2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Cuvée Impériale, Domaine Raymond Usseglio & Fils, Rhône

2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Cuvée Impériale, Domaine Raymond Usseglio & Fils, Rhône

Product: 20168015255
Prices start from £215.00 per case Buying options
2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Cuvée Impériale, Domaine Raymond Usseglio & Fils, Rhône

Description

Centurion Grenache vines, Imperial Centurions one might say, all matured in concrete, therefore a pure and completely unadorned expression of the quality of the fruit, all the more so as there has been only three grams of sulphur added here. Astonishingly energising.
Drink 2022-2030.
Simon Field MW, Wine Buyer
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Critics reviews

Wine Advocate95/100
Wine Advocate95/100
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.
Joe Czerwinski - 31/08/2018 Read more

About this WINE

Domaine Raymond Usseglio

Domaine Raymond Usseglio

Stéphane Usseglio, Raymond’s son, now runs this 30-hectare estate. It is managed biodynamically, and his vineyards are divided equally between the galet-strewn parcels around Orange and Courthézon, and the sandier, chalkier soils heading south towards the Crau plateau and the village of Bédarrides. Two-thirds of the vineyards fall within the Châteauneuf-du-Pape appellation.

His wines are now every bit as good as his distant cousins at Domaine Pierre Usseglio, and are steadily receiving more attention – yet they remain excellent value. Stéphane continues to innovate, using small oak barrels alongside the traditional foudres, and experimenting with concrete and terracotta amphorae. His 2019 wines have the power and concentration you might expect from such a warm vintage, but enough clarity of fruit to ensure balance and, no doubt, longevity.

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Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Châteauneuf-du-Pape

The most celebrated village of the Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape is the birthplace of the now indispensable French Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée system – imperfect though it may be. Compared to the Northern Rhône, the vineyards here are relatively flat and often feature the iconic galet pebbles – the precise benefits of which are a source of much debate. Minimum alcohol levels required by the AOC are the highest in France, but at 12.5% it is well below the natural generosity of Grenache, which only achieves its full aromatic potential when it is fully ripe and laden with the resultant high sugars. Syrah and Mourvèdre contribute the other defining elements in the blend, adding pepper, savoury spice and structure to the decadent Grenache. There are a further 10 permitted red grape varieties which can be used to adjust the “seasoning”. Of the five white varieties permitted, it is Grenache Noir’s sibling – predictably perhaps – Grenache Blanc, which dominates, though Roussanne shows a great deal of promise when handled well, notably at Château de Beaucastel.

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Grenache/Garnacha

Grenache/Garnacha

Grenache (Noir) is widely grown and comes in a variety of styles. Believed to originate in Spain, it was, in the late 20th century, the most widely planted black grape variety in the world. Today it hovers around seventh in the pecking order. It tends to produce very fruity, rich wines that can range quite widely in their level of tannin.

In many regions – most famously the Southern Rhône, where it complements Syrah and Mourvèdre, among other grapes – it adds backbone and colour to blends, but some of the most notable Châteauneuf du Pape producers (such as Château Rayas) make 100 percent Grenache wines. The grape is a component in many wines of the Languedoc (where you’ll also find its lighter-coloured forms, Grenache Gris and Blanc) and is responsible for much southern French rosé – taking the lead in most Provence styles.

Found all over Spain as Garnacha Tinta (spelt Garnaxa in Catalonia), the grape variety is increasingly detailed on wine labels there. Along with Tempranillo, it forms the majority of the blend for Rioja’s reds and has been adopted widely in Navarra, where it produces lighter styles of red and rosado (rosé). It can also be found operating under a pseudonym, Cannonau, in Sardinia.

 

Beyond Europe, Grenache is widely planted in California and Australia, largely thanks to its ability to operate in high temperatures and without much water. Particularly in the Barossa Valley, there are some extraordinary dry-farmed bush vines, some of which are centuries old and produce wines of startling intensity.

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