2012 Domaine Raymond Usseglio & Fils Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Imperiale

2012 Domaine Raymond Usseglio & Fils Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Imperiale

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A past Wine Access story about 2012 Domaine Raymond Usseglio & Fils Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Imperiale

Drawn from 100+ year-old vines near Château Rayas.

The 100-Point Vigneron and 100-Year-Old Vines

Collectors, take note: The 2012 Domaine Raymond Usseglio & Fils “Cuvée Impériale” is one of the most outstanding wines we’ve tasted this year. We weren’t the only ones impressed, either. Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate dropped 95 points on the “fabulous” 2012, calling it “one of the top Châteauneufs of the vintage,” while Vinous and Wine Spectator followed up with matching 94-point scores. Drawn from 100+ year-old vines that thrived in a lengthy, sun-drenched growing season in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, the 2012 “Cuvée Impériale” is “impressively concentrated,” “balanced, pure and elegant,” and an exceedingly good value. Crafted by third-generation winemaker Stéphane Usseglio alongside 100-point super-enologist Xavier Vignon, what could easily pass for an $100 bottle impresses all the more for $65.99.

The ancient-vine Grenache that comprises Stéphane Usseglio’s “Cuvée Impériale” is drawn from the center-cut Piallon and Girardette lieux dits, planted in 1902. Piallon, located near legendary Château Rayas, and Girardette, near Domaine de la Charbonnière, grow on pure sand soils, creating a rugged environment for Grenache. To get the nutrients they need, vines must spider deep into the substrata. This leads to striking complexity in the wine, with crushed rock-like minerality accenting black raspberry, blueberry, and boysenberry. In 2012, the century-old vines responded to drought conditions by producing immensely concentrated, thick-skinned berries loaded with flavor.

If the “Cuvée Impériale” is one of the stars of the 2012 vintage as well as one of the greatest wines to come off of the estate, its success is clearly rooted in the past. Hundred-year-old vines aside, the tradition of winemaking in Stéphane Usseglio’s family goes back to his grandfather, Francis, who moved to Châteauneuf from Italy in 1931 to create what is now Domaine Pierre Usseglio. Stéphane’s father, Raymond, founded his own estate in 1964, and Stéphane took charge in 2004, continuing a legacy that is one of the most consistent in the southern Rhône.

Expert Ratings and Reviews

95 Points Wine Advocate, 2013
95 Points Wine Advocate, 2014
94 Points Wine Spectator, 2009
94 Points Wine Spectator, 2015

Customer Ratings

Based on 6 ratings

About Chateauneuf-du-Pape

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