We had been hearing rave reviews about this wine from a number of people in the industry who drink it like its water! So we had to track it down and try it for ourselves.
Côte-Rôtie is up there with Chateauneuf-de-Pape, Cornas, and Crozes Hermitage as the best of the Rhone, the former being at the very north of the Rhone valley. Syrah is the dominant grape here, with a touch of viognier allowed to boost flavour if needed often producing meaty yet floral wines. Until the 1980’s though, not much was given to this unique and steep sloped region, when it underwent something of a revival thanks to master producer Marcel Guigal. With the region firmly on the map as a serious producer to rival the best in the Rhone, I would like you to meet Domaine Jamet’s stellar wine maker Jean-Paul Jamet and his 2014 Côte-Rôtie.
Since a 2014 can be seen as a very young wine (as they normally hit their peak after 10+ years) we decided to decant it and let it sit and enjoy the nice view of our cool cinema for a few hours. We were advised 4-6 hours. Thats a long time to wait for a wine you have been looking forward to tasting. So we twiddled our thumbs and watched Madagascar, a favourite movie of mine.
When we got round to finally tasting after the 4 hours, we realised this was going to be a 2 day affair, as the wine was still not open enough. It was tight, and stubbornly showing off its youthfulness.
Rhone syrah typically shows more savoury flavours, and this is not one to disappoint. The deep cherry red wine smells like a tannary; leather, leather and more leather. This was really the dominant smell for me. Once this leathery delicious smell has finished its assault, you can start to pick up more delicate aromas of sage, allspice, cigars, olives, green peppercorns and a touch of smoke. The first sip is an explosion on the tongue that I haven’t experienced before. Tasting between 4 to 6 hours showed just how large this wine is! As the wine breathed more, dark red fruit flavours appeared. It was grippy, austere yet still smooth & light. An impeccably well made wine. Day 1 showed its best at about 10 hours in, with it softening ever so slightly yet the wine showed almost no sign of oxidiation.
We sat down again a day later with Mr Jamet, this time slightly chilled from the fridge. For me this seems to take the edge of the wines acidity albeit temporarily. The wine is still acidic, grippy and tight. We did not decant today.
The flavour profile has also changed a bit, there is still a leathery smell, and a spicyness to it but today it seems more meaty, butcher shop meaty, intense raw aged meat. Bay leaves and peppercorns add herbal and spicy notes, finally a hit of camphor which gives it a medicinal smell. The camphor is quite present in the the first few sips today. However it soon gives way to subtle herbal notes and big juicy blackcurrant flavours, then giving a long chocolaty finish that coats your mouth.
It is indulgent, and rich and this wine definitely improves with time, and a few hours in the decanter will only do good things. If you are patient, store it and leave it for a few years and come back to it.
You can find other older vintages of this wine at various online auctions however, we do know where you can pick up a bottle of their ’14 and ’15 vintage right in Amsterdam! Luckily for all the other Jamet lovers, the wine shop didn’t allow us to buy all of it !