A Superlative New Generation In Provence
By Robert Parker
Domaine Pierre Usseglio, a 53-acre estate in Provence's Châteauneuf du Pape appellation, always made good wine. But when Pierre's sons, Thierry and Jean-Pierre, took over the winemaking at the domaine in the mid-1990s, the quality rose to world-class. Besides their classic Châteauneuf du Pape cuvées, the brothers produce a gorgeous Côtes du Rhône and a very good, inexpensive table wine.
Non-vintage Panorama Vin de Table 86 points.
Non-vintage Panorama Vin de Table
86 points.Mainly merlot, the wine has notes of spice, earth, black fruits, and some dusty tannins. It has a lean and sinewy finish. $12
2005 Côtes du Rhône 88 points.
2005 Côtes du Rhône
88 points.Made with 90% grenache and 10% mourvèdre, the wine reveals nice berry fruit with some spice, pepper, and dusty, loamy notes. It is dark ruby, medium-bodied, and fleshy, but with good acidity and light tannin. Drink it over the next four to five years. $16
2005 Châteauneuf du Pape Tradition 92-94 points.
2005 Châteauneuf du Pape Tradition
92-94 points.Dense purple in color, this wine displays notes of raspberry, black cherry, and even some black currant and licorice. Medium- to full-bodied, with good acidity, moderate tannin, and outstanding ripeness and length, it will be at its best in two to three years and drink well for 12 to 15. $25-$35
2003 Châteauneuf du Pape Tradition 92 points.
2003 Châteauneuf du Pape Tradition
92 points.The 2003 Tradition is a full-bodied peppery wine that, having notes of lavender, herbs, and sweet black cherries and raspberries, oozes with the essence of Provence. Some licorice, saddle leather, and salty sea breeze notes also make it into the character of this concentrated wine, which is silky enough to drink now or cellar for 10 to 12 years. $30-$40
2004 Châteauneuf du Pape Cuvée de Mon Aïeul 94 points.
2004 Châteauneuf du Pape Cuvée de Mon Aïeul
94 points.This 100% grenache cuvée exhibits a deep ruby purple color and a wonderful sweet nose of black cherry, raspberry, licorice, spice box, and roasted herbs. With full body and decent acidity, this wine should drink beautifully for 12 to 15 or more years. $75-$100
2003 Châteauneuf du Pape Cuvée de Mon Aïeul 97 points.
2003 Châteauneuf du Pape Cuvée de Mon Aïeul
97 points.One of the vintage's most profound wines, this Cuvée de Mon Aïeul has a dense purple color as well as a glorious nose of blackberries, licorice, smoke, and some hints of roasted meats and dried herbs. Amazingly opulent with extraordinary purity, it leaves a huge tactile impression on the palate without being heavy. Anticipated maturity: now to 2020+. $95-$121
2003 Châteauneuf du Pape Réserve des Deux Frères 98 points.
2003 Châteauneuf du Pape Réserve des Deux Frères
98 points.This wine has a high, 16.5% alcohol content, but you would never know that from tasting it. Dense purple to the rim, with a huge nose of scorched earth, blackberry and blueberry liqueur, crème de cassis, and roasted meat juices, it also has a hint of Provençal herbs interwoven with licorice and a touch of balsamic. The wine is voluptuously textured, with striking body, low acidity, and amazing concentration. This fabulous bottle should drink well for 20+ years. $170-$202
Wines rated from 96-100 are extraordinary; 90-95, excellent; 80-89, above average to very good. For more Parker picks, go to businessweek.com/extras.
Robert Parker is the world's most influential wine critic. Visit www.eRobertParker.com to see tens of thousands of tasting notes, buy his books, or subscribe to his newsletter, The Wine Advocate.