Opaque ruby. Incisive aromas of ripe dark berries, cherry, incense and potpourri, with olive and licorice nuances building in the glass. Intense, spice- and mineral-tinged black and blue fruit, olive paste and violet pastille flavors are supported by a core of juicy acidity. Closes very long and suavely floral, showing a smoky mineral quality and smooth tannins that build steadily. The production of this wine, which comes from steeply sloping sites of schist soils just above the Cote Brône, is extremely small. Made with whole clusters and raised in neutral barrels for 22 months. (JR)
Still in demi-muid at the time of my visit, the 2017 Cotes du Rhone Equivoque is a blend of two undestemmed parcels. It's medium to full-bodied and dark-fruited, with no obvious stemmy notes. Cassis and blueberries glide silkily across the palate, finishing long and intense. 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)
Coming from vines bordering Côte Rôtie, the 2017 Côtes Du Rhône Equivoque tastes just like a Côte Rôtie and has perfumed and complex notes of red and black fruits, green olives, bacon fat, and violets. Readers looking for a gem of a wine that drinks well above its price point should jump on this beauty. It’s medium-bodied, nicely concentrated, and should evolve for 6-7 years. Domaine Jamet is located high up on the upper plateau above Côte Rôtie, around the village of le Vallin, and Jean-Paul and Corinne Jamet have been farming 25 different plots here, spread across 17 lieux-dits, since 1984. The majority of their holdings are located in the more schist-dominated Côte Brune side of Côte Rôtie (Chavaroche and Le Truchet being the largest) yet they also have prime real estate in Lancement and the Côte Blonde. The winemaking here is traditional yet not dogmatic, and the cellars are clean and impeccably kept. While Jean-Paul likes stems, there are plenty of parcels, and vintages, that see varying degrees of destemming and aging occurs mostly in demi-muids, with 15-30% being new. His Côte Rôties are bottled unfined and unfiltered after two years in barrel. Jamet’s wines represent a quintessential Côte Rôtie and possess incredible aromatics as well as a concentrated, structured style on the palate that rewards 5-7 years of bottle age. Top vintages of Jamet’s Côte Rôtie can evolve positively for 25 to 30 years. In addition to the classic cuvée, they also release a tiny production
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