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Raymond Usseglio's "Part des Anges" 2007 - Part 1

"La Part des Anges" (the angel's share) is the winemaker's term for the wine that evaporates out of the barrel during the elevage. It has little to do with this wine though as there is plenty left for us here. Instead, Stef Usseglio has named the wine to highlight that this really is the very best his vineyard has to offer. Too much for some, perhaps, although in true Raymond Usseglio style, it is in no way overblown.

I first tasted this at the estate from barrel and was overawed by the wine. Towards the end of last year, we finally shipped the wine with the rest of the estate's 2007s. Whilst most of this cuvee (and all the "Imperiale") was pre-sold, I was pleased to have a few cases spare of this wine to play around with.

I opened a bottle soon after it arrived - I know it was wrong but I just couldn't wait! My first reaction was to kick myself for being too hasty. The wine was completely closed. All I got was a mass of tannins masking a bit of background fruit. Poured into an open jug and left for three hours, though, and it completely transformed. Massive black fruit character with superb structure, the oak at last showing through (but not too much). In other words, the baby had become an adolescent.

Now, having given the wine a suitable amount of time to rest after its journey, and with several people suggesting that 2007s are drinking well already (that's another blog!) I am succumbing to it again. This time I am opening the wine now (11am) and it will have up to 8 hours in the jug. Wish me luck!

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