Robert Michel, along with Auguste Clape, has longbeen seen as the doyen of the Cornas village and it was a genuinely sad day when he announced his retirement following the 2006 vintage. Fortunately the good work looks set to continue as his nephew Vincent Paris takes control. Robert Michel has been the 9th generation of Michels to produce wine in Cornas. His estate has 7 hectares of vines situated on steeply terraced hillsides and has cellars bang in the middle of the village. The vines have an average age of 40+ years, although the grapes that go to make his single vineyard selection, La Geynale, are from vines planted in 1910. Robert Michel's estate produces two other cuvées; Pied-de-Coteau, from the vines nearest the village on the flat and from somewhat heavier alluvial soils, and Coteau, from small plots on this vertiginous slope
The winemaking is traditional with few concessions to modern fads such as destalking and the use of new oak barriques in the elevage. The grapes are fermented in concrete vats and then aged in used oak barrels for 18-20 months. Robert Michel does not believe in filtration but fines his wines lightly with egg whites, prior to bottling. These are big, massively structured, muscular wines that require a minimum 5 years bottle ageing. They are not for the faint hearted.