According to the Jaboulet website, the Syrah composing Les Jumelles hails from vines aged between 15 and 40 years. The wine is left to its own devices for 12 months in oak barrels, about 20 percent of which are new wood.
That probably explains the smokiness. To the credit of the growers, this seems to add to, rather than subtract from, the personality of the final product.
We had this bottle during Christmas dinner and I have never seen or tasted anything like it. (Then again, I am new to this.)
The nose is met with a sharp smell that brings Mediterranean olives to mind. The wine itself gives off a dull gleam, like dusty rubies.
It tastes distinctly like I would imagine roasted earth to taste -- smoky and sweet, like smoked holiday ham (crowned with a pineapple, like the ones Mom would get from Goldilocks and claim she cooked herself).
It paired well with the home-made chicken pie and young boiled carrots -- indeed, Côte Rôtie Les Jumelles seemed to add a garnet luster to the sweetness of the carrots and the creamy heartiness of the pie.
True to form, the wine left bits of sediment at the bottom of the glass, adding to its earthy feel.
I've heard it said that wine represents a kind of communion between man and the soil he tills, but before this particular bottle I've not felt so close to the land from which these grapes were gleaned.