2012 Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Imperiale

Raymond Usseglio

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Average Score 95.0

My favorite of the lineup, and one of the top Châteauneufs in the vintage, the 2012 Châteauneuf du Pape Imperiale is 95% Grenache (5% other varieties) that comes from 100-year-old vines and the pure sand soils of the Piallon (near Rayas) and Girardette (near Charbonnière) lieux-dits. It offers awesome black and blue fruits, violets, licorice and crushed rock-like minerality in its full-bodied, balanced, pure and elegant profile. Impressively concentrated, inky colored and with sweet tannin, it’s capable of evolving for 12-15 years or more.||The talented Stephane Usseglio, who took over from his father, Francis, in 2004, continues to manage this estate's roughly 45 acres brilliantly. They produce two whites and up to four red Châteauneuf du Papes in any vintage. The whites include the classic Châteauneuf du Pape Blanc, which is roughly a third each of Roussanne, Grenache and Clairette that’s aged 80% in stainless steel and 20% in barrels; as well as the Cuvée Pure Roussanne, which is, as the name suggests, all Roussanne and doesn’t go through malolactic fermentation. It’s aged, on lees, in new barrels. For the reds, they have two traditional cuvées, the traditional Châteauneuf du Pape and the Cuvée Giruad, which is a custom blend for importer Peter Weygandt. I find these more similar than not. They also have a Mourvedre-dominated cuvée called Part Des Anges, as well as a fabulous, old-vine Grenache effort called Cuvee Impreiale. I’ve also include reviews on their Côtes du Rhônes here, which all showed beautifully., 2014

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