Domaine Pignier is a very long-established family estate in the village of Montaigu, in the Côtes du Jura appellation, located 40 kilometres south of Arbois. In fact, the history of the domaine dates back to the 13th century when Carthusian monks settled in the village, perched on its rocky peak and bordered by two gorges. They built a magnificent Gothic vaulted cellar and began to make wine. During the French revolution, the monks fled into exile in Italy, and in 1794 the Pignier family took possession of the estate. 

Today, brothers and sisters, Jean-Etienne, Antoine, and Marie-Florence Pignier are the 7th generation crafting wines at the domaine. Being the only wine growers in the village of Montaigu, the siblings are very fortunate. Their vines planted on slopes have been farmed organically, while preserving the numerous wild yeasts in the environment. The area avails of a specific micro-climate created by canyons at the foothills of the Jura Mountains, and the biodiversity is buoyant by virtue of the considerable diversity of the fauna and flora.

Blessed with such an unspoiled environment, the Pignier family slowly converted their vineyards to biodynamic farming, and since 2003, the entire 15-hectare estate is certified. They are working alongside nature while invigorating the soil and enhancing the development of their healthy and deep-rooted vines. They spray their vines with herbal tea preparations made from wild herbs that they harvest and dry themselves, using the rainwater collected by large underground cisterns. The intensive and unremitting vineyard work ensures healthy grapes, which are hand-picked.

There is no need for excessive intervention in the cellar where tasks are duly carried out following the lunar calendar, combining traditions honed by their ancestors and modern techniques. The wines age in many different types of vessels, including barrels, demi-muids, amphoras and concrete eggs, set out in the 700 year-old cellar.

Jean-Etienne, Antoine and Marie-Florence Pignier are perpetuating their family’s tradition and together they produce a wide array of stylistically distinctive wines with one common thread: purity.

We had the pleasure of meeting Jean-Etienne, who is an immensely passionate and happy individual. His radiant face is almost reflected in the very singular wines which he and his siblings produce, respecting the ancient traditions from Jura, while innovating and experimenting.

Profile © Françoise and Seán Gilley

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