Michel Gahier – Perfect Jura Wines

Michel Gahier – Perfect wines

Michel Gahier lives in the centre of the village of Montigny-les-Arsures which lies near the central town of Arbois. The reason this is significant is that Montigny is regarded as the finest terroir for the Trousseau grape in the Jura.

Gahier_cave Montigny
The entrance to Michel’s cave

When we first tasted his wines we were very excited by their purity and their minerality. Michel is a quiet but talented vigneron who tends his vines meticulously and watches carefully over his wines as they are maturing. He likes to make his wine using the traditional techniques of the Jura.

Michel Gahier inspects his vines

85 year old Trousseau vines

Michel tends 6 hectares of vines of which 3 hectares are given over to Trousseau and the remainder is split between Chardonnay and Savagnin.

To see which wines we have available from Michel Gahier click on this link: “Buy Natural Wines“.

You can also read a brief summary of the Jura region here.

Michel Gahier Arbois Trousseau Grands Vergers 2022

The vines for this wine from Michel Gahier are even older than those used for the La Vigne du Louis having been planted over 80 years ago. The wine is named after the lieu dit (parcel of land) where the vines grow. Here the gentle slopes are fully exposed to the sun allowing the grapes to ripen perfectly. The marl in which the vines thrive add minerality to the wine.

This is a very, very good example of a Trousseau wine having the delicacy that we associate with this fragile grape but also an extraordinary depth of flavour and a complexity that is intriguing.

There are tannins present giving it structure but they are not aggressive. The wine is lively on the nose, has deep, deep flavours (hints of cherry and raspberry at the front of the palate and forest floors in autumn in the middle) and it tastes alive. It has a lingering mineral aftertaste. This is a living wine! No sulphite is added.

Sophie from Chambers Street Wines in New York recently wrote:

Gahier’s Trousseau “Grands Vergers” is from a parcel of low-yielding 60-70 year old vines adjacent to Puffeney’s “Berangeres” vineyard. Mineral driven and a true vin de garde, this wine is raised in old barrels and will make a superb addition to your cellar.


Michel Gahier Arbois Trousseau Le Clousot 2022

Le Clousot from Michel Gahier is a Trousseau that is lighter than the Grands Vergers, it is a paler colour but has a vibrant freshness and hints of smokiness.

The 2020 is incredibly vibrant and exciting and represents a leap forward for this already amazing winemaker.

It is made in exactly the same way as the Grands Vergers but the fruit is sourced from the youngest vines that Michel owns.

Younger vines usually produce lighter wine styles of less complexity than older vines, but wines that are pleasant drinking nevertheless.

It has good structure, very good length and is quite juicy – hence is very drinkable. The ‘young’ vines are twenty years old and lie on a south west facing slope.


Michel Gahier Arbois Trousseau Le Vigne du Louis 2022

Le Vigne du Louis is a Trousseau that is lighter than Michel Gahier’s Grands Vergers and Le Clousot, it is a paler colour but has a vibrant freshness and hints of smokiness.

It is made in exactly the same way as the Grands Vergers but the fruit is sourced from younger vines.

Younger vines usually produce lighter wine styles of less complexity than older vines, but wines that are pleasant drinking nevertheless.

A small amount of sulphite was added to this wine when it was bottled.

It has good structure, very good length and is quite juicy – hence is very drinkable.

The ‘young’ vines are approaching thirty years old and lie on a south west facing slope.

This vintage you can detect a fuller, supple velvety character emerging in the wine which is very appealing.


Michel Gahier Vin de France Rouge de Max 2022

Rouge du Max is a new wine for Michel Gahier made from vines that were previously owned by his brother who died recently.

Michel was helped in the making of this wine by his nephew whose name is Max.

The parcel of land where the vines grow is only .25 hectares and grows 1% Mondeuse and 9% Pinot Noir with the rest being the inevitable Trousseau for the area around Cramans which is only a short drive from Michel’s place which is in the very centre of Trousseau country.

The soil around Cramans is light with lots of pebbles.

The wine was matured in foudre which Michel Gahier uses for all of his red wines.


Michel Gahier Arbois Chardonnay Les Follasses B 2020

The grapes for the Les Follasses, which benefit from white marl soils in the vineyard are manually harvested and sorted prior to pressing.

The wine is made in the ‘ouillé’ style where the barrels are topped up during maturation so that the wine does not oxidise in the barrel. No sulphites are added to this wine at any stage.

This is a fresh, lively Chardonnay that is typical of this style of wine from the Jura with just a hint of those oxidative qualities that Jura aficionados just can’t get enough of.

This wine has been 12.5% alcohol ever since we started importing it. This year it has crept up to 13% due to the higher temperatures being experienced due to the added carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and methane in the atmosphere.

The Les Follasses vineyard is divided into two parts. The top block has the vines running north to south and the bottom block has the vines running east west. This year, Michel Gahier made two separate cuvees, one for the A plot and a different one from the B plot. The Follasses A (which is this release) has white marl soils and Follasses B has a melange of white and red marl.

As you can see, this vintage we have been sent the Follasses B wine which is already showing a very interesting complexity and vivacity.


Michel Gahier Arbois Chardonnay Lou Blanc 2022

The grapes for the Lou Blanc cuvée, which benefit from limestone and clay soils in the vineyard, are manually harvested and sorted prior to pressing.

The wine is made in the ‘ouillé’ style where the barrels are topped up during maturation so that the wine does not oxidise as much in the barrel because there is no “head space” of oxygen in the barrel.

This winemaking approach ensures that the resultant wine is fresh and lively with the typical Jura taste of topped-up old-style Jura Chardonnay. There is a lot of debate about whether specific white grapes in the Jura are Chardonnay or the variety known at Melon à Queue Rouge (which Michel also has – he make his amazing La Fauquette using this variety).

However, we believe that this wine is made from his Chardonnay grapes which creates a wine which is quite different from those in Burgundy which is only an hour away. The reason is that the Chardonnay vines have been in the Jura for around 450 years where the weather and the soil are completely different to Burgundy.

This wine has been allowed to oxidise slightly and this shows through, nicely leading to a wine of considerable complexity and depth.

For those of you who have tried La Fauquette in the past you will know how complex it is. This one has not had the same length of time to evolve and is made for earlier drinking, but it is still a very interesting wine!


Michel Gahier Arbois Chardonnay Les Crêts 2020

Les Crêts is a small hill with very good terroir. In 2019 it was a very good vintage and Michel Gahier made the decision not to add any sulphites to this delicious wine. He left it in the foudre for two years to gain added complexity.

The grapes for this wine are also manually harvested and matured in old wood so that the wine can ‘breath’ but so that no new oak flavour dominates the wine.

There is the trademark oxidative quality to this wine which provides a nutty spiciness and umami flavour that makes you want to sip more and more of it. This is Jura Chardonnay at its best!

There are honey and pear and almond flavours in abundance and a long, lingering minerality that reflects the amazing terroir of the area around Michel’s village.

This wine has a lovely mouth feel. Only 13% alcohol.


Michel Gahier Arbois Melon La Fauquette 2018

This is one of our favourite Jura wines. The grapes are sourced from the La Fauquette vineyard close to Michel’s house. This is a ‘sous voile’ wine made from the mutant grape found only in the Jura called Melon à Queue Rouge.

As the name implies, this grape variety is distinctive because the grape has a “red tail” (where the grape bunches connect to the stem). It is likely that this variety is a mutant of Chardonnay and is much beloved by Jura producers despite the difficulty in tending the vines.

The 400 litre barrel in which it matures is not topped up as with the other two white cuvées. Instead, as the wine evaporates through the pores of the barrel a thin veil (voile) of yeast forms on the surface of the wine and this protects the wine from excessive oxidation. The oxygen that does penetrate the veil causes it to develop an exciting nutty spiciness that is incredibly appealing.

Basically, the technique that Michel uses is the same as that which is used in the Jura for making the revered Vin Jaune, however that wine must be made from Savagnin not Melon.

Chambers Street Wines in New York rave about this wine and call it ‘mellow, pretty, exquisitely balanced and very delicious’.  It makes this wine a perfect accompaniment to the great cheeses of the region especially the famous aged Comté.

This wine is now 6 years old but is still as fresh as the day it was bottled and will last for many years to come despite having had no sulphites added at any time. It is drinking beautifully now despite the 13.5% alcohol which is not at all evident.


Michel Gahier Arbois Vin Jaune 2015


Vin Jaune is probably the rarest and most sought after wine of the Jura region. There is just not enough of it made.

It takes a long time for it to be ready (by law it has to age in wooden barrels for a minimum of six years and three months). While it is aging much of the volume evaporates leaving only small quantities to bottle. The wine must be aged ‘sous voile’ so the barrels cannot be topped up.

This wine has all the characteristics of a great Jura Vin Jaune. It is nutty and spicy and quite compelling to drink. The finish is incredibly long and lingering.

It is a lighter style than others we have tried and hence more nuanced and more delicate. We like to call such a wine a ‘contemplative wine’ because you need to drink it slowly and think about it a lot.


Michel Gahier Macvin du Jura

This is a strange appellation because it references a wine type as well as an area.

This is a wine that is made from unfermented grape juice (from Chardonnay grapes) and wine must which has been boiled to reduce the volume by 50%. 

The wine is then fortified with a marc which has been made on the premises to gain an alcohol level between 16% to 22% which is required for acceptance by the appellation.

The resulting wine must then be aged in old oak barrels for at least a year before being released. The wine can be red, white or rosé depending on the grapes used.


Michel Gahier Crémant du Jura 2016


This sparkling wine is made in the Champagne style, hence qualifying for the appellation of Crémant du Jura. It is a wonderful wine with great complexity which is why we love the Crémants from all regions of France outside Champagne.

The wine is made from 100% Chardonnay, a grape that Michel has a particular affinity for. This wine has fine bubbles, some yeast, a lively fruit flavour and a good, long finish. It has an alcohol level of 11%.

This wine was disgorged in May 2016 meaning that it had been resting on lees for almost two years. This is an excellent price for a sparkling wine of this quality.


Michel Gahier Montibulles NV

Gahier Montibulles

Michel Gahier is well known for his fresh, non-oxidative whites, his oxidative whites and his pure, clean Trousseau reds, especially those from his ninety year old Grands Vergers vineyard.

However, over the past decade or more we have also been great fans of his sparkling wines, especially his Crémant du Jura made from Chardonnay (which is more likely to be the exciting Melon à Queue Rouge variety which is a variant of Chardonnay).

This year we have been able to secure some bottles of a wine which does not fit the appellation and hence has been labelled as a Vin de France. This is because there are appellation rules relating to many aspects of the making of the Crémant du Jura sparkling wines and Michel broke one of the rules.

He bottled the wine (for making the secondary fermentation) earlier than the appellation’s decree date, therefore he couldn’t use Crémant du Jura on the label.

Nevertheless the resultant wine has turned out to have very fine bubbles, a very deep flavour, an appealing saltiness along with a hint of sweetness without in any way being a sweet wine. This is a truly superb sparkling wine made by a serious winemaker.