My next visit in the Northern Rhone brought me to Jean-Luc Jamet and his new winery built next door to his brother, Jean-Paul's. Sometimes a domaine's split between siblings is smooth and agreeable. This one, not so much. Of course there's much I don't know about specifically what lead to this separation, one officially marked by the 2013 vintage. But, of this I'm certain: Jamet is Côte Rôtie gold.

Today, I'm happy to offer wines from both brother's domaines, as well as back-vintage wines produced when they worked together.

Joseph Jamet started the domaine in 1950 and by the early 90's the production was under the control of his two sons, Jean-Paul and Jean-Luc. The wines have truly been benchmarks for the Côte Rôtie appellation. Elegant, age-worthy, with an undeniable sense of place like no other domaine. When given the choice to drink any producer from Côte Rôtie, there's no debate from my perspective.

Although Jean-Paul and Jean-Luc worked closely for decades, the split essentially came down to Jean-Luc's desire to produce wines with a slightly more modern footing. Jean-Luc's wines see more de-stemming, more new oak (still modest levels), and greater extraction during fermentation. While Jean-Luc's wines show more unctuous plush fruit, softer tannins, and darker concentration, the wines of Domaine Jamet (Jean Paul) show more transparency and a more tightly coiled sense of minerality. Both produce wines of exquisite balance and sophistication, yet rooted in the tradition their father Joseph instilled.

As the 25 parcels were split between the brothers in 2013, we see Domaine Jamet's (Jean-Paul) more evenly divided between the iron-rich granite of the Côte Brune and the lighter and chalkier Côte Blonde. Jean-Luc's plots are more concentrated in the Côte Blonde.

My most memorable Syrah experience was a bottle of 1988 Jamet opened at a restaurant with friends in the Rhone several years ago. As sense memories go, it's one that has stayed with me more vividly than any other. The combo of perfume, delicacy of fruit, and that finely woven mineral lacing was Syrah at its most pure and haunting. A first sip that was followed by a deafening silence that filled the table for what seemed like minutes on end. That's why we hunt.

2013 Jean-Luc Jamet Valine VDP
$37 per bottle.

2013 Jean-Luc Jamet Côte Rôtie Terrasses
$108 per bottle.

5x 2015 Domaine Jamet Côte Rôtie Côte Brune (Jean-Paul)
$639 per bottle.

3x 2014 Domaine Jamet Côte Rôtie Fructus Voluptas (Jean-Paul)
$117 per bottle.

12x 2013 Domaine Jamet Côte Rôtie (Jean-Paul)
$159 per bottle.

2x 2013 Domaine Jamet Côte Rôtie (Jean-Paul) 1.5L
$374 per bottle.

1x 2001 Domaine Jamet Côte Rôtie 
$339 per bottle.

2x 1998 Domaine Jamet Côte Rôtie 
$379 per bottle.

9x 1999 Domaine Jamet Côte Rôtie 
$526 per bottle.