Johann Michel Cornas 2008
Johann Michel inherited a tiny vineyard in Cornas from his grandfather in 1997, and made wine for the first time in his life that year. This small appellation, located in the Northern Rhone, is known for stylish, elegant syrah that generally shows more restraint than the opulent wines from the South, like those of Chateauneuf-du-Pape.
Michel eschews what he calls "technological winemaking", preferring to hand-harvest and use traditional wooden presses. His belief is that Cornas fruit is delicate, almost magical, and that intervening ruins its purity. The 2008 shows strikingly bright red fruits: blackcurrants, cherries, and tightly woven spices. The palate is coiled and focused with great definition and finesse; a classic Cornas, to drink or cellar for many years.