If Chambeyron represents Côte Rôtie at its most undiscovered and raw then Domaine Jamet is its most exalted and beloved traditional estate. Whereas the former highlighted a .5 hectare of vines in the Côte Brune, Jamet works with 25 parcels throughout the appellation including those it the Côte Blonde. There's no estate today that captures the combination of elegance and brawn as deftly as the Jamet brothers. This is Côte Rôtie at its most finely detailed.
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. Lineage appeared to be undisturbed for decades, but with the 2013 vintage the brothers chose to separate. Jean-Luc built a new winery next door to Jean-Paul and today both brothers farm the various plots inherited from their father. Philosophies of winemaking remain very much tied to tradition. The magic of Jamet comes from the wild array of holdings, from high and low elevation plantings, to soils comprised of lighter chalkier soils of the Côte Blonde to the darker more iron-rich of the Côte Brune.
In blind tastings the wines of Jamet tend to jump out for their grace and seamless texture, but with tremendous power and depth behind the lithe frame. Côte Rôtie, the coolest and northernmost appellation, is the Northern Rhone's most delicate and perfumed. The combo with Jamet's thoughtful philosophy on balance and obsession with reflecting terroir always leads my mind to the sensibilities of Burgundy.
Perhaps the single most vivid drinking experience I've ever had was at a restaurant in the Northern Rhone. A bottle of 1988 Jamet was poured and conversation at the table of five came to a halt. Haunting experiences with wines come in many forms, but on this night it was that whisper of granitic minerality that seemed to linger on my palate endlessly, recalling these rocky terraced hillsides and the generations that have worked them by hand. It was an intrinsic connection to place that communicated so perfectly through that wine on that night. Terroir is the end-all focus of so many traditionalists here, but Jamet tells the story in way that grips you and demands your attention like none other.
2013 Jean-Luc Jamet Valine VDP
$37 per bottle.
100% Syrah from schist soils next to the domaine.
2013 Jean-Luc Jamet Côte Rôtie Terrasses
$108 per bottle.
Parcels with greater concentration in the Côte Blonde. Use of whole cluster fermentation is the norm, but a slightly higher percentage can be de-stemmed here vs. with Jean-Paul. Aging is split between demi-muids and 225L barrels, with very minimal portion being new.
2013 Jamet Côte Rôtie (Jean-Paul)
$139 per bottle.
Parcels spread more evenly throughout the Brune and Blonde. Whole cluster fermentation percentage is high, and demi-muids are primarily used for aging. New oak percentage is kept under 15%.
1988 Jamet Côte Rôtie
$699 per bottle.
1999 Jamet Côte Rôtie
$499 per bottle.
2001 Jamet Côte Rôtie
$279 per bottle.
2006 Jamet Côte Rotie Côte Brune
$469 per bottle.
2009 Jamet Côte Rôtie Cote-Brune
$399 per bottle.
2011 Jamet Cote Rotie Cote Brune
$337 per bottle.