2014 Domaine Johann Michel, Cornas “Cuvee Jana” Rhone Valley, France.
The 2014 Johann Michel Cuvee Jana Cornas is a big and meaty wine with a forceful personality and real palate impact showing depth, purity of fruit and lots of earthy charm. The vintage was a touch difficult, but this 100% Syrah is not missing much, it’s got stuffing and purpose from start to finish with gripping tannins and bright acidity holding everything together, it’s chewy and dense showing blackberry, boysenberry, tangy currant and damson plum fruits with an array of herbs and spices along with leather, flinty stones, porcini and fig paste as well as snappy peppercorns and black licorice. Swirling reveals crushed violets, kirsch and a touch of smoke, and while rustic in character things are well put together, though robust and simple cuisine brings out the more pretty side of things here in a wine that certainly has an edgy quality. I would swear after a few minutes you can feel a stemmy note, making me think there was some whole cluster, and being new to this producer I would think there is a traditional approach in the cellar. It’s much less stemmy than Thierry Allemand, but not as exciting or beautiful as Domaine Lionnet, one of my personal favorites, still if you like earthy/raw Northern Rhone Syrah, this is one to search out! Imported by Balanced Selections, Johann Michel is a master at heavy bottle packaging, this Cuvee Jana certainly looks the part, this 2014 should prove useful for many years to come, nothing if not impressive.
($50 Est.) 92+ Points, grapelive

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