Appellation(s): AC Beaujolais; AC Morgon; AC Macon-Villages
Producer: Michel Guignier
Annual Production: 2000 cases
Farming: Organic & Biodynamic
Vineyard Area Owned: 6.90 ha
Domaine Michel Guignier
The traditional production of wines from the Beaujolais region of Burgundy were, for a long time, based on the intention of making wines that could get to market very quickly. The more grapes that were sold to the local cooperative, the family could increase their sales. This all changed in 1981 when the writing of Jules Chauvet, a spiritual godfather of natural wine production influenced the local vignerons Guy Breton, Jean-Paul Thévenet, Jean Foillard & Marcel Lapierre. It was then that this “Group of Four” as dubbed by American wine importer Kermit Lynch, heeded Chauvet’s writings by eskewing chemical fertilizers and pesticides and a return to the old practices of viticulture and vinification.
Michel Guignier is the fourth generation of Guigniers to farm the family vineyards in Morgon & Beaujolais. He is the first to work in the natural method, however. Utlizing the old gamay vines, some of which are over seventy years old, Michel works with no herbicides or pesticides, harvesting late, rigorously sorting to remove only the healthiest grapes, adding minimal doses of sulfur dioxide-or none at all and disdaining chaptalization.
The methods are just as cutting edge as they are traditional; and a different stream than the mass-produced majority of Beaujolais on the market. Decomposed granite comprises most of Michel’s 6.9 hectares and the vines are an average age of 45 years old. Grapes are picked at the last possible moment to obtain the ripest fruit, which is a trademark of the estate style. The Lapierres age their wines on fine lees for at least nine months in oak foudres and fûts ranging from three to thirteen years old.
“He's got a problem with his poisons
But you know he’ll find a cure
He's cleaning up his systems
to keep his nature pure ”
- Neil Peart, 1982
VITICULTURE & VINFICATION
- Old Vines with naturally low yields
- Organic Farming used to stimulate the natural immune system of the vine
- Manually harvested, as late as possible to achieve physiological ripeness
- Rigorous sorting of the grapes
- Indigenous yeasts only
- Wholecluster fermentation a l’ancienne ,(inspired by Jules Chauvet) maintained at low temperatures, lasting between 7-20 days
- Wines aged on fine lees in old Burgundy barrels (from 3rd to 10 years of age) “Elévage Sur Lees” !
- Bio Vitis is Certified Organic
- Canon is bottled unfiltered and with no S02