The 2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Vieilles Vignes is cut from the same cloth, yet ratchets the intensity level up another notch. Possessing lots of dark fruits (and some blue fruits), beautiful minerality, notes of garrigue, roasted meats and melted licorice and full-bodied richness, this big, unctuous beauty may just surpass the 2010 (which has drunk incredibly well since release). I’ve written so many glowing reviews on the wines of Clos Saint Jean I sometimes feel like a broken record. Nevertheless, this estate continues to go from strength to strength and has yet to make a misstep since I’ve been reviewing the wines. The estate makes five separate red cuvees: a traditional cuvee based largely on Grenache from all the estate parcels; a Vieilles Vignes cuvee that’s slightly more Grenache dominated and from older vines (this cuvee is only for the US Market); the Combe des Fous based on Grenache, Syrah and Vaccarèse; the Sanctus Sanctorum which is 100% Grenache all from a single parcel in the la Crau lieu-dit; and lastly the Deus Ex Machina which is a 60/40 split of Grenache and Mourvèdre. Any of the three special cuvees would suffice as a desert island wine for yours truly.
Lurid ruby. An expansive bouquet displays candied red fruit, potpourri and smoky mineral qualities, and a spicy nuance builds as the wine opens up. Palate-staining raspberry, cherry and floral pastille flavors show very good depth and clarity and no rough edges. The floral quality carries through a very long, sappy finish framed by smooth, well-knit tannins. (JR)
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2016 Raymond Usseglio "Cuvée Impériale - Vignes Centenaires" Châteauneuf-du-Pape (Pre-Arrival)