About Jose Michel
“The two great exceptions that prove the rule about the maturing potential of Pinot Meunier are Krug and José Michel.” – Richard Juhlin, 2000 Champagnes
José Michel has achieved cult-like status as the ‘King of Pinot Meunier’. This family estate began in 1847 and remains under the direction of fourth generation, José Michel. Located just 7km south-west of Epernay in the little village of Moussy, José has 10 hectares of vines spread across Moussy, Pierry, Brugny, Brasles and St Agnan.
Moussy is perfect for Pinot Meunier and a little Pinot Noir whilst Pierry provides lovely minerality and flintiness for Pinot Meunier and some Chardonnay. Moussy and Pierry are just over the hill from the Côte des Blancs and have some nice minerality and purity in common. Pinot Meunier accounts for 50%, Chardonnay 40% and Pinot Noir 10%. Soils are limestone and marly clay. Michel’s wines are full and ample with great fruit character contributed by the Meunier. The average age of the vines is 30 years but some parcels reaching an impressive 50 years.
As the quality of the grapes is the most important and precious factor in the production of any fine wine. José Michel employ sustainable viticultural practices such as reasoned inputs, limitation of yields, and planting of cover crops between rows. Their cultivation methods incorporate the latest advances in vineyard management for better protection of the environment.
José is the recognised guru of Pinot Meunier production and has many old cuvées to prove it, but oddly he stopped producing a pure Meunier cuvée in the 1970s. Only until recently has he started to re-produce a pure Meunier cuvée. Pinot Meunier is the much maligned variety in the holy trilogy, partly because it cannot be labelled Grand Cru even if planted in a designated area. As it is a much hardier variety than Chardonnay or Pinot Noir it is often haphazardly planted in poor soils and frost-prone areas. However, when Pinot Meunier is planted in prestigious vineyard locations with sympathetic terroir and careful control of yields along with old vines… Something very special happens.
José Michel is one of the few estates in France to be certified by the Agriculture Ministry as Exploitation Viticole de Haute Valeur Environnementale, a term which identifies a maison that is committed to adopting initiatives that have a profound respect for the environment and the protection of biodiversity.
José Michel et Fils
14 Rue Prélot, 51530 Moussy
Tel: +33 9 67 10 04 6