Domaine Pierre Usseglio has risen to such prominence over the past two decades, it must be considered as not only one of the top addresses in Chateauneuf-du-Pape but in all of France.
The name Usseglio is well-regarded in the region. It started back in 1949 when Francis Usseglio, after leaving Italy to work the vineyards of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, produced his first vintage. His two sons both made winemaking their life’s work, with Pierre taking over, and expanding, the family estate, while Raymond went on to build his own remarkable winemaking operation. Today, Domaine Pierre Usseglio is run by Pierre’s two sons, Jean-Pierre and Thierry. Clearly, wine runs through the family’s veins.
Presently, the estate covers nearly 100 acres, 59 acres are dedicated to Châteauneuf-du-Pape red, 2.5 acres to Châteauneuf-du-Pape white, 14 acres in Lirac, 14 acres in Côtes-du-Rhône, and 5 acres that produce their Vin de France.
Half of the estate’s vines are over 65 years old, with the other half over 40 years old. Yields are very low and the harvest is always manual with highly selective sorting. The result is wines that are both lush and powerful, with loads of red fruit and spices.
2016 is being heralded as one of the finest vintages in Châteauneuf-du-Pape in the past few decades, with some winemakers even comparing it to the epic 1990 vintage. Warm conditions throughout 2016, along with reduced yields, have resulted in wines of superb concentration. Don’t miss out on this monumental vintage. Join us this Saturday to see what the fuss is about.
Saturday Sips Review Package (6-Pack for $200 All-Included): Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Lirac, and Côtes-du-Rhône from a Next-Generation Star Estate
The price for this Saturday Sips Review Package includes tax and delivery, as well as a 15% discount. We will also honor a 10% discount on any bottles you might wish to add to the package.
1 BOTTLE Châteauneuf-du-Pape (2016) RED, Regular Price: $62
A blend of 80% Grenache, 10% Syrah and 5% each Cinsault and Mourvèdre from soils of sand, clay, limestone, and rolled pebbles. This diversity of terroir allows for complex and balanced wines. The vines are between 40 and 75 years old. Maturation takes place in oak barrel, demi-muids, and concrete vats over a period of 12 months. It’s a wine that’s deceptively easy to drink, with intoxicating notes of raspberries and chocolate that transition to a long and smooth finish.
2 BOTTLES Lirac (2017) RED, Regular Price: $35
A blend of 60% Grenache, 15% Syrah, 15% Mourvèdre, and 10% Cinsault from clay and pebble soils. The vines are around forty years old. The grapes are harvested manually and completely destemmed. The wines are aged in concrete vats and demi-muids over a period of 12 months. The 2017 Lirac is a sturdy, solidly built wine loaded with notes of plum, cola and spice. It’s full-bodied, finishing warm and velvety.
3 BOTTLES Côtes-du-Rhône (2016) RED, Regular Price: $30
A blend of 60% Grenache, 20% Mourvèdre, and 20% Cinsault from sandy and stony soils in several sites adjoining Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The wine matures for six months in concrete vats and is bottled in the spring after harvest. This 2016 vintage Côtes-du-Rhône overdelivers in every way, drinking much like a baby Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Cherry liqueur and hints of chocolate lead into a dense and creamy finish.
Although Bourgogne Régional AOCs are the first step in classification, and around 50% of the greater region’s production, not all of its wines are created equal. A savvy consumer (with the help of their knowledgeable local wine merchant) can find excellent values by purchasing regional wine from the area’s top producers.
In many cases the vineyards that produce the fruit for these wines lie near (sometimes even in) more prestigious appellations, quite often separated by mere feet. The vineyards tend to be located along the foot of the wine-growing slopes on limestone soils mixed with some clays and marls, depending on the geographical situation.
This Saturday’s tasting and 6-pack sampler is a great introduction into the region that won’t make too much of a dent into the wine budget. And if you’ve already succumbed to the beguiling beauty of Burgundy’s wines, the sampler provides a nice mix to drink now or lay down for a couple of years while you’re waiting for your more prestigious bottles to develop.
(6-Pack Sampler for $220 All-Included) – Accessible Côte de Beaune and Côte de Nuits Burgundy: “Bourgogne Régional AOC” from 3 Top Producers
This 6-Pack Sampler contains two different bottles from each of these three renowned producers. The price includes tax and delivery, as well as a 10% discount. We will also honor a 10% discount on any bottles you might wish to add to the package.
Domaine Thibault Liger-Belair
Cousin to Vicomte Liger-Belair of La Romanée fame, in 2001 Thibault Liger-Belair took over storied family property in Nuits-Saint-Georges, reclaiming vineyards which had been contracted out to various sharecroppers and creating a new domaine under his own name. The properties include some of the most hallowed vineyards in Burgundy: The Grands Crus of Richebourg and Clos de Vougeot, as well as the Premier Cru of Les Saint-Georges that is one of the few vineyards in modern-era Burgundy to be considered for promotion to Grand Cru.
“Les Grands Chaillots” (Bourgogne 2017) RED Regular Price: $45
100% Pinot Noir. An assemblage of different terroirs located in the Côte d’Or. A third comes from the vineyards of an estate in Nuits-Saint-Georges and two-thirds comes from other appellations such as Marsannay, Côtes de Nuits, Beaune, and Ladoix-Serrigny.
“La Corvée de Villy” (Bourgogne Hautes Côtes de Nuits 2017) RED, Regular Price $50
100% Pinot Noir. Located in the upper reaches of Nuits-Saint-Georges on the Chaux plateau, this 1.75 acre vineyard, planted in 1988, is on very stony soil mainly composed of lava stone.
Vincent Mongeard works about 74 acres spread over 35 appellations. While the estate is based in Vosne-Romanée, like Thibault Liger-Belair he produces wines from some of the most cherished parcels in all of Burgundy, including Richebourg, Grands-Échezeaux, Échezeaux, Clos de Vougeot, and Vosne-Romanée Les Suchots. All parcels are worked sustainably (la lutte raisonée) with a focus on soil health. Fruit is harvested exclusively by hand and manually sorted in the winery. Fermentation begins naturally with indigenous yeasts.
(Bourgogne 2018) RED, Regular Price: $35
100% Pinot Noir from a six acre plot of 28-55 year old vines. Soils are Jurassic in origin with broken stones and limestone grit on a deep clay matrix.
“Les Dames Huguetttes” (Bourgogne Hautes Côtes de Nuits 2018) RED, Regular Price: $43
100% Pinot Noir from six acres of calcareous and deep soils on Argovian marls. The average age of vines is 35 years and maturation takes place in one year old barrels.
A most distinguished name in Burgundy, the Carillon estate dates back to 1632. The family still occupies the same site in Puligny-Montrachet, between the church and the old château which belonged to the original nobles of the village. Today François Carillon leads the estate, crafting wines of tradition and finesse. The domaine holds parcels in some of Côte de Beaune’s most famous vineyards: the Grand Cru of Chevalier-Montrachet as well as some of the finest Premier Cru vineyards in Puligny-Montrachet and Chassagne-Montrachet.
(Bourgogne 2018) RED, Regular Price: $32
100% Pinot Noir from 60+ year old vines in Puligny-Montrachet and the hamlet of Corpeau. An ambitious regional wine that sees 12 months aging in 10% new oak barrels.
(Bourgogne Aligoté 2018) WHITE, Regular Price: $28
The other white grape of Burgundy, Carillon’s Aligoté is grown below Puligny-Montrachet and in the hamlet of Corpeau. Fleshy and crisp.
What’s not to like about autumn? Cozy fleece jackets, the musky-sweet smell of a leaf pile, rich meals filled with recently harvested vegetables slow-roasted in the oven…L. M. Montgomery expressed the sentiment gracefully in her novel, Anne of Green Gables, “I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”
This Saturday we are featuring a beautiful selection of Corsican wines selected specifically to enhance the autumn table. As France’s most southerly vineyard area, you might expect the wines of Corsica to be ultra ripe and high in alcohol. In fact, the island’s unique characteristics allow talented producers to achieve the type of depth and character found in some of the world’s most famous winemaking regions. While the Mediterranean sun easily ripens fruit to create warmth and richness, the moderating effects of wind and elevation keep the wines fresh and balanced.
We invite you to explore the landscape of the island through three of its top producers and most significant grape varieties. The featured white wine has plenty of heft to pair with most fall fare while the two red wines will have enough freshness so that they won’t become cumbersome as the meal stretches on. It’s almost as if Burgundy met the Mediterranean and had three “love children” and we put them in a box just for you.
6-Pack Sampler ($240 All-Included): Corsican Wines to Complement Autumn Food from Three of the Island’s Top Producers
This 6-Pack Sampler contains two bottles from each of these three renowned producers. The price includes tax and delivery, as well as a 10% discount. We will also honor a 10% discount on any bottles you might wish to add to the package.
Clos Canarelli (Corse Figari 2016) RED, Regular Price: $49
Possessing abundant freshness, complexity, and aromatic intensity, the wines of Yves Canarelli are some of the most celebrated and sought after from the island. A blend of mostly Niellucciu (closely related to the Italian Sangiovese) with around 15% each of Syrah and Sciacarellu. The fruit is from the granite and red alluvial soils on the southern tip of Corsica in the appellation of Corse Figari. Ripe, red fruits blend with notes of spice and herbal maquis shrubland that grows on the island’s hills. Plum and cherry fruit show in abundance before leading to a hauntingly long and complex finish.
Domaine Comte Abbatucci “Cuvée Faustine” (Vin de France 2017) RED, Regular Price: $39
Easily one of the top producers in Corsica, Jean-Charles Abbatucci creates majestic and fiercely unique wines from the granitic western coast of Corsica. He has created a pristine poly-culture ecosystem on his estate south of Ajaccio that includes groves of olive trees on ancient terraces, and large swaths of untouched forests. The blend is predominately Sciaccarellu with a healthy portion of Niellucciu. If you don’t spend all of your time inhaling the gorgeous scents emanating from the glass, you’ll get mouthfuls of generous ripe fruit balanced by a lively spine of lengthy minerality.
Domaine Orenga de Gaffory “Cuvée des Gouverneurs” (Patrimonio 2017 ) WHITE, Regular Price: $39
Henri Orenga de Gaffory’s clear passion for vine growing and winemaking allow him to translate Patrimonio’s unique terroirs into wines of balanced structure and aromatic concentration. Practicing organic cultivation, the 138 acre estate is situated in northern Corsica, across a range of terroirs, and is a reference point for the appellation. “Cuvée des Gouverneurs” is 100% Vermentino from limestone, chalk and clay soils and fills a glass with exotic floral notes and mineral undertones. Maturation on the lees in French oak (1/3 new) for six to eight months with regular bâtonnage provides a bold and rich mouthful of fruit.
If you like biodynamic wines, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, and lauded producers, you’ll find them all at this Saturday’s tasting,
One of France’s most influential vignerons, Jean-Paul Daumen is the fifth-generation owner and winemaker of Domaine de la Vieille Julienne. Jean-Paul began his tenure at the family-run estate in 1990 and immediately began building a reputation as one of Southern Rhône’s most esteemed producers. The estate is comprised of 50 acres, in a single block, on the heights of “lieu-dit Clavin” at the northern limit of Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
Time has shaped these north-facing slopes, placing pebbles, gravels, sands, and red clay over safres (a soft sandstone) from the Miocene Epoch, creating a mosaic of various and subtle terroirs. Jean-Paul exploits these varying parcels to create singular, harmonious, and balanced wines. Each of the parcels are field blends with an average age of 60 years, but the estate also has old Grenache vines over 100 years old.
The vines are cultivated using biodynamic principles. Harvests are entirely done by hand into small boxes to preserve the integrity of the fruit, with a first selection in the vineyard and a second selection when the grapes arrive at the winery. Fermentation is completed with indigenous yeasts and sulfites are used sparingly when bottling. Aging takes place in a combination of foudres and old, oak barrels.
All of this meticulous work in the fields and cellar, combined with exceptionally low yields, are what makes Jean-Paul Daumen’s pure and powerful wines some of the most sought after.
Saturday Sips Review: $310 — 3 Expressions of Châteauneuf-du-Pape Terroir From an Exceptional Producer
The price for this Saturday Sips Review Package includes tax and delivery, as well as a 15% discount. We will also honor a 10% discount on any bottles you might wish to add to the package.
1 BOTTLE “Les Hauts-Lieux” (Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2016) RED, Regular Price: $99
The 1.1 acre “Les Hauts-Lieux” is the highest elevation and the most sheltered terroir on the slopes. Marlstone soils and shallow safres are covered with quartzite pebbles and very suitable for Mourvèdre vines. A blend of Grenache, Mourvèdre, Cinsault, and Counoise with an average age of 70 years shape a wine that is both vigorous and elegant.
1 BOTTLE “Les Trois Sources” (Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2016) RED, Regular Price: $77
“Les Trois Sources” is 21 acres located mid slope on a mix of safres, pebbles, and red clays. The blend is a classic mix of Châteauneuf-du-Pape varieties including Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah, Counoise, Mourvèdre, Muscardin, Terret Noir, Vaccarèse, Grenache Blanc, Bourboulenc, Clairette, and Picardan (average age 75 years) producing a wine with the perfect balance of power and finesse
2 BOTTLES “Lieu-Dit Clavin” (Côtes-du-Rhône 2017) RED, Regular Price: $42
85 year old vines on the heights of “lieu-dit Clavin” grow in sand and red clay covering Miocene safres. This is the early maturity part of the slopes, producing tender and seductive wines. 13.6 acres grow this blend of Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Bourboulenc, Clairette and Grenache Blanc.
2 BOTTLES “Lieu-Dit Clavin” (Côtes-du-Rhône 2019) WHITE, Regular Price: $42
The white grape field blend of Clairette, Grenache Blanc, Bourboulenc, Marsanne, Roussane, and Viognier is located on the northern, steeper, and cooler part of the “lieu-dit Clavin” in marlstone and limestone soils. Average age of the vines is 65 years old, helping to create a wine of depth and complexity.
“Réservé” (Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2016) RED, Special Price: $289
Domaine de la Vieille Julienne “Réservé” is only made in the best vintages and only in miniscule amounts. It is one of the rarest wines of the appellation.
“Mid-August, when the vineyard is deserted, I like walking in the vineyard of “les Trois Sources”, receiving vines expressions, tasting berries. At this time, I must be receptive and I must appreciate all the details. Some years, depending on the context of the vintage, some vines show specific expressions. Exclusively in this case, these more than hundred years old vines of Grenache (90%), Syrah, Cinsault and Counoise get marked and vinified separately, producing the Réservé. — Jean-Paul DAUMEN
This Saturday we travel to Spain to explore both its diverse landscape of red wine and four producers who are translating their local terrain into tasty “natural” wine.
The basic definition of “natural wine” is wine that is made by small-scale, hands-on farms that use strict organic and/or biodynamic cultivation techniques, spontaneous fermentations with indigenous yeasts, and very little to no sulfites. Most winemakers that aim to produce wines that speak of place will limit sulfites but the fact is that they do serve an important role in the preservation of a wine’s character. The four producers in this week’s Saturday Sips Review package understand the relationship between this important aspect of production and work meticulously to strike a balance between conservation and raw expression.
Of course, (as with all of our selections) we ensure that these “natural” wines receive the proper treatment of cool transport and storage before they get to your table. In general, these wines will have a bit more wildness, or attitude, than a typical red, and will benefit from a slight chill. With this package we invite you to embrace the great range of possibilities that fermented grapes can offer.
Saturday Sips Review: $190 — 8 Bottles of “Natural Wine” from Four Spanish Producers
The price for this Saturday Sips Review Package includes tax and delivery, as well as a 10% discount. We will also honor a 10% discount on any bottles you might wish to add to the Wine-Aid package.
“Pésico” (Asturias 2013) Red, Regular Price: $28
Nicolás Marcos clearly likes a challenge. He left his family’s winery in Toro, did a stint with the distinguished Alain Graillot in Crozes-Hermitage, and then settled into the northwestern region of Asturias, specifically Cangas del Narcea. Pésico is a blend of equal parts Carrasquín, Mencía, Verdejo Tinto, and Albarín Tinto, all grape varieties indigenous to the region. Nico vinifies the juice from about 18 acres spread over parcels from four different crus. Each parcel is fermented separately with indigenous yeast before blending and partial aging in French oak barrels (including second year barrels from Domaine de la Romanée-Conti). This is truly a wine that speaks of the land, ripe yet fresh, bursting with blue fruits and layers of texture before a lengthy finish.
“Silice” (Galicia 2016) Red, Regular Price: $29
Sílice Viticultores is a project started in 2013 by brothers Carlos and Juan Rodríguez with star winemaker Fredi Torres, a native of Galicia who cut his teeth in Priorat working with Clos Mogador. The partners cultivate using organic and biodynamic methods with the goal of expressing the terroir of Amandi — one of the five subzones of Ribeira Sacra. 2016 Sílice is a Mencía-based blend with 20% of other grapes including Albarello, Garnacha Tintorera, Merenzao, all planted on sand, granite, and slate. Fermented with indigenous yeasts, the wine is then matured in a 17-year-old, 4,000-liter oak foudre purchased in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The result is a wine with aromas of sweet cherry, wanton flowers, smoked tea, and loamy earth. Ripe fruit is in ideal balance with bright and juicy wild forest berries.
“Latitud 40” (La Tierra de Castilla 2015) Red, Regular Price: $23
Uva de Vida’s wife-and-husband team of Carmen López and Luis Ruiz have harnessed the soul of the land to produce wines of purity, brilliance and energy. Biodiversity of plant and animal life is promoted in their 33 acres of vines planted at 1,600 feet of altitude in the clay-based soils near the tiny village of Santa Olalla just up the road from the city of Toledo. Uva de Vida employs minimal intervention techniques from start to finish. 100% Graciano and nearly opaque deep red, a glass of “Latitud 40” radiates aromas of cherry fruit leather, dark chocolate, herbs, and salty, sun-baked earth. These heady scents merge seamlessly into a mid-weight sip of blackcurrant fruit with a long and juicy finish.
“Cielos & Besos” (Arribes 2016) Red, Regular Price: $20
Almaroja winemaker and Englishwoman Charlotte Allen holds 15 acres in western Spain on the border with Portugal. “Cielos y Besos” is mostly organically-farmed old vine Juan García, a variety native to the Arribes del Duero and the most widely planted red grape in the area. The wines of this variety are characterized by wild berry fruit, fine tannins and good acidity. The remainder is an eclectic mix of tempranillo, rufete, bastardillo chico, bastardillo serrano, and garnacha (to name but a few) with a few kilos of white grapes thrown in for good measure. Filled with fresh, ripe berry fruit alongside a deep, earthy vibe, this wine is not only a great value, it is versatile. Pair it with pizza, red meat, and everything in-between.