written by Carl Robinson
Pure Syrah Cote-Rôtie, made without the inclusion of Viognier usually added in the appellation, is a magical thing. The exceptional expressions of Syrah found at Domaine Jean-Paul Jamet are truly something to be admired.
Jean-Paul’s first Cote-Rôtie vintage was 1976. Then aged just sixteen, he worked at the side of his father, Joseph, learning how the tangled web of vineyard holdings the family farmed expressed Syrah in many varied ways. In 2020, Jean-Paul celebrated 44 years of wine growing on an enviable collection of nineteen different and distinct vineyard plots spread across the best sites in the appellation.
Jamet’s style is decidedly traditional. Very little new oak is used, and rather than fashionable barriques, the barrels tend to be the larger, traditional demi-muid. Destemming the grapes, often done to extract more color, is avoided, with the wines being made almost entirely from whole-bunch clusters. In the vineyard too, things are done in the traditional way. All plots, including some of Cote-Rôtie steepest, are worked by hand, and terracing and levelling off of slopes has been eschewed.
Jean-Paul works the domaine with his wife, Corinne, and their eldest son, Loïc, producing tiny quantities of highly nuanced, exceptionally complex Cote-Rôtie. Deep in colour, elegant and finessed, these are pure and authentic expressions of the region’s wide spectrum of terroir and are justly recognised as the pinnacle of traditional Côte-Rôtie being produced today.
We welcome the new vintage this week, with offerings of some of the rarest and most collectible wines from this exceptional estate. Allocations are strictly limited, so be quick!
Cotes du Rhone Blanc
This super-rare cuvee is sourced from a 2-hectare plot above Ampuis and the Rhone River. A blend of 50% Marsanne, 25% Viognier, 13% Roussanne, and 12% Grenache Blanc, it is vinified in a mix of stainless steel (Viognier and Roussanne) and old barrique (Marsanne and Grenache Blanc). The wine is aged for 9 months before release. A unique Rhone white. Beautiful on release, but with the ability to age – very limited quantities!
Cotes du Rhone Rouge
100% Syrah (of course) from 5 plots (Lézardes, Cognet, Plomb, Champrond, and Tartaras). This juicy and incredibly pure wine is fermented in stainless steel before being aged for 12 months in old (4-5 year) barriques. Spicy and bright, it is all white pepper and dark fruit. Textbook Syrah.
The name comes from a blend of two tiny plots (0.5 of a hectare), Vernon and Côte Châtillon, both of which are in the commune of Condrieu in the northern part of the appellation. This wine is fermented in stainless steel, barrique, and Amphora, and then aged for 9 months. A lifted and juicy expression of Condrieu, which gives pleasure right from the off. Very limited!
IGP Syrah “Collines Rhodaniennes”
A 100% Syrah blend from three plots. Young-vine Côte-Rôtie, a small plot next to the domaine of IGP Syrah and a plot above Condrieu. Unusually for Jamet, it is 90% destemmed and then aged for 11 months in very old barriques. Super-racy Syrah.
100% Syrah from 16 plots across the appellation. Gerine, Lesardes, Fongeant, Chavaroche, Côte Bodin, Bonnivières, Le Plomb, Le Truchet, Les Moutonnes, La Landonne, Côte Blonde, Côte Rozier, Leyat, Côte Brune, Tartaras, and Rochins. Each plot is vinified and aged separately without racking. The wines are aged for 22 months in demi-muid and old barrique before a final blend is made. Bottled unfiltered. The perfect Côte-Rôtie, this wine benefits from 6-8 years of aging and will give pleasure for decades.
Côte Rôtie “Côte Brune”
A single-plot Côte-Rôtie that has been produced each year for the last 40 vintages. Made in the same way as the regular cuvee, it is an expression of a unique and distinctive place. The Cote Brune is always a little more muscular, yielding a meatier wine that demands longer aging to show its true form.
Côte Rôtie “La Landonne”
Very rare and only produced in exceptional vintages, the 2018 being the most recent. Fruit from this tiny plot (just 0.26 of a hectare) is usually bended into the regular cuvee, but 2018 was an exception. Aged slightly longer than the other cuvees for 24 months, this wine is very, very limited!!