Domaine Lignier-Michelot has been part of the landscape of Morey St. Denis since early in the twentieth century, but like so many of its neighbors throughout the Côte d’Or, during most of that time the domaine was content to sell off its entire production to négociants. The current head of this fine eight hectare domaine, Virgile Lignier, who joined his father Maurice at the domaine in 1992, is the fourth generation to run the family property, and was instrumental in the family beginning to offer their wines for sale in bottles. Not coincidentally, 1992 was the first year that Domaine Lignier-Michelot began to estate bottle their wines and sell them directly. In the late 1990s Virgile succeeded his father as head of the domaine, with 2000 being the first vintage that he vinified completely on his own. Lignier-Michelot has holdings in Chambolle-Musigny and Gevrey-Chambertin at the villages level, a Morey St. Denis “Rue de Vergy” (also AC) and a bevy of top-notch Morey premier crus including parcels in the vineyards of Aux Charmes, Chenevery and Façonnières. Their fine lineup is rounded out by a parcel of vines in the grand cru of Clos de la Roche, bringing the domaine’s production to approximately one thousand cases per year.
Virgile Lignier is meticulous in the vineyards, where he routinely prunes aggressively to limit yields, and seeks to be as natural as possible when confronting viticultural challenges in the vineyard. His goal is that which was often stated by Henri Jayer: to produce the finest fruit possible from which to work with so that the wine can make itself as much as possible. He completely de-stems the grapes and allows the cool must to macerate for five or six days prior to the onset of fermentation (again, à la Monsieur Jayer). The wines are then aged in varying percentages of new oak for a year to fifteen months (village wines see about twenty percent new wood, premier crus about one-third, and the Clos de la Roche is raised in anywhere from eighty to one hundred percent new oak, depending on the quality of the vintage), racked into tank for another three months to allow the wines to fall brilliant, and are bottled unfined and unfiltered.