Joseph Jamet is a striking fellow, both for his appearance (sort of an older Patrick Stewart, but with intense, penetrating blue eyes) and his demeanor- a sharp, questioning attitude, full of common sense. I was fortunate to sit between him and Michel Ogier at the annual winemaker’s lunch in Ampuis; despite my crummy French, I managed to pick up more dirt about local growers and their practices, more info about vineyards and clones, and more understanding about the local economics of fruit and wine-growing than I could have ever hoped for. There ARE some advantages to not being a writer or a critic- one gets a bit more honesty. Enough of persons, let’s drink!
I can’t really call the ’91 Joe a “better” wine than the regular bottling of ’91 Jamets fils, but its single-vineyard nature (Joseph has kept 0.42 hectare since turning over the reins to the boys) endows it with a focus and personality that is quite compelling. Big and tannic, bien sur, no evident new oak, full of frying bacon and blackberries, with the traditional Côte-Rôtie violets. Dark and brooding, with an intense finish. Joseph’s wines have been quite bretty over the years, and this is no exception. It will become more so. I don’t care- this is a friendly monster of a wine. Smoother and more velvet-textured than the ’89, the ’91 nonetheless has a full measure of Côte Brune authenticity. Great wine.