North American) (riparia X rupestris) X Goldriesling (Vinifera ) This is a similar cross to Maréchal Foch Kuhlmann 188-20. The cross origin information is from our tattered copy of Special report #22 A, April, 1976, 1958-1973 Vineyard and Cellar Notes from the NYS Ag Experiment Station, Geneva, NY. We call it the red book and it had better not get lost!
Earlier in the 20th century, Leon Millot became a relatively important hybrid in northern French regions such as Alsace, where its ability to deepen the pale color of varieties like Pinot Noir was seen as a virtue. Today, its use has all but been legislated out of existence in French vineyards, following the introduction of AOC regulations in the 1930s.
Leon Millot is a favorite for many of our winemakers to ferment on the skins. Some winemakers use Lalvin 71B-1122 for a more fruity finish, others use Lalvin RC 212. The wines are similar to Foch with distinct berry aromas. Leon Millot typically produces structured Burgundy-like red wines with rich deep color and round approachable tannins. It ripens with a nice sugar and moderate acid. The early ripening allows for extra time on the vine, if necessary for both Foch and Leon Millot.
Vine characteristics tend to be similar as well, although Léon Millot is usually more vigorous and productive. Our Leon Millot is on a high wire cordon training system. Tom recommends that they be grafted vines for larger, more productive vines. Any replacement vines we put in are grafted. Leon Millot’s ability to ripen early in short growing seasons keeps it commercially important to wineries in our cool climate area inclusive of Michigan, Ohio, NY and along the Atlantic seaboard as far north as Nova Scotia. It ripens about a week earlier than Foch.
It is also a favorite of birds and deer. In our experience, Leon Millot has been quite winter hardy. The grape clusters are small, very compact and frequently winged. The cultivar is susceptible to powdery mildew and various bunch rots, including Botrytis and sour rot - one must pay attention to the weather and keep the variety protected with a moderate spray program. This is truly an area where ..."an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure"...


May Your Wines Fall Bright!