Michel Gahier is a discreet man, and yet one of the most talented winemaker in Arbois! He takes advantage of an excellent terroir right next to his house where it is most suitable for growing Trousseau grapes. He produces superb cuvées of unmatchable Arbois from the autochthonous grape varieties of Jura. The Gahier family has been in Jura since 1525; Michel inherited his family’s vines, has been making wine since the 80’s and started under his own name in the 90’s. He farms 6 ha of vines, and states that this is the maximum he can manage on his own without using chemicals. He harvests and vinifies each parcel individually.
Michel lives in the centre of Montigny-lès-Arsures, one of the 13 communes that composite the Arbois AOC. The area is regarded as the finest terroir for the Trousseau grape in Jura. The Trousseau performs the best on red marl soils found on the lowest slopes near Arbois; the gravelly characteristics of the vineyards here give the additional heat the vines need to rip into a deep purple colored and intensely flavoured red wine. His delicate, racy and yet structured reds can age for several decades and continue to improve!
In the cellar, the wines undergo a classic fermentation and aging process: a minimum of 10 months in barrel and occasionally aged in the bottle before they are released. His sulphur regime is reasonable, some wines will receive a few grams and nothing in others (especially the reds). For his white wine vinifications, Michel mainly works with Chardonnay in either the “ouillé” or “sous-voile” styles. “Sous-voile” wine has a characteristic yellow color, and with age it becomes oxidized and strong in nutty flavors. Beyond micro parcels of local grapes (Poulsard, Pinot Noir) and a confidential Vin Jaune (Savagnin) he also grows Melon à Queue Rouge, a local red-streaked mutation of Chardonnay.
It is truly amazing that the wines by Michel express purity and intense concentration, while keeping a delightful freshness and elegance over many years. To drink immediately or “try” aging them in the cellar…the wait is definitely worth it!