There is no better way to develop an understanding of the different expressions of the single vineyard sites of Côte-Rôtie than by tasting from barrel in Jean-Paul Jamet's underground bunker - especially in a vintage like 2016. 'You smell the terroir first in 2016; in 2015, you smell the vintage first,' he says. Whereas his wonderful 2015 has a lush, easy-going charm, the 2016 is more tailored and precise. Moving from Les Lezards to Gerine, then Fongeant, Le Plomb and La Landonne, each barrel has its own marked character. It's clear that this is an elegant vintage, not hugely powerful but detailed and complex.Drinking Window 2022 - 2036. (MW)
Tasted, as usual, in components. #1) Les Lezards: bright red fruit, flowers and spices; seamless texture and a zesty mineral overtone that builds with air. #2) Gerine: smoke-accented blue fruits and plush texture; round and weighty with a jolt of pepper adding back-end spiciness and cut. #3) Fontgeant: hugely aromatic, showing intense, mineral-driven medicinal cherry and floral character, a hint of olive and strong back-end thrust. #4) Côte Baudin and Moutonne: deep and rich, showing powerful black and blue fruit qualities and a candied licorice flourish. Plenty of weight here and an intensely spicy back half. #5) Moutonne, Côte Rozier, Côte Blonde and Rochains: sexy, mineral-tinged red and blue fruits and candied flowers on the nose; sweet and seamless in texture, with sneaky tannins adding framework and final grip. #6) Fontgeant, Bonnivière, Tartaras and Leyat: vibrant and sharply focused, showing intense, mineral-tinged blue fruit and floral qualities and an exotic Asian spice overtone; the mineral note dominates with air. #7) Le Plomb: hugely aromatic, displaying red fruit preserve, incense and exotic spice qualities, silky texture and impressive power as well as a delicate finishing touch. #8) La Landonne: wild, expansive dark berry liqueur, olive and licorice qualities and serious heft and breadth; livelier with air, but this is a massive bruiser. The final wine should show Jamet's typical blend of power and finesse and it also looks to be a more brawny wine than many o
Not yet bottled, the 2016 Côte Rôtie is as fresh, elegant, and classic a Côte Rôtie as you’ll be able to find. Offering medium to full-bodied richness, perfumed aromas and flavors, ultra-fine tannins, and no hard edges, this beauty just glides across the palate and is already almost impossible to resist. Nevertheless, it’s going to be best with 4-5 years or cellaring and evolve nicely for two decades or more. One of the greatest estates for Syrah in the world is unquestionably that of Jean-Paul and Corinne Jamet, who have a tiny cellar located above the town of Ampuis, in the heart of Côte Rôtie. Despite being a bastion of classic Côte Rôtie, Jean-Paul is far from dogmatic, and his cellar is clean and efficient, and the singular nature of these wines comes more from the complex terroirs of the estate than any winemaking technique or cellar influence. The wines are not destemmed and aged in roughly 20% new demi-muids and are bottled unfined and unfiltered. Looking at the vintages reviewed here, both 2016 and 2017 are terrific, with the nod going to the 2017s. Jean-Paul finds the 2017s almost too much at this point, which is exactly how he felt about his 1991s in barrel, and those wines are some of the greatest Syrahs ever made. I’ll most likely review the 2017s from barrel again next year, but don’t miss a chance to buy what are destined to become legendary wines. In contrast, the 2016s are more elegant and classical Jamet, with more cool-climate aromatics and seamless, con
Based on an approximate blend from tank, Jamet's 2016 Cote Rotie features attractive aromas of cedar, leather, dried spices and cherries. It doesn't have the dramatic floral or rich bass notes of the truly great vintages, but it delivers a classic representation of the appellation. It's medium to full-bodied, with ripe, silky tannins, cherry and black olive flavors and a long finish. There are few visits I look forward to more than tasting with Jean-Paul Jamet at his cellars above Côte Rôtie. Even though he and Jean Luc split the family domaine several years ago, he still has 25 parcels in 19 lieux-dits, making barrel tasting here particularly educational. There's very little new oak in the cellar, and a high proportion of whole clusters for the Côte Rôtie (95% is the figure Jamet likes to cite). Bottling doesn't occur until after the harvest, so the 2016s were still in barrel at the time of my visit. Jamet said it's a vintage of "less sun, but well balanced and elegant, if less rich." It's certainly more approachable than the blockbuster 2015s, which are reviewed out of bottle. The 2017s, according to Jamet, will be a good compromise between the precociousness of the 2016s and the hardness of the 2015s. Of the 2015, said Jamet, "It's a year that needs a lot of time." For folks looking for lower prices and more immediate gratification, don't overlook Jamet's IGP Collines Rhodanienne and Côte du Rhône offerings, which offer a taste of Côte Rôtie without the same outlay of
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