Johann Michel – Rising Star in Cornas
“These are both impressive vintages from this up-and-coming young Cornas producer.”
– Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate, 12/12
Johann Michel discovered his passion for wine while tasting older vintages of wine with his grandfather and uncle, notable winemaker Robert Michel, in Cornas. Though he started his professional life working in clothing retail, he quickly realized that he was neither making the most of his talents nor “living the dream” nor carrying on the family tradition. His first vintage of his own label Cornas was 1997.
He now farms 4.17 hectares in Cornas, one of the smallest AOCs in all of France (it encompasses only 288 hectares,) in the leonine lieux-dits of Bayonnet, Les Côtes, Chaillots, and Saveaux. Though his methods at this point are largely constituted as lutte raisonnée, Michel is interested in biodynamics and has already started to incorporate some practices like cooper treatment as opposed to harsher chemicals on the vines. Yields for Cornas AOC are notoriously low (33 hl/ha) which accounts for the intense concentration of the juice over all. His total annual production amounts only to about 20,000 btls/year.
Michel’s Cornas’ are precise and arguably more linear than the average bottling out of the region. Still, the wines smoulder, savage with vehement Syrah characteristics of burnt earth, black olive, and pepper. Michel also produces an entry level Syrah called Grains Noirs or Black Grapes, the first vintage of which is 2012. This bottling is also 100% Syrah but made from grapes falling both within and slightly outside of the delimitation of Cornas AOC. This wine is juicy and meaty and and all-around every day Syrah guzzler!
2011 Johann Michel Cornas:
Manual harvest, selection of the grapes, 100% destemming, fermentation in tanks for 3 weeks, daily remontage and pigeage. Malolactic fermentation in oak barrels and aging on the lees for 12-18 months in barrels (2 to 4 year old barrels)
"The 2011 Cornas reveals supple, silky tannins as well as the essence of blackberry and licorice notes intermixed with hints of beef blood and flowers. It is fruit-forward, soft and impressive.
"These are both impressive vintages from this up-and-coming young Cornas producer."
- Wine Advocate (Robert Parker, issue #204, December 2012), 90-93 pts
2010 Johann Michel Cornas:
Manual harvest, selection of the grapes, 100% destemming, fermentation in tanks for 3 weeks, daily remontage and pigeage. Malolactic fermentation in oak barrels and aging on the lees for 12-18 months in barrels (2 to 4 year old barrels). The average age of the vines is 20 years.
"The 2010 Cornas exhibits abundant blackberry, truffle and smoked meat-like characteristics along with a fabulous texture, full-bodied power, plenty of glycerin and a blockbuster finish. Cellar it for five years and drink it over the following 25 years. These are both impressive vintages from this up-and-coming young Cornas producer."
- Wine Advocate (Robert Parker, issue #204, December 2012), 95 pts
2012 Domaine Johann Michel, Grain noir:
Made from young Cornas vines and wine coming from the outside of the Cornas AOC
Very dark color, this wine is very juicy and fruity in style. The tannins are soft and quite integrated. It displays aromas of black fruits, and a very pleasant truffle and spicy finish.
Producer: Johann Michel
Region: Rhône Valley
Annual Production (of all wines): 190,000 bottles
Farming: Organic, Not Certified
Website: No Website
Johann Michel Cornas
Appellation: Cornas AOC
Johann Michel Cuvée Jana
Appellation: Cornas AOC
Johann Michel Grain Noir
Appellation: Rhone Valley