Turning the Cornas



Early in 2007 the celebrated Rhône writer, John Livingstone Learmonth sent me (along with the rest of his address book) a petition to try and prevent what was described as ‘Le Cornas menacé par l’urbanisation’ .

Unbelievably the powers that be (or were) planned to build a 5 storey building slap bang in the middle of this tiny (100 hectares) and wonderful vineyard; for a long time it appeared that the scheme would go ahead. Finally, mercifully, the mayor has bowed to the power of the people and the project has finally been abandoned.

Thank the lord! The only cause for regret is that Robert Michel who has been supplying Berrys for many years, has announced his retirement.

The good news is that along with securing his last vintage (the 2006) which will be available for those who are interested in spring, his famous ‘Geynale’ Vineyard, perched magnificently over the village, has been sold to a syndicate, the members of which include his gifted nephew Vincent Paris, and none other than John Livingstone Learmonth himself.

Their work will be cut out, of course, to scale the heights achieved by Robert; his wines have all the brooding power for which the appellation is famed, with a wonderful concentration and elegance of fruit, perhaps a result of the fact that the vines date from 1911. Few wines are better suited to game or rich wintery dishes…