2001 Château Branaire (Duluc-Ducru) & 2004 Domaine Raymond Usseglio & Fils Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Impériale

Last night’s lineup of reds with friends over. The 01 Branaire was fantastic with beautiful cherry, cigar box and graphite and plenty of time left before peak drinking. The 04 Raymond Usseglio was superb as well. One of the most savory and backward and traditional wines from CdP that I have been drinking recently. Not a hint of dried fruit or anything else suggestive of high degrees of ripeness. On the contrary…almost a “cool” CdP that operates entirely with freshness, savory and salty blackberry flavors and an imposing structure that required hours of air before showing its best. There was also a bottle of 03 Chapoutier St. Joseph Les Granits that was deeply flawed by poor wine making. Secondary fermentation in the bottle pushed wine through the cork while I was opening the bottle and the wine was an acidic, volatile mess. I have had more flawed bottles of Chapoutier than all my other Rhone producers combined in the last few years. Make of that what you wish, but I will never buy another bottle of Chapoutier.

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Red Wine, Wine


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I am not a professional wine taster, nor do I have any professional training in the wine trade. I am a wine enthusiast who has spent countless hours tasting wines of many different styles. My palate is not aligned with a single wine critic, and I call all wines "as I taste them". My site is a source of tasting notes and wine recommendations as well as warnings without conflict of interest. You'll just have to figure out how your palate aligns with mine. My palate generally tends to veer towards Old-World wines that put a premium on terroir and lovely balance and finesse, rather than raw power...please keep that in mind as you read my notes.

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