MCF Rare Wine

Chateauneuf du Pape Week (Cont'd):
Domaine Raymond Usseglio Cuvée Imperiale

"Got any good Chateauneuf?"

"As a matter of fact..."

One of the seemingly random oddities of selling wine is that there will be a cluster of requests for a specific type of wine that will suddenly occur at times. And I'm not referring to only the more well-known varietals or regions. I will go a year at least without fielding an inquiry for a Vin Jaune and then all of a sudden I'll have three different people on the same day asking me about Vin Jaune. I trust that at times these requests are spurred by some article on the internet or in a newspaper that I haven't read but I've done some search engine investigation into these clustered asks before and often come up empty-handed for an easy explanation. Willing to listen to any theories, scientific or paranormal, that anyone may have to offer on this phenomenon!

I mention these 'occurrences' above because this week I've been asked multiple times about Chateauneuf du Pape. While admittedly a far more common request than Vin Jaune, I can confidently call the volume of Chateauneuf solicitations this week to be 'abnormal' and all have curiously and coincidentally come in advance of two planned offers on a couple of eminent producers from the region, Domaine de Ferrand (this past Wednesday's newsletter) and today's producer, Domaine Raymond Usseglio.

Whether this upsurge in Chateauneuf du Pape interest is the result of some sort of Dionysian collective consciousness at work, I may never know, but I will say that whatever is spurring these requests, they are a fine idea. A well-produced Chateauneuf du Pape is another perfect wine for Fall. It is rich and spicy with plenty of fruit while stopping short of its more traditionally powerful and wintry brethren (Bordeaux, Taurasi, Amarone, Cali Cabs, etc.). The acidity of the predominantly Grenache-based blends along with the tendency of producers to vinify in concrete and stainless steel lend Chateauneufs the right amount of freshness to make them quite friendly to a great variety of cuisines.

The selection of back vintage Cuvée Imperiales that we have here today from Raymond Usseglio wonderfully embody Chateauneuf's exuberant and versatile nature. Produced from Grenache vines that are over 110 years old, the Cuveée Imperiale is the premier bottling in the 55-year old winery's impressive lineup of Southern Rhone beauties. Elegant, perfumed, dark, red-fruited, herbaceous, smoky and earthy with impressive length both on the palate and in the cellar, Stephane Usseglio (Raymond's son) only produces about 250 cases per year of Imperiale and these are always magnificent, first-rate wines even in more challenging vintages.

Each vintage on offer today ('11 and '12 in Magnum and '13 in 750ml) is both approachable and ageworthy, a frequent and appealing combo in great Chateuneufs. These are bottles that you can enjoy now while also happily tracking their progress over the next decade or two as well. On balance, they skew towards the delicate side of Chateauneuf in their relative youth with lovely and appealing aromatics but they will also continue to take on more weight and depth as they age.

We have just over 5 cases of the 2013 750s available and a little more than that for both the 2011 and 2012 magnums.  So whether you came to this email with an already established uncanny desire for Chateauneuf or I have just been able to pique your interest with my descriptions, make sure to get your orders in.

Raymond Usseglio Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Imperiale 2013 750 ml $55/bottle
Raymond Usseglio Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Imperiale 2011 MAGNUM $149/bottle (NET)
Raymond Usseglio Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Imperiale 2012 MAGNUM $159/bottle (NET)

Discount of 10% applies for the 2013 750s in case orders.

These wines are pre-arrival but will be arriving at the shop very shortly.

You may order by emailing or calling 732.675.4623 or 212.255.8870.

Chris Conway
MCF Rare Wine, Ltd
249 West 13th Street NYC 10014