The estate of José Michel & Fils was founded long ago, in 1847, making them one of the oldest winegrowing families in the region. Today, the domain remains in the family under the stewardship of fourth generation owner, José. Located in Moussy (south-west of Epernay, just past Pierry) there are ten hectares of estate owed vines largely planted with meunier, most of which are over thirty years old and some more than fifty.

José’s passion for meunier brought some recognition to the underrated grape variety during the latter part of the last century whilst elevating the grower to near cult-like status amongst meunier admirers. When discussing meunier’s potential conscientiously grown on correct, suitable vineyard sites, a leading champagne critic, Richard Juhlin, says that “…the two great exceptions that prove the rile about the maturing potential of meunier are Krug and José Michel.” Some endorsement.

When I visited José a few years back, I was invited to choose a bottle to disgorge and taste. I mistakenly (and embarrassingly) chose a straight meunier from 1955, but José didn’t mind. 60 years on, the bottle remained convincingly fresh, defying time, demonstrating meunier’s incredible ability to age. José also makes some great fragrant pinot noir that is rich and balanced as well as chardonnay blends.

TRY | Pinot Meunier NV

This fine example of meunier magic is typical of José’s style. Fruit comes exclusively from Moussy (a village considered one of the more premium sites for the variety) where vines are grown organically. The wine shows meunier in a more pure state with loads of spice, some floral citrus and ginger as well as exotic fruits. A great example of champagne with meunier personality. Dosage is kept to less than a few grams.

Read the full story in ISSUE NO. 1 of VINE & BUBBLE Magazine.

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WORDS  | Cam O’Keefe

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