Johann Michel discovered his passion for wine whilst tasting older vintages with his grandfather, and uncle, the esteemed Cornas winemaker Robert Michel. Though Johann started his professional life working in clothes retail, he quickly realized that he was neither making the most of his talents nor carrying on the family tradition. His first vintage of his own label Cornas was 1997. The Domaine now extends to a modest 5 hectares, split across 15 parcels, including the prized Cornas lieux-dits: Bayonnet, Les Côtes, Le Combes, Chaillots, and Saveaux. In addition to a straight, mostly-destemmed Cornas, Michel produces Cornas ‘Jana’; a whole-bunch blend of the best sites, released a year later, and a delicious St Peray (1ha) from equal parts Marsanne and Roussanne.
In particularly good years a Cornas cuvee “Mere Michel” (produced exclusively from Serine clones in new oak) and a “St Peray M” (pure Marsanne) are produced. All the vineyards are farmed responsibly with a wide range of organic treatments. In the cellar, a traditional preference for large format old oak produces wines which smoulder and crackle with the best of them. His total annual production amounts only to 20,000 bottles per year. This is honest, artisanal Northern Rhone winemaking at its best.