When you talk numbers regarding Domaine Raymond Usseglio, they’re usually very small. Like his Roussanne, with production running to just 90 cases, when he chooses to make it. His ‘La Part des Anges’ tops out at 200 cases. And there isn’t much to go around of this stunning ‘Les Apotres’ - just 250 cases produced. But we’ve managed to get our hands on some! Perhaps where the numbers get bigger is the number of varieties in this blend - 13 - including some funky whites - which explains its lifted perfume and ethereal palate. Some even compare it to Burgundy...
Don’t be mistaken though - this is 100% pure Chateauneuf-du-pape - just one that chooses to walk to the beat of its own drum - like its fermentation in amphora with an additional four months on skins. At 15%, it’s certainly no shrinking violet. The nose really takes you in - those white varieties refuse to be swamped by their red siblings. There’s an immediate whack of summer grass and spring flowers before you get more typical pepper and spice. There’s a line of intertwined red-scented fruits and minerality before the bass kicks in with blackberries and briar.
The palate walks the line like a weightlifter in ballet shoes. There’s a lightness of foot here - despite its apparent weight. Grenache (38%) provides the foundation with red berry fruit, earth and charcuterie. Ripe blackcurrants extend to a lengthy finish, with supportive tannins and fresh acidity. Encore!
The Wine Advocate
“The 2017 Chateauneuf du Pape Les Apotres was made in amphora, with four months of maceration. Based on Grenache, it includes a high proportion of other traditional varieties, including some white grapes. It's exquisitely perfumed, with enchanting scents of strawberries, roses, garrigue and black tea. Full-bodied but delicate and silky in feel, it builds on the finish, like a great Burgundy. With only 3,000 bottles produced (and none in 2018), it will be hard to track any down but well worth the hunt.”
Full price $200.00 from the winery on 15 November 2019.
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It’s cool, we get it, you want to know absolutely everything about this wine. Well here you go, go nuts.
- Alcohol by Vol.
- Bottle Vol
- Blend Info
- Serving Temp.
My sister Nicci calls these "puddingstone wines", because the vines are literally grown on soils lightly covering giant boulders roughly translated as "pudding stones". Châteauneuf-du-Pape has a rich history, and the reds (usually grenache-predominant) can be a blend of up to 13 grape varieties, including some cheeky whites to round out the mix. The resultant wines are complex, brooding but usually not giant, and delicious. Especially if you call them puddingstone wines.
The rules are there ain’t no rules, but here are some foods we think will work pretty well with this wine...
Traditional roast lamb
- 2kg leg of lamb, fat trimmed
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1.5kg chat potatoes
- Basic gravy (makes 2 to 2 1/2 cups):
- 2 cups beef stock
- 3/4 cup red wine
- 2 1/2 tablespoons plain flour
- Preheat oven to 200°C/180°C fan-forced. Lightly grease roasting pan. Place lamb in pan. Combine oil, rosemary and garlic in a bowl. Rub half the oil mixture over lamb. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes.
- Reduce oven temperature to 180°C/160°C fan-forced. Roast lamb, basting with remaining oil mixture every 20 minutes, for 1 hour 15 minutes for medium or until cooked to your liking. Add potatoes to pan for last 40 minutes, turning halfway through cooking.
- Remove lamb from oven. Cover loosely with foil. Stand for 10 minutes. Carve. Serve with potatoes.
- Basic Gravy: Transfer meat (and any vegetables) to a plate to rest. Combine stock and wine in a jug. Skim fat from roasting pan, leaving 1 1/2 tablespoons pan juices and fat in pan. Place pan over high heat. Add flour. Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, for 1 to 2 minutes or until mixture bubbles and becomes golden. Add juices from resting meat. Slowly add stock mixture to pan, stirring constantly. Cook, scraping pan, for 8 to 10 minutes or until thickened.
The wines we remember are about the moments. The people, the places. That’s life. Here are some ideas...