Champagne Jose Michel

Côtes d’Epernay
11 hectares

 

José Michel has somewhat of a cult following for his Champagnes. This “Maison de Tradition” began in 1847 and five generations later the Michels still carry forward a wonderfully artisanal sensibility to their craft. They are located in Moussy, a small village just south of Epernay. The 11 hectares of vineyards are spread throughout three villages along the Cotes D’Epernay. The upper vineyards on the summit of the hills have more clay in the soil and are planted to Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. The middle and lower vineyards on the slopes have a calcareous soil are planted to Chardonnay. José Michel was the first in his family to plant Chardonnay which he did beginning in 1958. Fermentations are carried out in old oak casks or enameled steel vats. The wines undergo a malolactic fermentation and the dosage “liqueur d’expedition” is minimal.

Brut NV

The non-vintage Brut is a blend in which the 70% Pinot Meunier forms the base and 30% Chardonnay adds complexity and finesse. In addition to the base vintage (typically 2 years old), the NV Brut benefits from being blended with reserve wines that are often 4 or 5 years old. The champagne is typically 2+ years “sur lattes” and carries a dosage of 9 grams.

Blanc de Blancs Vintage

The Blanc de Blancs is produced in the best vintages. It is made from Chardonnay grown in several of Michel’s best plots that are in and around Moussy. The wine is fermented in stainless steel with an extended period “sur lie”. After the secondary fermentation it rests “sur lattes” for 5 years allowing the Chardonnay qualities to broaden and mature. Dosage is 9 grams. It is a wine of impeccable character, showing both nobility and restraint. It is worthy of cellaring for at least a year after disgorgement.

Special Club Vintage

The Club de Viticulteurs is a group of independent Champagne producers who have come together in order to promote the high quality of their work. The José Michel Special Club was chosen by this group as an ambassador of quality and given the right to use the Special Club label and antique bottle. The Special Club is a blend of 50% Pinot Meunier and 50% Chardonnay. The vines are all at least 70 years old and represent the oldest plants in the Michel vineyard. The champagne is disgorged according to demand and currently has six years on the lees “sur lattes” with dosage carrying just 7 grams.

“The two great exceptions that prove the rule about the maturing potential of Pinot Meunier are Krug and José Michel.”

 * Richard Juhlin, 2000 Champagnes