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Domaine Johann Michel Cornas Cuvee Jana 2019  - First Bottle


98 Jeb Dunnuck -
The tiny production 2019 Cornas Cuvée Jana is another gorgeous wine. More up-front and opulent than either the 2018 or 2016, it has a mass of blueberry and black cherry-like fruits as well as smoked game, bouquet garni, ground pepper, and iron. It hits the palate with a lush, opulent attack and has a terrific mid-palate, before the tannins build and clamp down on the finish, showing more loamy earth and mineral notes. It certainly displays the richer, ripe style of the vintage and has moderate acidity, yet the purity of fruit is spot on, it's beautifully balanced, and it’s going to keep for 25+ years in cold cellars.
97 Robert Parker's Wine Advocate -
Showing greater nuance and complexity on the nose, the 2019 Cornas Jana—named for Michel's daughter and sourced from Les Côtes and Chaillot—is a big step up from Michel's basic Cornas. Hints of violets, mint and crushed stone accent deep cassis and blueberry fruit, while the full-bodied palate is concentrated, rich and tannic, with a long, long, finish. Although not unenjoyable now, it's a Cornas for the cellar, with at least a decade of improvement possible.
97 Vinous -
Glass-staining, violet color. Heady, smoke and spice-accented black and blue fruits, licorice, cola, exotic spices and olive paste on the expansive note. Lush and broad on the palate, offering alluringly sweet cherry-cola, cassis, fruitcake and allspice flavors and a hint of smoky bacon. Finishes on a youthfully tannic note, with superb persistence and resonating blue fruit and spice notes.

Technical Details

  • WinemakerJohann Michel
  • CountryFrance
  • RegionRhone
  • AppellationCornas
  • Farming MethodOrganic Practices
  • Oak600 liter French barrels
  • Alcohol14.5%

Domaine Johann Michel Cornas Cuvee Jana 2019

Syrah  |  France
JD98, WA97, VN97

Organic Practices
21% off retail!

This one caught me by surprise – 98 points is the latest in this top-notch portfolio for this micro-production, Northern Rhone specialist, that I’m ashamed to say I’ve only just discovered! Better late than never – a truly exceptional Cornas, all at the best price in the country! Only about 8 cases, however, so grab yours today!

Johann Michel is living the dream that nearly every single wine lover has entertained at some point in their life. Not an ounce of formal training, and driven only by a deep love of wine developed over the years by tasting old vintages alongside with his grandfather – he decided to try his luck at making wines all on his own. His first vintage was 1997. In the years since, with only a few hectares to call his own, he has managed to score a whole slew of 95+ scores – from the likes of Jeb Dunnuck, Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate, Vinous, and more!

This powerfully opulent Cornas hails from two of Johann’s premiere plots – Les Côtes and Chaillot – two lieux dits that he planted himself in the early 2000s. Set on the steeply sloping and granite-flecked hills of Cornas, these are inky dark and concentrated berries of syrah, with a depth of flavor and classic structure that rivals the best parcels in the entire appellation. Johann’s unique talent lies in coaxing the delicate floral and electric brightness from these wines – granting elegance and purity to a product that is naturally quite rustic.

Such is the beauty of Cornas – the opportunity of a wildness that has been tamed – and this vintage is a perfect showcase of such a sentiment. Intoxicating aromatics of violets, lilacs, peppermint, and smoke – this is densely perfumed and heady. The flavors follow suit – with vibrant notes of blueberries and mulberries, a savory meatiness that is classic Northern Rhone, with ample spice of licorice and clove, and accents of white pepper, black olive, and iron ore. The wine is exceptionally smooth, yet finishes with an intricate webbing of youthful tannins and structure – declaring undoubtedly that this Cornas will excel for a decade plus to come! Decant in the now, or savor each sip over the course of an entire evening – but make no mistake – syrah doesn’t get much more powerful than this! Or much better in my opinion. Cheers!

PAIRING IDEAS: Back in my cheffing days, one of my greatest successes was a lamb ragu that was served with housemade pappardelle pasta (infused with blanched arugula, both for peppery liveliness and a cool, vibrant green color) and finished with English peas, mint, and pecorino.

About the Producer

Johann Michel's wine journey began with his grandpa and uncle, the well-known winemaker Robert Michel, as they savored aged wine vintages in Cornas, sparking his passion. Despite starting his career in clothing retail, he soon realized it didn't align with his true calling, the family tradition, and the dream he envisioned. In 1997, he took the plunge, crafting his initial vintage under his own label in Cornas. Presently, he tends 4.17 hectares in Cornas, a quaint AOC in France encompassing only 288 hectares, within the lionhearted vineyards of Bayonnet, Les Côtes, Chaillots, and Saveaux. While he primarily adopts a lutte raisonnée approach, Johann Michel shows interest in biodynamics, slowly integrating practices like cooper treatment to replace harsh chemicals on the vines. Notoriously low yields in the Cornas AOC (33 hl/ha) result in highly concentrated juice. With an annual production of approximately 20,000 bottles, Johann Michel is deeply rooted in his passion for crafting remarkable wines.