Domaine Pierre Usseglio et Fils Chateauneuf-du-Pape Mon Aieul 2001
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
More precise and focused than the more exuberant, sexy and rounded '00, the 2001 Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee de Mon Aieul is borderline perfection (I seriously considered adding a point here) and a monumental Chateauneuf du Pape that is drinking at point. Kirsch, olive tapenade, roasted meats, tobacco and assorted mature Grenache characteristics give way to a full-bodied, massively endowed, concentrated, gorgeously layered wine that's just about as good as it gets. I kept coming back to this over the evening and it got better and better with air, so while fully mature, it's not going anywhere soon.
Meaning Ancestor, and named in honor of Thierry and Jean–Pierre Usseglio’s grandfather, the 2001 Domaine Pierre Usseglio & Fils Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée de mon Aïeul, 100% Grenache that was aged all in concrete tank, is a benchmark Châteauneuf that is the essence of old vine Grenache. Yielding gorgeous aromatics of kirsch and blackberry styled fruits that are supported by garrigue, meat juice, licorice, and spice, the wine is full bodied on the palate and shows a perfect texture, beautiful poise and focus, and a seamless, very long finish. Hard to fault and this does almost everything right. It should continue to improve for another 2-3 years, and drink well for 10-15 after that. This is a gorgeous wine that every CDP lover needs in the cellar.
This shows some surprisingly mature aromas of cèpe, roasted apple wood and mulled spice, along with plenty of lightly stewed plum, fig and black currant fruit. But light briar and juniper notes fill in on the finish and this still has cut and drive, thanks to racy acidity. Lots of character here.
Famous for its full-bodied, seductive and spicy reds with flavor and aroma characteristics reminiscent of black cherry, baked raspberry, garrigue, olive tapenade, lavender and baking spice, Chateauneuf-du-Pape is the leading sub-appellation of the southern Rhône River Valley. Large pebbles resembling river rocks, called "galets" in French, dominate most of the terrain. The stones hold heat and reflect it back up to the low-lying gobelet-trained vines. Though the galets are typical, they are not prominent in every vineyard. Chateau Rayas is the most obvious deviation with very sandy soil.
According to law, eighteen grape varieties are allowed in Chateauneuf-du-Pape and most wines are blends of some mix of these. For reds, Grenache is the star player with Mourvedre and Syrah coming typically second. Others used include Cinsault, Counoise and occasionally Muscardin, Vaccarèse, Picquepoul Noir and Terret Noir.
Only about 6-7% of wine from Chateauneuf-du-Pape is white. Blends and single-varietal bottlings are typically based on the soft and floral Grenache Blanc but Clairette, Bourboulenc and Roussanne are grown with some significance.
The wine of Chateauneuf-du-Pape takes its name from the relocation of the papal court to Avignon. The lore says that after moving in 1309, Pope Clément V (after whom Chateau Pape-Clément in Pessac-Léognan is named) ordered that vines were planted. But it was actually his successor, John XXII, who established the vineyards. The name however, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, translated as "the pope's new castle," didn’t really stick until the 19th century.