2016 Domaine Raymond Usseglio Chateauneuf-du-Pape Cuvee Imperiale

Year: 2016
Appellation: Rhone
Country: France
Wine Advocate: 95
Jeb Dunnuck: 97+
Red Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 15.0%
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90% Grenache, 10% Field Blend

"Almost entirely Grenache, from parcels planted in 1901 and 1902, the 2016 Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Imperiale is a stunner. Scents of roses, black tea and raspberries set the scene, while the palate is full-bodied but silky and nearly weightless, delivering an intricate, detailed interplay of red fruit, dried spices and orange zest. Despite what must be 15% alcohol or more, it shows absolutely no sign of heat." (WA)

"The flagship is the Grenache-dominated 2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Imperiale, which comes from vines planted in 1902 and was destemmed and aged in concrete tanks. Awesome notes of blackberries, blueberries, crushed rocks, violets, and graphite all emerge from this tight, full-bodied, concentrated and backward Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Possessing incredible purity of fruit, a concentrated yet fresh, structured profile, and a huge finish, it just needs time to shine." (JD)

Winery Notes:
Three parcels, one in Pialons, one in Girardette, and one in Grand Pierre, 110+ year old vines as they were all planted 1901 and 1902. Field blend of 90+% Grenache and the balance the other 12 varietals. Aged 100% in concrete tanks from miniscule yields (average 15hl/ha) is Burgundian-like for its floral minerality and complexity on the palate.

Stéphane Usseglio, son of Raymond, has taken over the domaine in the last few years and he is pushing to reach the potential of the family’s holdings, some of he best of Châteauneuf. Half his vines are situated near the road in the lieu-dit “La Crau” and the other half on the hill across the road from the actual ruins of the new castle of the Pope. He has the good fortune to have very old vines. The average age for his Châteauneuf vines is between 50 & 60 years old and the cuvée Imperiale vines are over 110 years old. We are now taking most of the Châteauneuf Roussanne Pur - barrel-fermented, unfiltered - that he can vinify for us. The Cuvée Girard is bottled exclusively for Peter Weygandt and is 85% Grenache with Mourvèdre, Counoise and Cinsault filling out the blend. Considered one of the top producers in the appellation, Usseglio puts out consistently stellar wine every vintage.