2011 Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Impériale, Domaine Raymond Usseglio

2011 Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Impériale, Domaine Raymond Usseglio

Product: 20118015255
2011 Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Impériale, Domaine Raymond Usseglio

Description

One of the stars of the 2010 vintage, the Impériale has performed strongly again in 2011. Made up of 90% centurion Grenache (some of which is actually 110 years old) and a blend of other ancient vines (the identity of which is not always clear, such is their great age) this is fermented and matured in concrete only. Therefore the musculature and concentration is from the fruit only. This is almost the archetype of traditional Châteauneuf-du-Pape, complete with powerful tannins, uncompromisingly savoury flavours and a pleasing twist of rusticity.
Simon Field MW, BBR Buyer

To have two famous Usseglios in a small village just north of Avignon, both making sublime red and white wines, may seem a rather strange. They share of course, the same Italian scion, and now thanks to the great advances made here by Stéphane, son of Raimond, also share a similar reputation. Indeed if the scoring system of he who shall remain nameless is to be believed, this branch of the family now appears to be marginally in the ascendant.
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About this WINE

Domaine Raymond Usseglio

Domaine Raymond Usseglio

Unusual though his name may be, there are several strands of the Usseglio dynasty now excelling in Châteauneuf- Du- Pape.

Two brothers, sons of Italian immigrants, set up wineries in Châteauneuf du Pape. The recognition went initially to Pierre, but Raymond, now represented by his son, Stéphane, is also reaping the rewards of excellence. Traditional winemaking is now embroidered with new ideas, a little new oak, and laudable ambition; the ensemble is getting better and better each year, yet still constitutes excellent value.

The vineyards of Usseglio spread on 21 hectares, of which 16ha are in Châteauneuf du Pape and 5ha in Cotes du Rhône .This multiplicity of soils over the various vineyards adds complexity to the different wines; the cobblestones create rich, fat wines, whereas the sandy soils impart elegance, fineness, and depth.

The Usseglios produce  a range of wines including Châteauneuf-du-Pape rouge and blanc, Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc Réserve Roussane, Côtes du Rhône and the low-yielding, flagship Châteauneuf-du-Pape Rouge, Cuvée Impériale. The grapes used in the red Chateauneuf include Grenache, Syrah (mainly),  Mourvèdre,  Cinsault and Counoise.

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Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Châteauneuf-du-Pape is the largest and most important wine appellation in the southern Rhône. It is home to more than 3,200 hectares of vineyards and over 80 growers; more wine is produced in Châteauneuf than the whole of the northern Rhône put together. The vineyards are bounded to the west by the Rhône river and to the east by the A7 autoroute.

Châteauneuf-du-Pape was the first ever Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée established in France, in 1932. Small, rounded rocks from the ancient river bed known as galets roulés are a key aspect of what makes Châteauneuf -du-Pape wines so distinctive, with the rocks reflecting heat back into the vines at night, thus increasing ripeness and reducing acidity.

The gloriously rich red wines, redolent of the heat and herbs of the south, are enhanced by the complexity which comes from blending several grape varieties. Fourteen are permitted for reds: GrenacheMouvedreSyrah, Cinsault, Vaccarese, Counoise, Teret Noir, Muscadin, Picpoul Noir, Clairette, Grenache Blanc, Rousanne, Picpoul Gris and Picardin. With red Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Grenache typically dominates with Syrah and Mourvèdre in support.

White Châteauneuf-du-Pape is becoming increasingly sought-after, even though it represents less than 10 percent of the total production. Here, five grapes are permitted: Grenache Blanc, Clairette, Roussanne, Bourboulenc and Picardin.

Recommended Producers: Château de Beaucastel, Clos de Papes, Vieux Télégraphe, Château Rayas,, Domaine de la Charbonnière, Sabon, Château La Nerthe, Domaine Perrin

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Southern Rhône Blend

Southern Rhône Blend

The vast majority of wines from the Southern Rhône are blends. There are 5 main black varieties, although others are used and the most famous wine of the region, Châteauneuf du Pape, can be made from as many as 13 different varieties. Grenache is the most important grape in the southern Rhône - it contributes alcohol, warmth and gentle juicy fruit and is an ideal base wine in the blend. Plantings of Syrah in the southern Rhône have risen dramatically in the last decade and it is an increasingly important component in blends. It rarely attains the heights that it does in the North but adds colour, backbone, tannins and soft ripe fruit to the blend.

The much-maligned Carignan has been on the retreat recently but is still included in many blends - the best old vines can add colour, body and spicy fruits. Cinsault is also backtracking but, if yields are restricted, can produce moderately well-coloured wines adding pleasant-light fruit to red and rosé blends. Finally, Mourvèdre, a grape from Bandol on the Mediterranean coast, has recently become an increasingly significant component of Southern Rhône blends - it often struggles to ripen fully but can add acidity, ripe spicy berry fruits and hints of tobacco to blends.

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Reviews

Customer reviews

Wine Advocate93/100
jancisrobinson.com17/20
Robert Parker90-92/100

Critic reviews

Wine Advocate93/100
A gorgeous wine in the vintage, the 2011 Chateauneuf-du-Pape Cuvee Imperiale Vignes Centenaire comes from 100+-year-old vines and is a field blend of almost all Grenache. Aged completely in concrete tank, it offers a sweet bouquet of black cherry liqueur, blackberry, roasted herbs, melted licorice and smoked earth to go with a voluptuous, up-front and fruit-loaded profile on the palate. While a fair step back from the incredible 2010, its a gorgeous, full-bodied and beautifully balanced effort that will drink well through 2026. Drink 2014-2026.
Jeb Dunnuck - 31/10/2013 Read more
jancisrobinson.com17/20
96% Grenache, 4% 'other' grape varieties. Very dark blackish crimson. Headily potent with some floral notes. Very smooth and polished. Firm with sufficient ripe fruit for the acidity. No excess alcohol nor tannin. One of the more muscular examples. It’s not playing the intense ripe fruit card.
Jancis Robinson MW, jancisrobinson.com – 28 Feb 2013 Read more
Robert Parker90-92/100
The 2011 Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Imperiale Vignes Centenaire, which comes from some of the appellation’s oldest vines (planted in 1901 and 1902), is composed of 90% Grenache and the rest a field blend of other authorized varietals. Aged primarily in tank with a small percentage in barrel, the ripe, dense 2011 is one of the stars of the vintage. Notes of melted road tar, licorice, blackberries, cassis and incense are all present in this super-rich, forward, lush, opulent wine. Enjoy it over the next 10-15 years.

This classic winemaking estate, which employs the well-known Xavier Vignon as their consultant, owns over 45 acres spread throughout Chateauneuf du Pape, with the largest holdings in the north. Raymond Usseglio’s 2011s are very strong efforts.
Robert Parker, Wine Advocate #204, Dec 2012 Read more