Andrew Guard


The Domaine Chignard's 8 hectares of vines are situated right at the top of the hill bordering Moulin-à-Vent, on pure granitic soil inflected with the manganese found in Moulin-à-Vent. The ‘Moriers’ lieu-dit contains their oldest vines, some of which are over 60-years-old and all of which are free-standing in traditional ‘gobelet’ style. Vinification is divided between stainless steel, cement and large wooden tanks, all using the classic whole bunch method for the maximum extraction of fruit. The subtly differing cuvées are then blended early in the spring and allowed to harmonise over three to four months. This is a tiny estate, the entire operation takes place beneath their house—I counted just three small tanks and a row of 6 old barrels!

Chignard's Fleuries are unusually concentrated, intensely aromatic and have a depth of fruit and structure found in wines from this village no doubt due to the close proximity to Moulin-à-Vent. Their wines have found a strong following in France’s restaurants where they are praised for their ability to complement the finest food and setting, in fact 70% of all their sales are within France.

The fifth generation Michel Chignard was among the first producers (in the eighties) in this area to, through his meticulous work, put the Beaujolais region back on the map of fine wine drinkers. It's important to realise that you don't just need to have the right terroir (granitic and schistose soils well exposed on the hillsides) to produce good wine; it is also crucial to respect basic quality steps: hand cultivation of vines, respect for soils, control of yields, manual grape harvesting, sorting of grapes and traditional vinification. As ardent defenders of traditional Beaujolais methods, the Chignards take a minimalist approach in both the vineyards and the cellar. The finished wines couldn’t be more reflective of Les Moriers’ splendid location: light and playful, with deep, ripe fruit and finesse. La Revue du Vin de France claims that the aromas from their wines evoke memories of the great Chambolle-Musignys from Burgundy.

Michel’s son Cédric Chignard has been involved in the vinification process for the last few vintages, under the watchful eye of his father and is in the process of fully taking over the reins. This is one of the great sources of fine quality, family made Beaujolais and the Chignard’s create memorable wines that carry the scent of wild, sweet strawberries and taste lush and vivid with flavours of blueberries, black cherries and plums and attractive complexing notes of tobacco and pepper.


Written by Andrew Guard — June 23, 2012