|I’ve liked several vintages of the Johann Michel Cuvée Grain Noir, but I fell in love with the 2011, and the 2012 is very similar. It only takes a sniff and a sip to know why I love it. The nose is filled with smoke and rich black fruit. The palate gets hit with a blast of black pepper and black olive, shows a lot of that black fruit, and finishes with hickory smoke and bacon fat. This is an animalistic Syrah, everything you could want from a young wine from the Northern Rhône. Low tannin and mild acidity (the 2012 is slightly brighter) make this a drink now (not for the cellar) wine, but that’s all that separates this from the high dollar Cornas you would really fall for, but can’t justify—except for special occasions! My wife and my brother, both pretty serious about their wine as well, also love it.
~ Paul Bressler, 67Wine Buyer