2017 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc, Pure Roussanne, Domaine Raymond Usseglio

2017 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc, Pure Roussanne, Domaine Raymond Usseglio

Product: 20178031680
Prices start from £285.00 per case Buying options
2017 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc, Pure Roussanne, Domaine Raymond Usseglio

Description

This 100% Roussanne fermented in barrel is quite frankly rather delicious. As you would expect from this luxurious vintage, this wine certainly isn’t shy, with a weightiness derived from its waxy texture. Ripe stone-fruit combined with notes of honey provide an enjoyable contrast with its bright acidity and herbal top note. Drink now to 2029.
Fiona Hayes, Rhône Buyer
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Available by the case In Bond. Pricing excludes duty and VAT, which must be paid separately before delivery. Find out more.
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6 x 75cl bottle
BBX marketplace BBX 1 case £285.00

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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White Rhône Blend

White Rhône Blend

With the exception of the wines from Condrieu and Château-Grillet virtually all Rhône Valley whites are made from blends.

In the north, the white wines of Hermitage, Crozes-Hermitage, St-Joseph, and St-Péray are produced from blends of Marsanne and Roussanne. Generally Marsanne is the dominant partner and it lends colour, body and weight to the blend, as well as richly scented fruit. Roussanne, a notoriously low yielder and pernickety to grow, produces intensely aromatic wines which contribute bouquet, delicacy and finesse to the blend.

Until about 15 years ago there was very little interest in southern Rhône whites as it was widely believed that the combination of dull non aromatic grapes and the baking summer heat meant quality wine production was nigh impossible. Since then the quality has improved markedly through the introduction of cool fermentation techniques and increased plantings of northern Rhône white grapes.

The base of many blends is still Grenache Blanc, a widely planted variety producing fresh wines with apple-like fruits, often with hints of aniseed. Ugni Blanc is still found in many blends, as is Clairette though their general lack of character and definition has led to a reduction in plantings. The future for southern Rhône whites appears to lie with Roussanne, Marsanne, and, increasingly, Viognier.

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