One of the top Chateauneuf du Papes of the vintage is the 2009 Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Imperiale-Vigne Centenaires (from 100-year-old vines planted in pure sand). A blend of 90% Grenache and the rest Syrah, Mourvedre, Cinsault, Counoise, and Muscardin (a real field blend), this wine is close to rivaling their great 2007. Its stunning blue/purple color (remarkable for Grenache grown in sand) is followed by a full-bodied wine revealing exquisite concentrated notes of incense, lavender, camphor, black cherries and black currant liqueur. Tell-tale licorice and pepper characteristics are also present in this voluptuously textured, fleshy, full-bodied effort that is already drinkable. One of the stars of the vintage, it is capable of lasting 15-20 years.
95 points, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (Issue # 197 - Oct 2011)
A field blend (90% Grenache and the rest an assortment of varieties) that comes from sandy soils and vines planted in 1902, the 2009 Domaine Raymond Usseglio & Fils Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Imperiale is thrilling stuff that competes with the crème de la crème of the vintage. Deep purple and opaque in color, it is incredibly floral and mineral-driven on the nose, with deep, ultra-ripe aromas of black cherry, licorice, roasted herb, and damp earth like qualities all emerging over the evening. This is followed by a full-bodied, stunningly concentrated 2009 that has a bright, fresh profile, beautiful texture, and a heady, structured finish that highlights loads of ripe tannin. It took the better part of the evening to really shine (and was just as good on the second day), and ideally should be given 3-5 years in the cellar. It will drink well for 15-20 years or more.
95 points, Jeb Dunnuck's Rhone Report (Issue # 12 - Jun 2012)
Opaque violet color. Exotically perfumed bouquet of red and dark berry preserves, star anise, lavender and cola, with slow-building smokiness. Deeply pitched but lively on the palate, offering pliant black raspberry and mulberry flavors and an exotic floral pastille accent. Becomes spicier with air and finishes with outstanding clarity and sweet persistence.
93 points, Josh Raynolds, Vinous (Jan 2012)