Perhaps the best version of this wine I've tried, the 2018 Condrieu Vernillon (tasted from tank prior to bottling) features just the merest hint of toasty oak (80% was fermented and aged in amphorae) layered over tropical fruit and apricot notes. It's full-bodied, round and lush but also spicy and complex, with a long, silky-textured finish. 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)
Translucent, green-hued yellow. Assertive orchard and pit fruit and orange peel scents are complemented by building honey and fennel flourishes. Concentrated and energetic on the palate, offering intense white peach, pear and tangerine flavors that become spicier as the wine opens up. A floral quality appears on the seamless finish, which shows a hint of smokiness and excellent persistence. This wine was raised in a 75/25 combination of unlined 500-liter amphoras and neutral demi-muids. (JR)
Now 100% matured in terracotta amphora, which brings ‘a saline, mineral side’ to the wines, says Loïc Jamet, especially in hot years. There’s straightness of character from the Côte-Chatillon and generosity from the Vernon. It’s rounded, soft and generous, with an inner sweetness. Low acidity but plenty of juice and good freshness from a bitter twist and mineral glint. Not as harmoniously balanced as the previous two vintages, but nonetheless a lovely expression of Condrieu. Drinking Window 2020 - 2022. (MW)
The 2018 Condrieu was bottled over the summer and it’s still tight and wound up, with a reductive, Burgundian bouquet of crushed citrus, crushed rocks, charcoal, and tangerine notes. These carry to a medium to full-bodied Condrieu with beautiful fruit, terrific balance, and a great, clean finish. It needs a year in bottle. 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 Côte Rôtie Côte Brune in top vintages. This cuvée com
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