Domaine Pierre Usseglio et Fils Chateauneuf-du-Pape Tradition 2006
-International Wine Cellar 92-94
"The 2006 Chateauneuf du Pape Tradition is a brilliant wine, dense ruby/purple with sweet black cherry and blackberry fruit as well as hints of licorice, lavender, and truffle. Concentrated, full-bodied, unctuously textured, with low acidity and ripe tannin, this beauty can be drunk upon release or cellared for 10-12 years.
This estate has been on an outrageous run of successful vintages ever since 1998, no small thanks to the extraordinary efforts of the two brothers, Jean-Pierre and Thierry Usseglio. For them 2005 is a very structured, concentrated, powerful vintage that will require significant cellaring. Their 2006s are among the great successes of that vintage, much more charming and up-front than the 2005s, but concentrated."
-Wine Advocate 91-93
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.