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The evolution of a (Rhone) wine

Having been alerted to a new phase in the life of Raymond Usseglio's 2001 Cuvee Imperiale (Chateauneuf-du-Pape) I checked out my own stock to find I had enough of this to give it a try. Previous bottles have all shown good promise but they have all stopped short of actually delivering. Not so this one. The wine has put on a good deal weight since last time (when it seemed almost Beaujolais-like) and now has a rich but pure texture with full mouthfeel and tannins that wrap the wine perfectly. Now it is more Burgundian (and I am talking Grand Cru). The fruit has turned a corner or two too with richness and depth where there was once a question mark. This wine is now eleven years old and it has taken over ten of those years to get to this point. That's old school and, certainly, Stef Usseglio is making wines that show their promise much more obviously at an early stage so it is great to rediscover a classical wine - they don't make 'em like they used to!

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