Louis Michel are known for a pure, crystalline style of Chablis from fermentation uniquely in stainless steel, with no oak barrels. It was founded in 1850, and the recent managers of the estate have been Jean-Loup Michel who began in 1968. He was joined by his nephew Guillaume Gicqueau-Michel in 2007 who has helped bolster the management of the domaine and he has brought some new ideas, such as the switch to natural yeasts from the 2008 vintage. Eight people now work full time at the domaine.
The domaine extends to 25ha, comprising Petit Chablis, Chablis and premiers crus Vaillons, Montmains, Butteaux, Séchets, Forêts, Fouchaume, Vaulorent and a big holding of Montée de Tonnerre, 4.30ha. Grands crus include Vaudésir, Grenouilles and Les Clos. The Petit Chablis and Chablis are machine harvested, but the premiers and grands crus are harvested by hand.
The wines are fermented and then held on lees to develop aroma and flavour. There is enough tank space to hold two harvests, so bottling is never rushed. The wines are fined if necessary but not cold stabilised, so some small tartrate crystals can form in the bottles, which are harmless.
The Petit Chablis is very well sited, coming from vines above the grands crus. There are two bottlings of the Butteaux, and the vieilles vignes one is quite superb. The Montée de Tonnerre vineyard, now about 40 years old, also produces a wonderful wine.
The label features the domaine buildings including a large round tower which is a pigeonnier or dovecote.