Domaine Michel Guignier – Vauxrenard.
‘The colour of the earth has changed’. The Domaine is located in Vauxrenard, remarkable site on the foothills of Massif Central. Michel Guignier, heir of four generations of wine-growers, operates 14 acres of vineyard under organic agriculture since 2000, on Crus Fleurie, Moulin-à-Vent and Appellation Beaujolais Village.
Let us remember that in 2000, in Beaujolais, only 4 Domaines were organically grown. The sadly famous ‘Round Up’ (name given by Monsanto to his herbicide) was still generously spread almost the entire French vineyard. Only at the end of the 90’s has it been possible to fully measure its toxicity. This is when Michel Guignier decides to make a radical change in his cultural methods. Not only does he proscribe herbicides, but all sorts of synthetic pesticides and fungicides. He considers out of question to put his and his clients’ health at risk. Advised by his friend and mentor Christian Ducroux, Michel goes a step further and adopts Biodynamics principles to give strength to the vines and the organic life of the soils. He also chooses to take help from a horse, fitter than a man on this hillside and densely planted vine. To the eyes of Michel Guignier, nothing is more precious than the sanitary conditions of his vineyard. It is obvious – and a pleasure – to see. If one day you take the time to pay him a visit, you must know that he will not let you taste his wine without being assured that you understand his philosophy. His wines are just ‘pur jus’, that is without additives during vinification of course, but first of all without added sulfites. The stabilizing and antioxydant qualities of SO2 are well-known, less-known are its flaws: adjunction of ‘sulphur’ acts as a form of ‘sterilization’ of the wine. As with everything else it is a question of proportion, but one thing is clear, wines even marginally added with sulfites will never be, in gustative terms, as lively and thrilling. To produce wines without any sulphur at all is only possible if the harvesting of ripe grapes takes place in a vineyard in perfect sanitary state.
This is the price to pays for the extra spark and Michel Guignier will never go backwards. His wines are living wines, therefore they may be a little closed. This is no good reason to condemn them, let them slowly warm-up, and aerate them for a while.
This may seem strange at first, but trust me it is a unique experience and once you will have tasted them at their peak form, your scale of values will never be the same.
These wines must be kept at a temperature inferior to 14° C
La Bonne Pioche 2011
Beaujolais Village; Gamay; granitic subsoil, serve at 12° C. Floral aromas, very thin tannins, harmonious.