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Posts from the ‘Châteauneuf-du-Pape’ Category

2006 Domaine Pierre Usseglio & Fils Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée de mon Aïeul – Bottle Notes

The 2006 Usseglio mon Aïeul was the winning bottle in the February Installment of Pick My Next Bottle. The wine was decanted for an hour and served with homemade beef stew.

Pierre Usseglio, not to be confused with Raymond Usseglio (a different winery owned by his brother) was founded in 1948 by Francis Usseglio. Francis moved to the Rhone from Italy in 1931. Francis had two sons, Pierre and Raymond. Pierre took over this domaine and his brother Raymond created his own winery using his name which is how you have two different Usseglio wines in the Southern Rhone Valley today.

Mon Aieul was first bottled in 1998. Most of the fruit comes from old vine Grenache that was planted in 1926.

Crimson in color. 14.5% ABV. Savory nose of red fruits, stones, garrigue and herbes de Provence. Medium body with acidity in spades. Fresh, powerful and concentrated. Kirsch liqueur, iron, cherries and spiced plums on the palate. The finish is exceptionally long with silky tannins. So much to like here. Stunning Chateauneuf-du-Pape from an overlooked vintage. Drink over the next 5-7 years.

My rating: 95 points.

Current vintages of mon Aïeul are attractively priced around $80 per bottle.

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2003 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape – Bottle Notes

Chateau de Beaucastel, located in Courthezon in the Southern Rhone Valley, has over 250 acres of organic vineyards. Unlike many Rhone Valley producers, Beaucastel grows all 13 of the grapes permitted in the appellation and the estate uses an unusually high percentage of Mourvèdre in its red wines, usually around 30%, along with 30% Grenache and smaller amounts of Syrah, Counoise, Cinsault, Vaccarese and Muscardin. The estate’s most prestigious wine, Hommage a Jacques Perrin, is made with 70% Mourvedre. Several families have owned the estate over the course of its 400-year history and the present owners are the Perrin family, whose ownership of the estate dates to 1909.

Ruby red in color. 13.5% ABV. Gorgeous nose of red fruits, iron, leather and Herbes de Provence. Medium body with light to medium acidity. Not showing any of the roasted notes commonly associated with the ’03 vintage but not showing much fruit either. Cherries, kirsch and plums on the palate. Medium length on the finish. Lacks the concentration and power I associate with Beaucastel. Good but somewhat disappointing. Drink over the next year or so.

My rating: 88 points.

Current vintages of Beaucastel including the ’15 are widely available at retail and a good buy in the $90 range.

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1998 Clos des Papes Châteauneuf-du-Pape – Bottle Notes

Clos des Papes is owned by the Avril family, now headed by Paul Avril and his son Vincent. The family has been making wine in Chateauneuf-du-Pape for 300 years. The name Clos des Papes comes from the fact that the original vineyard was part of a papal estate located inside a chateau. The Avril family now owns parcels throughout the Chateauneuf-du-Pape appellation, giving the estate a total of nearly 90 acres of vineyards planted mostly to Grenache, Mourvedre and Syrah.

Light red in color. Almost translucent. 14% ABV. Spellbinding nose of red fruits, iron, kirsch and leather. Light to medium body with perfect acidity. Clean, fresh and elegant. Cherries, black raspberries, garrigue and crushed black pepper on the palate. The finish is incredibly long and silky. Tremendous showing for a CdP approaching 20 years of age. A product of a classic producer and a classic vintage. Drink over the next 2-4 years.

My rating: 96 points.

Current vintages of Clos des Papes are readily available. Look for the the 2014 and 2015 but expect to pay upwards of $100 per bottle.

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2005 Domaine de Cristia “Renaissance” Châteauneuf-du-Pape – Bottle Notes

Domaine de Cristia, founded by Etienne Grangeon in 1942, was originally comprised of 2 hectares of Grenache. It was developed further by the driving force of his son Alain, who joined the domaine in 1963. Passionate about viticulture, he notably contributed to the expansion of the domaine and planted additional grape varieties including Syrah and Mourvèdre and created the identity of Cristia, based on the knowledge and respect of his soils. Today, Domaine de Cristia is managed by Baptiste Grangeon and Dominique Grangeon. Domaine de Cristia produces three red Chateauneuf du Pape wines and a Chateauneuf du Pape Blanc.

Renaissance comes from a blend of 60%, 100 year old vine Grenache and 40% Mourvedre. In some vintages, Syrah is added to the blend.

Violet in color. 15% ABV. Sublime nose of cassis liqueur, soy sauce and lavender. Full bodied with ample acidity and just the slightest bit of heat on the palate. Big, concentrated and powerful. Flavors of raspberry, blueberry, kirsch and white pepper. The finish is long with still substantial tannins. Even at 12 years of this age this wine is a reflection of the 2005 vintage and not for the faint of heart. Drink over the next 4-6 years.

My rating: 93 points.

Current vintages of Renaissance can be found for about $75.

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2006 Clos Saint Jean Châteauneuf-du-Pape Vieilles Vignes – Bottle Notes

Clos Saint Jean was founded in 1900 in Chateauneuf du Pape and is still a small, family-run operation. The estate produces 12,500 cases annually. Brothers Pascal and Vincent Maurel run the business. Clos Saint Jean primarily produces Chateauneuf du Pape, including the Vieilles Vignes and several special cuvees including the Combe des Fous and Deus-Ex Machina. In 2002, Philippe Cambie was hired as consulting oenologist.

Crimson in color. 14.5% ABV. Brooding nose of dried red fruits, charred meats, smoke and blood. Medium body with medium to strong acidity. Concentrated and powerful. Cherries, kirsch, garrigue and licorice on the palate. The finish is long and savory with a substantial tannin presence. This wine flies in the face of those who think Clos Saint Jean can only produce flamboyant, fruit forward CdP. This wine is either a throwback to years past or perhaps a reflection of the more classic 2006 vintage. Super CdP. Drink over the next 2-3 years.

My rating: 92 points.

The ’13 and ’14 are available at retail. Both are great buys right around $50 or so. I’m a buyer.

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2005 Domaine du Pégaü Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Réservée – Bottle Notes

2005 Domaine du Pégaü Châteauneuf-du-Pape was the winning bottle in the June Installment of Pick My Next Bottle.

The family of Domaine du Pegau has roots in Châteauneuf-du-Pape dating back to the mid-17th century. The word Pegau refers to a wine jug discovered in the excavations of the 14th century Pope’s palace in Avignon. Today, the estate is run by the Paul Ferraud and his daughter Laurence. Domaine du Pegau owns 21 hectares of vines in Chateauneuf du Pape.

Light crimson in color. 14% ABV. Stunning nose of red fruits, kirsch, tar and lavender. Medium body with strong acidity. Clean, focused and pure. Balanced and fresh with silky tannins. Cherry, raspberry, garrigue and pepper on the palate. Medium length on the finish. This CdP is deceptively structured and powerful. In a good spot now but should cruise to 20 years of age.

My rating: 93 points.

Current vintages including the 2013 and 2014 can be found had for just about $50. Hard to go wrong with this iconic producer of CdP.

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2004 Domaine Saint Préfert Châteauneuf-du-Pape Réserve Auguste Favier – Bottle Notes

Domaine Saint Prefert dates back almost 100 years, to the early 1920’s, when Fernand Serre purchased an 80 hectare parcel of land. He founded Domaine Saint Prefert in 1930. The winery quickly earned a reputation for making high quality Chateauneuf du Pape and Domaine Saint Prefert became one of the first wines exported from the Southern Rhone to the United States. In 2002, Isabel Ferrando, a former banker who learned about winemaking in the Gigondas appellation at Domaine Raspail-Ay, purchased the vineyard and winery from the Serre family. Philippe Cambie is her consultant.

Ruby red in color. 14.5% ABV. Savory nose of red fruits, cedar and grilled meats. Medium body with ample acidity. Powerful yet restrained. Emblematic of the ’04 vintage with great, pure flavors but not in any way over the top. Cherries, garrigue, blood and kirsch on the palate. The finish is very long with silky tannins. This CdP has it all. Structure, fruit, tannins and acid. What a pleasure. Drink over the next 2-3 years.

My rating: 93 points.

Consider buying current vintages including the ’13 and ’14 in the $40 to $50 range.

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1999 Domaine du Pégaü Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Réservée – Bottle Notes

The family of Domaine du Pegau has roots in Châteauneuf-du-Pape dating back to the mid-17th century. The word Pegau refers to a wine jug discovered in the excavations of the 14th century Pope’s palace in Avignon. Today, the estate is run by the Paul Ferraud and his daughter Laurence.

Light red in color. 13.5% ABV. Soaring nose of red and black fruits, mint, leather and a hint of barnyard. Complex, concentrated and and rustic. Cherries, kirsch, garrigue and iron on the palate. The finish is exceptionally long with silky tannins. This wine picks up weight with time in the glass. Still singing at 18 years of age. Beautiful now and over the the next 2-4 years.

My rating: 93 points.

Current vintages including the 2013 and 2014 can be found had for just about $50. Hard to go wrong with this iconic producer of CdP.

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2000 Vieux Télégraphe Châteauneuf-du-Pape – Bottle Notes

Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, in the Rhone Valley, was founded in 1898 by Hippolyte Brunier. Located on the highest terrace of the appellation, the domaine was named for an 18th century telegraph relay tower located nearby. Today the 173-acre domaine is run by Daniel and Frederic Brunier, the great grandsons of the founder. Vieux Télégraphe is one of the appellation’s most admired estates. The vineyards are planted to 65% Grenache, 15% Syrah, 15% Mourvedre and 5% Cinsault and other grapes.

Garnet in color. 14% ABV. Gorgeous nose of red fruits, garrigue, white pepper and seaweed. Medium body with medium to strong acidity. Big and bold with noticeable tannins. Cherries, kirsch, minerals and iron on the palate. The finish is long and somewhat tannic. Classically structured Chateauneuf from a traditional producer. I’d be inclined to drink over the next several years while there is enough fruit to balance out the tannins.

My rating: 92 points.

I previously wrote about Vieux Télégraphe in 2010 Châteauneuf-du-Pape: My Recommendations. The ’12 version of this wine is spectacular and still available at retail for about $60 per bottle. Happy hunting!

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1998 Vieux Télégraphe Châteauneuf-du-Pape – Bottle Notes

The 1998 Vieux Télégraphe was the winning bottle in the November Installment of Pick My Next Bottle. The bottle was not decanted and was served with Thanksgiving Dinner.

Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, in the Rhone Valley, was founded in 1898 by Hippolyte Brunier. Located on the highest terrace of the appellation, the domaine was named for an 18th century telegraph relay tower located nearby. Today the 173-acre domaine is run by Daniel and Frederic Brunier, the great grandsons of the founder. Vieux Télégraphe is one of the appellation’s most admired estates. The vineyards are planted to 65% Grenache, 15% Syrah, 15% Mourvedre and 5% Cinsault and other grapes.

Light red in color. Almost translucent. 14% ABV. Restrained nose of red fruits, kirsch, iron and herbes de Provence. Medium body with plenty of acidity. Precise and complex with pure, sweet fruit. Dried cherries, garrigue, iron and game on the palate. The wine picks up weight and becomes more intense with time in the glass. The finish is exceptionally long. Aging beautifully. Well stored bottles will drink well for another 2-4 years.

My rating: 94 points.

I previously wrote about Vieux Télégraphe in 2010 Châteauneuf-du-Pape: My Recommendations. The ’12 version of this wine is spectacular and still available at retail for about $60 per bottle. Happy hunting!

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