The why, the what and the how of...
Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe
The most famous of southern Rhône wine regions, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, and the estate of Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe are inexorably linked.
The Brunier family has a deep connection to the famed plateau of La Crau, going back over one hundred years. For many, La Crau is of grand cru status and Vieux Télégraphe honours this hallowed ground by consistently encapsulating the terroir in its wines, which are classic in style and demonstrate wonderful concentration, rusticity and tremendous ageing potential. From their first vintage in 1900 by founder Hippolyte Brunier, their wines have evolved over time, gaining in balance and refinement. The estate has also grown in that time, now with 65 hectares of vineyard under the ownership and care of Hippolyte’s great-grandsons, Daniel and Frédéric.
Named after an old radio signal tower, their name translates to “old telegraph.” Five wines are produced, namely the flagship red and white Vieux Télégraphe Châteauneuf-du-Pape, closely followed by the brilliant second label Châteauneuf-du-Pape affectionally known as Télégramme (from younger vines). “Piedlong” is their Châteauneuf-du-Pape mainly made up from old vine Grenache from the Piedlong plateau blended along with 10% Mourvèdre from the Pignan lieu-dit. Last but certainly not least is the brilliant white Châteauneuf-du-Pape known as “Clos la Roquète” made up of an even split of Roussanne, Clairette and Grenache Blanc.
Winemaking is kept very traditional, from the varieties grown to the techniques in the cellar and the way wines are matured. Grapes are all hand-picked, with double sorting in the vineyard, then a third sorting in the winery. All bunches are de-stemmed, except where de-stemming might break the skins or otherwise damage the grapes. Fermentation takes place in traditional 100-hectolitre wooden vats. The grapes are fermented together, except for those from vines under 25 years of age, which are fermented and matured separately. Once fermentation has completed, the wine is transferred to concrete vats and/or French oak foudres (30-60 hl) for a period of between 15 and 22 months depending on the wine. Wines are bottled without fining or filtration.
Their flagship red, which is made of mostly Grenache with Mourvèdre, Cinsault and Syrah, is grown on the legendary La Crau plateau; a vineyard littered with the trademark stones (galets) that reflect the heat back up onto the vines. This is arguably the most famous plot in all of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Once bottled, you will find ripe, concentrated and juicy wines, that gain a delightful complexity with age.