2009 Pierre Usseglio & Fils Chateauneuf-du-Pape

Year: 2009
Appellation: Rhone
Country: France
Wine Spectator: 90
Wine Advocate: 90
Vinous Media: 89
Red Wine
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"Very youthful, with bright cherry and cassis aromas and flavors, followed by fresh plum, red licorice and spice notes filling out the supple but lengthy finish. Drink now through 2018. 5,000 cases made." (WS)

"The 2009 Chateauneuf du Pape Tradition is an exact blend of 82% Grenache, 10% Syrah and the rest Cinsault and Mourvedre. Aged half in cement tanks and the rest in foudres, the wine displays some dusty tannins, which sometimes are an issue with this vintage, but soft berry fruit, roasted herbs and plenty of kirsch, lavender and licorice as well. It is a classic Provencal wine to drink over the next 8-10 years.

One of the top estates in Chateauneuf du Pape is that of the two brothers Thierry and Jean-Pierre Usseglio. Their cellars are just north of the village, adjacent to the walls of the ruins of the pope’s palace. They have nearly 60 acres under vine, and make three cuvees of red wines in the top vintages. Their classic or traditional cuvee is made from a blend of mostly Grenache, with some Syrah, Cinsault and Mourvedre. Their mostly unoaked, tank-fermented and -aged Mon Aieul comes from very old vines (about 85 years of age) and tiny yields, while their cuvee Des Deux Freres leans in a slightly more modern direction for Chateauneuf du Pape, with 50% of it now aged in small barrels, 20% in tank, and 30% in 600-liter demi-muids." (WA)

"Ruby-red. Subdued aromas of blackberry, cherry and licorice accented by white pepper. Sweet and round on entry, displaying dark fruit flavors given definition by firm acidity and complicated by slowly emerging suggestions of bitter cherry and candied anise. The firmly tannic finish features enticing floral lift and echoes the licorice note. Showing a serious side right now." (IWC)

"The wines of Southern Rhone’s Chateauneuf du Pape region are possibly the purest expression of fruit the wine world has to offer. Mostly uninfluenced by oak, these wines are all about the soil in which they are grown and the vines that produce the grapes.

This wine, by world-renowned Domaine Pierre Usseglio, is defined by the finish, something oak barrels can’t produce. A blend of 80% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 5% Mourvedre and 5% Cinsault, it’s fantastically long with strong tannins that will likely integrate over the next few years to create a wine of spectacular balance and finesse. This is a 2009 and, as such, is showing a little of its youth. But after three hours of air, the wine started to blossom with the initially thin mid-palate filling out nicely and the nose blooming into a superb combination of strawberry and earth aromas. 2009 has been touted as a great year in Southern Rhone, and based on this wine I have no reason to doubt that statement.

The more wine I drink, the more I’m starting to believe that Rhone varietals, especially Grenache, are the best grapes in the world. Spain, the U.S., Australia and of course France, excel at Rhone style wines and their versatility and value are, in my opinion, unmatched. Rhone varietal wines can range from light to incredibly dense and work well with or without oak. Most importantly, these wines are great with food. My cellar is getting more and more of these wines every day." (Nickel & Dime)