I recently toured the Rhône wine region in the company of France-based American Sommelier, Kelly McAuliffe. Naturally, my wine tour of the region included a visit to Châteauneuf-du-Pape, where I (and company) visited the tasting room of the Fédération des Producteurs de Châteauneuf-du-Pape (FEDCN) to sample some of the wines of the Appellation. After our FEDCN stop, we all headed to Domaine Pierre Usseglio & Fils for a visit with Thierry Usseglio.
The Pierre Usseglio Estate was founded by Thierry’s grandfather, Francis Usseglio, who in 1931 left Italy for Châteauneuf where he got a job as a vineyard worker. In 1948 he acquired his own vineyard and started producing his own wine.
Francis Usseglio had two sons: Pierre and Raymond. Pierre took over the property from his father, while Raymond went on to establish his own estate (Domaine Raymond Usseglio & Fils). Today, Pierre’s two sons (Jean-Pierre and Thierry) run Domaine Pierre Usseglio, which encompasses 21 hectares of vineyards divided into 15 different parcels across the Châteauneuf-du-Pape Appellation.
The Usseglio brothers make excellent wines and are, in fact, one of the best Châteauneuf-du-Pape producers today. For the benefit of those who are not familiar with Domaine Pierre Usseglio wines, here are brief tasting notes on a couple of them:
Domaine Pierre Usseglio & Fils Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée de mon Aïeul
The name of this red wine roughly translates to “Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvee of my Ancestor,” which is fitting since this wine is the Usseglio brothers’ tribute to their grandfather’s wine making legacy. A special blend of grapes harvested from carefully selected vines from the winery’s La Crau, les Bédines and/or les Serres plots, this is a Grenache varietal wine (aged 50% in cement tank, 40% in wooden vats or cuves and the rest in oak barrels).
The wine is day-bright, ruby to purple in color. It presents aromas of bilberry, raspberry, with hints of spices, herbs and grilled meats. On the palate, the wine has medium plus body. It is elegant, beautifully balanced and velvety with silky, perfectly integrated fruit and wood tannin’s. This is one wine you’ll find very hard to enjoy in moderation.
Domaine Pierre Usseglio & Fils Châteauneuf-du-Pape Réserve des Deux Frères 2009
Like the Cuvée de mon Aïeul, this red wine is bright, ruby to purple in color. It presents aromas of bilberry, blackberry, toast, Indian spice, and herbs with hints of licorice, smoke and truffle. On the palate, the wine is full bodied, rich, very intense, and mineral – a wine I very much look forward to revisiting in a decade.