Grape(s): Pinot Noir
Localization: Burgundy, France
Tasting Notes: The south-facing slopes allow for intense ripening and make for a distinct pinot noir with dark berry and earth notes, which in combination with the 18months of oak aging, makes for what we feel to be a classic Pommard. Wines from Les Vignots are know for their elegance and aromatics. The tannins are more approachable at an early stage and the complex flavors between theminerality, red fruits and oak aging will allow this wine to age 10-12 years.
Notes: This is a special site located in a better known parcel in Pommard, which many claim to be of Premier Cru quality. The name “Vignots” is an old colloquial blend of vigne (vine) and hauts (high).
The grapes are brought to the winery where the fruit is cold-soaked for 48 hours, 80% being whole cluster. The tanks are allowed to warm up naturally, slowly beginning the process of fermentation. The wine undergoes pump-overs once a day and piégeage, or punch-downs, twice a day. All of our wines undergo a traditional non-inoculated natural fermentation. The wine is then pressed, post-fermentation, and aged in French oak, 50% new French oak, for 18 months.
The Domain: In 1990 Michael moved to France, where he enrolled in the Lycée Viticole de Beaune in Burgundy to study oenology and viticulture.
Here he was privileged to study under the guidance of Burgundy's noted professors and winemakers, working two vintages at the esteemed Maison Chartron et Trebuchet in Puligny Montrachet.
In 1995 Michael moved to Virginia to work at Jefferson Vineyards as head winemaker and general manager, where he quickly accumulated numerous awards and acquired a reputation as one of Virginia’s up-and-coming winemakers.
After six vintages Michael ventured out on his own and began producing wine under the now highly regarded “Michael Shaps” label. He initially partnered with King Family Vineyards, where he helped launch their brand as well as his own.
In 2004 he partnered with his old mentor and head winemaker at Maison Chartron et Trebuchet and together they opened a winery and rental house in Meursault, France, one of Burgundy’s most renowned winemaking villages.
Maison Shaps—now named solely after Michael, as he bought out his partner in 2012—is a garage-ist style winery, focusing on small vineyard lots from some of Burgundy’s most famous vineyard sites.
After seven vintages at King Family, Michael found a new home for his brand when he and a partner opened Virginia Wineworks in 2007. This multi-faceted operation is both the home of the Michael Shaps brand and Virginia’s first and largest contract winemaking operation, more commonly known as custom crush. In 2014 Michael bought out his partner and with investors expanded Wineworks into an operation that approaches 50,000 cases of annual wine production, including over a dozen contract winemaking clients. The winery is now marketed as Michael Shaps Wineworks and is growing exponentially.
Today Maison Shaps owns three hectares in the Cote de Beaune (Volnay, Pommard, Maison Dieu and Bourgogne Cote d’Or) and is managed by Michael’s daughter Hanna.