I have been following the resurgence of Jean-Luc Jamet with great interest over the past 2 or 3 vintages. Afterall, the Côte-Rôties of the greater Jamet family have long been regarded as the benchmark wines of the region within the Northern Rhone. In 2013, brothers Jean-Luc and Jean-Paul announced that they would be splitting up the family’s domaine.
For many years, Jean-Paul was the face of the domaine and Jean-Luc was the steady hand in the vineyards. Jean-Luc has now stepped out of the proverbial shadows and returned to the fine wine arena with a resounding winemaking bang. His Les Terrasses Cote Rotie 2015 is a sensational expression and his basic Vin de Pays La Valine Syrah 2014 also an absolute beauty and better than most producers top Cotes du Rhone reds.
Jean-Luc also makes some fabulous mineral whites and among my first introductions was drinking a bottle of his Cotes du Rhone Blanc 2013 with Jamie Goode, the renowned wine journalist. I remember him commenting on not only it’s seriously stony, austere minerality but also it’s almost Chablis-like freshness and restraint. Having just tasted my first ever Jean-Paul & Corinne Jamet Cotes du Rhone Blanc recently, I was keen to put this Jean-Luc Jamet 2016 white through its paces to compare and contrast.
Jean-Luc Jamet Couzou Cotes du Rhone Blanc 2016, 14 Abv.
A blend of Marsanne, Roussanne and Viognier grapes from vines grown on Granitic Argileux soils. The wine has a beautifully rich straw yellow colour while the aromatics of this cuvee are more restrained and tantalisingly austere with intense notes of cut lemon, stony gravel, wet stones, chalk tuffa and subtle petrichor notes. The well integrated struck match reduction notes connect the nose intricately to the palate which is build around intense mineral laden complexity, white peach stone fruits, ginger spice and a sappy tangerine peel pith. An intense, complex, sophisticated white Rhone expression with well judged acidity freshness, salinity and incredibly well managed reductive complexity. You can enjoy this now but it will undoubtedly get better with another year or two of ageing. A cracking white for Jamet junkies.
(Wine Safari Score: 94/100 Greg Sherwood MW)
Many Cotes du Rhône reds are produced from the blended cast off components of bigger appellation cuvees. For Jean Luc Jamet, now working exclusively under his own name since 2013, his L’Enclave 2016 is produced from 1 hectare of pure young Cote Rotie Syrah vines grown on clay and schist soils in the Le Champon and Bonnivières terroirs and delivers an impressive level of quality as you’d expect.
Jean-Luc Jamet Cotes du Rhône L’Enclave 2016, 13 Abv.
The aromatics of this sexy red are exotic and seductive, loaded with sweet caramelised black cherries, a kirsch liquor lift, sun dried cranberries, loganberries and subtle complexing notes of blood and graphite. The wonderful fragrant aromatics are complemented by vibrant, tart sour plum notes, hints of savoury cured meats, iron fillings and a smokey, crushed rock mineral finish. There is a suggestion of sappy resinous spice on the sleek finish which admittedly lacks the extra power and depth associated with some older vine cuvees. But this wine does show admirable terroir pedigree, intelligent winemaking and delicious varietal typicity from this more elegant, soft spoken vintage of 2016. Drink now and over the next 5 to 8+ years.
(Wine Safari Score: 91/100 Greg Sherwood MW)
Jamet is a name synonymous with Cote Rotie. Many Rhone collectors and connoisseurs have treasured bottles from the brothers Jean-Luc and Jean-Paul Jamet in their cellars.
Meeting with wine suppliers last year, heads hung heavily with the news that Domaine Jamet had announced a change in the direction of the estate with the brothers going their own separate ways in Cote Rotie. Jean-Luc Jamet would be creating his own domaine using fruit from the families vines in the Lancement lieux-dit. Jean-Paul Jamet would be remaining with the property and would, with wife Corinne, continue making the “Domaine” wines from 7 hectares of vines comprising 17 lieux-dits in 25 parcels scattered all over Cote Rotie.
The 2012 and 2013 Cote Brune wines were already labeled Domaine de Jean-Paul & Corinne Jamet Cote Rotie Cote Brune, taking this portion of the estate into a new era.
Jean-Luc Jamet had by now, created his own wines with my own personal experiences starting with his 2013 Cotes-du-Rhone Blanc and his 2014 Cotes-du-Rhone Red. As yet, I have not tasted any Jean-Luc Jamet Cote Rotie reds.
Vignoble Jean-Luc Jamet Cotes-du-Rhone Hautes Vignes 2014, 12.5 Abv.
Tasting Note: Beautifully seductive ruby plum colour. From the outset, there’s a defined salty blackcurrant, cassis reduction, and liquorice intensity to the nose with hints of sweet red apple and purple earthy beetroot. Still massively youthful, the palate shows a pedigree not akin to your average Cotes-du-Rhone wine quality. There are layers of plum confit, sweet tart black cherry, caramelised blueberries and picante peppercorn spice with raw meat nuances. A taught, linear and vital, saline finish suggests that ageing this “modest” wine for another 8 to 10 years might yield something very special indeed. (Wine Safari Score: 92+/100 Greg Sherwood MW)
For all the Rhone snobbery out there, all the wines I’ve tasted from Jean-Luc have been intense, precise, fresh, characterful Rhone expressions… and eminently affordable. Don’t fall for the detracting chatter, these wines are every bit as smart as Jean-Paul’s releases.