Elegant, perfumed, floral nose. This is generous, fresh and beguilingly complex already. It's dark and brooding but brimming with fruits, spices, flowers, a touch of smoke and graphite with a remarkably mineral, salty finish. Serious, but beautiful. (MW)
Just bottled, literally, the day before my visit, the 2017 Côte Rôtie nevertheless showed incredibly well, with loads of violets, pepper, game, framboise, and darker fruits. As Côte Rôtie as Côte Rôtie gets, this full-bodied beauty has ultra-fine tannins, intoxicating complexity and nuance, no hard edges, and a great finish.
Inky, bright-rimmed ruby. Sexy, mineral-accented aromas of ripe black and blue fruits, candied flowers, olive paste and exotic spices show outstanding clarity and lift. Sweet, pliant and energetic on the palate, offering deeply concentrated raspberry, cherry, cassis and floral pastille flavors that show surprising energy for their heft. A smoky mineral nuance drives the extremely long, youthfully tannic finish, which leaves behind a sexy floral note. All whole clusters. (JR)
The 2017 Cote Rotie was still in separate lots when I visited, yet I came away with remarkably similar impressions from the Gerine (fragrant charming and silky) and le Plomb (taut, intense and structural) as I did last year. A number of other lots will go into the final assemblage (Chavaroche, Fongeant, Lezardes and several more, probably including La Landonne). There's more cracked pepper and violets on the nose of the 2017 than the 2018 and also a touch more crispness and tension on the palate. When his brother Jean-Luc Jamet went his own way with half of the family vineyards, Jean-Paul continued working in the existing winery above the town of Ampuis. It's always a treat to visit him there, getting a barrel-tasting tour of Côte Rôtie's numerous lieux-dits. Jean-Paul says 2018 is an excellent year, "very ripe yet with supple tannins and good freshness." He contrasts that to 2017, which he says is "a solar year with surprising elegance." As he sums up, "For me, 2018 is magnificent but perhaps a bit southern. In 2017, you know you're in the Northern Rhône." Jamet describes 2016 as "une belle expression de Syrah—classique." To illustrate his point that warm vintages aren't a threat to Côte Rôtie, Jamet poured a couple of older wines from hot years. Both the 2009 and 1989 Côte Rôties were singing. The '89 he compared to the '18, calling it, "fumé, lardé, épicé." He concluded, "I'm confident in hot vintages, because with time, the terroir emerges." (JC)
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