2020 Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Cuvée Impériale, Domaine Raymond Usseglio & Fils, Rhône

2020 Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Cuvée Impériale, Domaine Raymond Usseglio & Fils, Rhône

Product: 20208015255
Prices start from £54.00 per bottle (75cl). Buying options
2020 Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Cuvée Impériale, Domaine Raymond Usseglio & Fils, Rhône

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Description

Made 90% from low-yielding, 100-year-old Grenache vines; the remainder is mixed varieties of the oldest vines of the domaine. Aged 100% in concrete eggs and “tulips”. The nose is wildly fragrant, with roses, lilacs, strawberries, wild blueberries and a touch of menthol. The palate is rich but chiselled, showing surprising restraint given the nose and layered with super-fine tannins.

Drink 2024 to 2040

Georgina Haacke, Wine Buyer, Berry Bros. & Rudd (Mar 2022)

wine at a glance

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Critics reviews

Jeb Dunnuck95-97/100
The 2020 Châteauneuf Du Pape Cuvée Impériale is also straight-up gorgeous. Based on very old vine Grenache, it reveals a dense purple hue to go with brilliant red and blue fruits as well as notes of violets, candied orange, spice, and a kiss of cracked pepper. Rich, medium to full-bodied, pure, and seamless on the palate, it has the vintage's fresh, focused texture and is going to deliver the goods over the coming 15-20 years.

Jeb Dunnuck, jebdunnuck.com (Feb 2022) Read more
Decanter95/100

Generous, deep, focused, fruity and defined, this isn't giving away much at this stage, but it certainly has a good sense of freshness and balance. Powerful finish with fairly assertive tannins, with a little dry touch that should soften in time. Long finish. A wine like a finely tailored suit. From Grenache planted in 1901.

Drink 2026 - 2036

Matt Walls, Decanter.com (Oct 2021) Read more

About this WINE

Domaine Raymond Usseglio

Domaine Raymond Usseglio

This third-generation family domaine of Italian origins is run today by Raymond’s son, Stéphane Usseglio. The estate counts 24-hectares in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, all of which have been managed biodynamically since 2011. Their vineyards are divided equally between the galet-strewn parcels around Orange, the sandy soils of Courthézon, and the alluvial, clay soils of the Crau plateau and the village of Bédarrides. Stéphane continues to innovate, using small, new oak barrels alongside the traditional foudres, as well as experimenting with concrete and terracotta amphorae of all shapes and sizes.

His ’20s are powerful, filled with structure and concentration, but also surprising freshness. Their complexity leaves you going back for more, and they are undoubtedly very age worthy.

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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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