2020 Domaine Jean-Paul, Corinne, Fanny & Loïc Jamet, Côtes du Rhône, Rhône Valley, France.
The very sexy Côtes du Rhône Rouge by the famed Domaine Jamet (still) is 100% Syrah from three parcels, one from young vines inside the classic Côte-Rotie zone, along with a plot close to the domaine just outside the regions set boundaries, as well as some vines on a plateau above Condrieu, all set on a combination of granite and mica schist soils that brings out the very best in this grape and this 2020 is an exceptional version that is happy to be drunk young. This vintage has loads of character with a deep purple color in the glass and a medium/full palate of pure Syrah fruit, spice and savory tones that makes it so compelling with layers of boysenberry, blueberry, damson plum and sweet kirsch along with hints of meaty game, burnt embers, peppercorns, cassis, violets and anise. This bottling, sometimes called a baby Côte-Rotie, is savvy buy for those that love Northern Rhône Syrah and who also loves a great deal, it isn’t always easy to find, but enthusiasts will find a way to get it. This Jamet Côtes du Rhône is meant for enjoyment while you wait for their iconic Côte-Rotie to age in the cellar, and it’s wonderful with food, in particular hearty and rustic cuisine options like leg of lamb and or grilled meat or wild mushroom dishes, though it is flexible enough to be enjoyed with lighter fare and hard cheeses.
The Domaine Jamet is run by Jean-Paul along with his wife, Corinne, his son, Loïc and his wife Fanny, who have a collection of sixteen tiny parcels or lieux-dits, as Kermit Lynch, their US importer notes, spread across some of the best sites in the Côte-Rotie appellation and makes their wine from the blending of all of these rugged and steep rocky set of vines. Kermit adds that, the Jamet’s style has remained true to their region’s historic traditions, even as the appellation has modernized around them. Jean-Paul Jamet along with Bernard Levet, Closel-Roch, the youthful Xavier Gerard and a few others proudly fly the flag of their old world cellar techniques. Despite its popularity, Lynch notes, Jamet, unlike many in Côte-Rotie, always eschewed the use of excessive new oak in his top cuvee, choosing to maintain a cellar full of the classic large oak casks (demi-muid) and Jamet, obviously not a slave to fashion, remains firmly opposed to de-stemming his Cote-Rotie, continuing to vinify his Cote-Rotie in a stemmy whole-cluster fermentation. While this little Syrah from Jamet is 90% de-stemmed, though it still has a hint of the stems here that adds a nice cut of earthy tension and complexity, it was fermented for about three weeks in stainless after a rigorous sorting, a hand grape harvest and then aged in used wood, with 10 to 20 year old barriques being, for about 11 months. I recommend grabbing a few bottles of this, especially in years like this, but if you see the 2016, 2018 and 2019s, which can be labeled Syrah IGP, out there don’t pass them up.
($45 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive