Why We Love It:
Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe is one of the top producers of Chateauneuf du Pape and one of the great wine estates of France. Brothers Daniel and Frederic Brunier are talented and passionate vignerons who have built on a family wine legacy dating back to 1898. It was just before the turn of the century that Hippolyte Brunier established what is today the definitive grand cru vineyard of Chateauneuf du Pape on a high elevation and stony site called La Crau.
Violent and often harsh weather combine with rounded stones as far as the eye can see to create an environment which is hardly fertile or welcoming, but in these places where grape vines face the greatest stress, they also yield wines of extraordinary character, concentration and complexity. These factors, combined a century of family history working this challenging plot are the defining elements that make Vieux Telegraphe a legendary and sought after Chateauneuf du Pape.
This exposed, high altitude site also gave rise to the name Vieux Telgraphe (Old Telegraph), as La Crau was home to an original optical telegraph station that transmitted messages between Marseilles and Paris. What began as a small hectare or two of vineyard farmed by the founding Brunier, is today a nearly 150 acre single vineyard comprised mainly of Grenache. Small amounts of Syrah and Mourvedre round out the blend for the Vieux Telegraphe red, and tiny amounts of white wine are made from a blend of Grenache Blanc, Clairette, Bourboulenc, Roussanne and Picpoul.
Here are a few of our favourite pairings (with recipes) for this delicious wine:
Steak Diane – RECIPE
Cherry Glazed Rack of Lamb – RECIPE
Sumac-Dusted Bison w/ Chanterelle-Butter Sauce & Roasted Beets – RECIPE
$124.00 per 750mL
“The final blend of the 2018 Chateauneuf du Pape La Crau will include 60% to 65% Grenache, 15% each Mourvèdre and Syrah, with the remainder Cinsault. Boasting complex scents of roses, black tea, raspberries and cherries on the nose, it follows that up with a full-bodied palate that’s silky and airy in texture yet flavorful and tremendously long on the finish. It fits perfectly with the Brunier’s stated goal of pursuing elegance. The quality and consistency of the wines here largely speak for themselves. While the focus has always been on producing high-quality wines, what that means has been refined over the years, with an increasing emphasis on terroir expression and inherent elegance. Introduced in 2011, the Piedlong bottling reflects this, coming almost entirely from that lieu-dit. Unfortunately, those Grenache vines didn’t fare well under the mildew onslaught in 2018, and there’s no 2018 Piedlong. Such are the perils of a terroir-based approach.”
94 to 96 out of 100 Points – RobertParker.com
“The finished blend that is now aging another year in 60 hectoliter barrels, this has a very fleshy, round, rich and smooth-honed palate that has such completeness already. The raspberries and red plums are stunning here. The tannins are there and very open-knit and there’s a super sapid feel to the finish. The 15% mourvedre does much of the heavy lifting here. It shapes the finish and drags it deep. Around one-third from crushed grapes with stems. Drinkable on release, but best from 2024.”
94 to 95 out of 100 Points – James Suckling
“The flagship of this great estate is the 2018 Châteauneuf Du Pape and it could quite possibly be one of the longest lived wines in the 2018 vintage, which in general, is a charming, forward vintage geared for consumption in the first decade of life. Revealing a more ruby, almost translucent color as well as a great perfume of wild strawberries, blackberries, Asian spices, peppery garrigue, and flowers, it hits the palate with medium to full-bodied richness, a building, undeniable sense of minerality, plenty of mid-palate depth, and enough tannins to warrant 2-3 years or bottle age. It has the more upfront, expressive style of the vintage yet my money is on this evolving for 15-20 years. “
94 out of 100 Points – Jeb Dunnuck
“Shimmering ruby-red. Expansive red fruit preserve, lavender and allspice scents show excellent clarity and pick up a hint of incense with air. Gently chewy and energetic on the palate, offering alluringly sweet cherry, black raspberry and spicecake flavors that flesh out steadily on the back half. Shows impressive depth but comes off lively, finishing extremely long and spicy, with building tannins adding final grip.”
94 out of 100 Points – Vinous.com
“The Bruniers have specialized in wines from La Crau, a lieu-dit in the northeast of the appellation, since 1898, when Hippolyte Brunier began building a name for his wines. The high elevation and the limestone-rich, galet-covered soils make for some of the appellation’s most elegant wines, their rich red fruit balanced by brisk acidity. The 2018 channels a bright, fresh feeling right from the start, with lots of floral spice moderating the sweet red-cherry flavor. There’s plenty of depth there, too, with earth notes that bring to mind roasted game, as well as forest floor and fresh button mushrooms. But it’s the brightness and freshness that make this so compelling, and so readily drinkable, especially if there are some lamb chops around.”
94 out of 100 Points – Wine & Spirits Magazine
Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe Chateauneuf du Pape Rouge