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2016 Domaine Pierre Usseglio & Fils Cuvee de Mon Aieul Chateauneuf du Pape
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- Cellar Drink Now - 8 years (2019-2027)
- ABV 16%
- Closure: Cork
Very deep dark red black core with a bright dark red hue. Wafting from the glass are hedonistic aromas of black raspberry, black cherry and liquorice which intermix with earthy incense, provincial herb and spicy pepper notes along the way. Engulfing the decadently rich palate are black raspberry and kirsch liqueur like flavours which boast monumental power and concentration. Liquorice, infusions of incense, provincial herbs, subtle scorched earth, spice and pepper elements also chime in. Firm yet very polished tannins give the otherwise opulent mouthfeel a slight sense of chewiness. Finishes magnificently with an epically long aftertaste that seemingly sails on forever.
Drink over the next 6-8 years.
When you consider what this estate has accomplished over the past two decades, it’s easy to include Domaine Pierre Usseglio as not only one of the top addresses in Châteauneuf-du-Pape but in all of France as well. They have been on a sensational roll since 1998 and have yet to put a foot wrong. And that’s apparent with these latest 2016s, which I believe are the best wines ever produced here. In addition to the Châteauneuf-du-Pape releases, the estate makes a fabulous Côtes du Rhône and Lirac, both of which over-deliver.
Getting more than one exclamation in the notes, the 2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée de Mon Aïeul is a deep, rich yet vibrant red that offers a kaleidoscope of kirsch liqueur, garrigue, crushed flowers, Asian spices, and cured meats. It's more opulent and sexier than the 2010, fresher and purer than the 2007, has deep, full-bodied aromas and flavors, and a huge finish. It's a sensational, heavenly Châteauneuf-du-Pape that tops out my scale. This cuvée is 100% Grenache that was not destemmed and was aged in 20% demi-muids and the balance in concrete tanks. Drink 2021-2041.
Fans of super ripe, rich, lusty Grenache-based wines will continue to enjoy the current crop of offerings from Thierry Usseglio at the domaine named for his father. These are not shy, demure wines, but despite their massive ripeness (sometimes exceeding 16% alcohol), they still show a modicum of elegance. The tannins are always supple, the extraction gentle, and the wines show no hard edges—the word zaftig comes to mind. "What's unusual about 2016 is the combination of concentration and freshness," said Usseglio, who used 30% to 40% whole clusters in his regular Châteauneuf du Pape that year. "It's interesting for the spice and balance," he said. In 2017, given the tiny crop, he backed off on the proportion of whole clusters, dropping down to 20%.
All Grenache, all whole cluster and from parcels in the lieux-dits of La Guigasse, Le Crau and Les Serres, the 2016 Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee de Mon Aieul has evolved beautifully since I tasted it last year, showing vibrant floral and tea-like notes, raspberry fruit and hints of licorice. It's full-bodied, rich and velvety, with overtones of spice cake on the long, crisp finish. Tasting it, I was surprised to find out what the alcohol level was, because it showed no obvious heat—a testament to how much else is going on here. Drink 2018-2030.
Joe Czerwinski – Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate