Johann Michel is a young self taught winemaker who discovered his passion while tasting old bottles of wine with his grandfather. His first vintage was 1997. He works at the Domaine with his wife Emmanuelle.
The Domaine was founded in 1997.
Johann Michel is working with 5 hectares, spread between 3 different AOCs:
He now farms 4 hectares in Cornas under "culture raisonnee" (sustainable) method in the lieux dits "Les Cotes", "Bayonnet", "Chaillot" and the parcel called "Saveaux" for the AOC Cornas. Very low yields for all wines from this appellation. Only 33 hectoliters per hectare for the Cornas Tradition and 25hl/ha for the Cornas Cuvee Jana. He also produce a very confidential Cuvee, not made every year called "Cuvée de la Mère Michel", a tribute to his wife Emmanuelle and a play of word around the French song called "La Mere Michelle".
The AOC Cornas is one of the smallest AOC in France with only 140 hectares, off which only 116.4 hectares are planted which is 288 acres. There are about 65 vignerons making Cornas.
He also has 0.37 hectares (0.92 acres) in Saint Joseph AOC. It is being planted by Johann in 2012 with Syrah vines and 2016 was his first vintage with 700 bottles produced only. The vineyard is 120 meters high in altitude and the density of planting is 4400 vines per hectare. The Saint Joseph wine is made using 100% destemmed grapes.
Saint Joseph AOC is quite large compared to Cornas AOC and the quality of the soils can be very different from one part to the appellation to another part of the AOC. (The total acreage for the AOC is 920 hectares or 2270 acres).
Johann also has 0.5 hectare in Saint Peray (1.2 acres). It is planted with Marsanne and Roussanne. His parcels are located at the extreme South of the Saint Peray AOC (a few meters away from the border with the Cornas AOC. Johann makes 2 Cuvées of Saint Peray, both of them are very low volume. The Saint Peray Blanc is 50% Marsanne and 50% Roussanne made from 15 year old vines with a total production of 1500 bottles. The second Saint Peray Blanc produced is called Cuvée "M". it is a 100% Marsanne, 600 bottles production. First vintage was 2014. The "M" in the name Cuvée M is for Marsanne, Michel (his last name) and Hmmm (French for "Yummy") !
Saint Peray AOC is smaller in size as the entire AOC is only 90 hectares (222 acres). In the recent past, Saint Peray was famous for producing mostly sparkling wine, made from Roussanne and Marsanne. As a matter of fact, about 10 years ago, 90% of the wines were sparkling and only 10% were still wines. Today, it is the opposite: 90% of the AOC is producing still wines and only 10% is turned into sparkling wine. There are about 35 vignerons making Saint Peray.
"Johann Michel continues to produce brilliant wines from the steep, granite infused slopes of Cornas. Both his 2012s, which I raved about last year, and his 2013s are some of the most successful in appellation. - Jeb Dunnuck"
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (Issue #216, December 2014)
"One of the rising superstars in Cornas is without a doubt the young and incredibly talented Johann Michel. Creating the estate in 1997, he farms a little over four hectares (in the lieux-dits of Bayonnet, Les Côtes, Chaillots and Saveaux) all organically and makes a single St Péray and two Cornas: a classic Cornas and his flagship Cuvée Jana. The wines are all completely destemmed and aging occurs (on lees) in two- to four-year-old barrels. The wines show the more polished, elegant side to the appellation, have gorgeous purity of fruit, and never lack for texture and depth. They’re no-brainers well worth checking out. - Jeb Dunnuck"
- Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (Issue #222, December 2015)