DOMAINE DU VIEUX TÉLÉGRAPHE
Cette splendide propriété de Bédarrides, propriété de la famille Brunier, est l’un des crus majeurs de l’appellation. Elle dispose d’un vaste vignoble d’un seul tenant, entièrement situé sur le plateau de la Crau et produit des vins d’une qualité remarquable. Le rouge est l’un des plus complets de l’appellation, dans un style savamment mis au point par les Brunier, qui ne privilégie pas la puissance malgré la générosité en alcool, mais au contraire l’équilibre et le raffinement. Du clos-la-roquette, en passant par télégramme et piedlong, jusqu’au grand vin, tout est d’une grande précision aromatique et d’un équilibre magistral. Ici l’on préfère la finesse à la puissance.
98 – DOMAINE DU VIEUX TÉLÉGRAPHE 2019
La grande émotion de notre dégustation. Finesse de texture à couper de souffle, matière magnifique, fruit parfaitement mûr, avec cette impression folle d’évidence. L’évidence du grand vin, la tendresse en plus. Un modèle pour tous. Le cru est au sommet de son art.
96 – DOMAINE DU VIEUX TÉLÉGRAPHE, TÉLÉGRAMME 2019
Ce classique de l’appellation plaira par ses arômes de fruits rouges et noirs mûrs et par la profondeur de son corps. Ensemble satisfaisant, agréable et équilibre.
96 – DOMAINE DU VIEUX TÉLÉGRAPHE, PIEDLONG 2019
Merveilleux de finesse et de fruité aérien, tout l’ensemble préente en plus ce caractère incroyablement digeste qui le place un peu à part dans notre dégustation. C’est superbe. Une bouteille ne suffit pas, il faut acheter des magnums.
4 / 5 ÉTOILES – DOMAINE DU VIEUX TÉLÉGRAPHE
Cette splendide propriété de Bédarrides, propriété de la famille Brunier, est l’un des crus majeurs de l’appellation. Elle dispose d’un vaste vignoble d’un seul tenant, entièrement situé sur le plateau de la Crau et produit des vins d’une qualité remarquable. Le rouge est l’un des plus complets de l’appellations, dans un style savamment mis au point par les Brunier, qui ne privilégie pas la puissance malgré la générosité en alcool, mais au contraire l’équilibre et le raffinement. Pour cela on joue sur l’encépagement complexe et l’on recherche la juste maturité. Les vinifications sont rudimentaires mais terriblement précises. Du clos-la0roquette, en passant par télégramme et piedlong, jusqu’au grand vin, tout est d’une grande précision aromatique et d’un équilibre magistral. Ici l’on préfère la finesse à la puissance.
3 / 5 ÉTOILES – DOMAINE DE LA ROQUÈTE
Le domaine appartient à la famille Brunier (Vieux Télégraphe) mais il dispose de ses propres installations dans le village de Châteauneuf, et son vignoble est indépendant. De fait, il se situe dans la zone de la Roquette (sables et sous-sol argilo-calcaire), sur le plateau du Pied-Long (galets) et les sables de Pignan.
18,5 / 20 – DOMAINE DU VIEUX TÉLÉGRAPHE, LA CRAU ROUGE 2017
Grande race. Vin esthète, aux tannins fins et infiniment longs. Bouche aux contours de taffetas. Superge d’élégance.
17 / 20 – PIEDLONG 2017
Nez floral, délicat, de petits fruits rouges. Cerise rouge. Attaque très fine, ample, tannins fermes d’allonge moyenne. Joli vin dans un millésime solaire qui a gardé son éclat.
16 / 20 – TÉLÉGRAMME 2017
Finesse évidente, bouche délicate de demi-corps. Le manque de puissance d’empêche pas l’élégance. Tannins de qualité.
15,5 / 20 – DOMAINE DU VIEUX TÉLÉGRAPHE, LA CRAU BLANC 2018
Étonnant de saveurs dans un corps léger et enlevé. La finale est remarquable de persistance et de précision. C’est beau.
It was Henri Brunier who laid the first stone in 1891. He bought some land to the east of Châteauneuf-du-Pape and gave it to his son, Hippolyte. ‘Why did he buy it? We don’t know,’ says Daniel. ‘It wasn’t even vines, it was woods.’
At this time, Châteauneuf was already internationally recognized for the quality of its wine, so even if clearing the land was hard work, deciding what to plant was less of a challenge. Hippolyte’s son Jules extended the domaine to 17ha and named it after a nearby stone tower that was used to transmit messages by semaphore.
The following generation, another Henri, enlarged the estate to 55ha before bequeathing it to current owners Daniel and Frédéric. Under their command, expansion has been rapid. They’ve grown their Châteauneuf holdings to 100ha, bought 20ha in and around Ventoux, acquired Domaine les Pallières in Gigondas with US importer Kermit Lynch, and created Massaya estate in Lebanon’s Beqaa Valley with partners Sami and Ramzi Ghosn.
Family members each have their own area of responsibility. Daniel’s duties are principally commercial, and his son, Edouard, 27, manages their three Rhône wineries. Frédéric and his son Nicolas, 30, concentrate more on the vineyards, and Frédéric’s daughter Manon works in the offices. When it comes to winemaking, however, everyone is involved. ‘The goal is that you don’t know who made it,’ says Daniel.
The use of winemaking consultants has become increasingly prevalent in Châteauneuf-du-Pape over the past few decades, but Daniel stresses that there is no outside influence over the winemaking at Vieux Télégraphe. Theirs is a fiercely independent estate. ‘It’s important to be ourselves,’ says Daniel, ‘and not to try to copy others.’
At a glance
Location: Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Southern Rhône, France
Winemakers: Daniel, Frédéric, Edouard, and Nicolas Brunier
Vineyard area: 56ha
Viticultural approach: Organic, not certified
For the Vieux Télégraphe rouge:
Grape varieties: 65% Grenache, 15% Mourvèdre, 15% Syrah; remaining 5% comprised of Cinsault, Clairette and other local varieties
Average wine age: 60 years old
Average production: 200,000 bottles
For the Vieux Télégraphe blanc:
Grape varieties: 40% Clairette, 25% Grenache blanc, 25% Roussanne, 10% Bourboulenc
Average vine age: 45 years old
Average production: 20,000 bottles
1891 Henri Brunier I bequeathes a parcel of land on La Crau to his son, Hippolyte Brunier
1915 Jules Brunier, son of Hippolyte, names the estate Vieux Télégraphe
1928 Original winery built on La Crau
1945 Henri Brunier II, son of Jules, joins the estate
1979 Construction of modern, gravity-fed winery
1980 Frédéric Brunier, son of Henri Brunier II, joins the estate
1981 Daniel Brunier, son of Henri Brunier II, joins the estate
1986 Purchase of Domaine la Roquète vineyards
1998 Purchase of Domaine les Pallières, Gigondas; creation of Massaya, Beqaa Valley, Lebanon
2002 No Vieux Télégraphe red made due to floods; first vintage of ‘Télégramme’
2011 Construction of current winery
2011 First vintage of ‘Piedlong’
2015 Nicolas Brunier, son of Frédéric, joins the estate
2016 Edouard Brunier, son of Daniel, joins the estate
2018 Manon Brunier, daughter of Frédéric, joins the estate
La Crau, La Crau, La Crau
When I ask which three things all wine lovers need to know about Vieux Télégraphe, Daniel’s answer is immediate: ‘La Crau, La Crau, La Crau!’ This plateau of galets roulés to the east of the village is one of the highest in the appellation, and it has long been considered one of the best sectors for making wine in Châteauneuf. Their holdings are among the largest in the appellation.
To the naked eye, these endless fields of fist-sized, rounded, beige stones appear callously inhospitable. But it’s what’s underneath that counts – deep, water-retaining clays which nourish the vines during hot, dry summers. ‘The vines need to suffer a little,’ says Daniel, but hydric stress arrives relatively late here, which ensures steadier ripening, creating finer tannins.
Irrigation is allowed in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, but only to aid ripening during the growing season, and only when officially sanctioned. This was once only sporadic, but due to the increasingly parched summers, growers now get the go-ahead almost every year. Some producers believe irrigation is now crucial to making balanced wines. But Daniel Brunier is not a fan. ‘You could turn it on at night – who’s going to check?’ says Daniel. ‘I’m not saying it should be banned, just managed. And for now, it’s not.’
Either way, he wouldn’t use it for mature vineyards, as he believes it rubs out the expression of terroir. In this sense, avoiding irrigation is even more important that working organically for Daniel (they work organically but aren’t certified). Avoiding irrigation is so important to him, that he believes non-irrigated wines deserve to be authenticated in the same way organic viticulture is certified.
Wish such a vast vineyard area under their control, one cumbersome challenge they face is replanting. Vines die for many reasons, whether it’s young vines that don’t survive the summer, disease, vineyard accidents, or old age. Every year they need to replant the equivalent of 3.5ha of vines, and they favour time-consuming mass-selection where possible, as opposed to buying clones. ‘It’s a colossal job,’ says Daniel, and one that needs addressing every year.
‘No pumps, no pipes, no screws’
On the day I visited the winery, the small wooden vats had all been drained to blend the contents before further maturation. The little door at the base of each one was wide open, and the air was heavy with black cherry jam and sweet cedar. We stuck in our heads and took deep nosefuls of the narcotic fug.
‘Granche is fragile, it oxidises easily.’ says Daniel. The winery moves grapes and must by gravity and vibration, ‘so no pumps, no pipes, no screws’. The oldest vines on La Crau are 110 years old, and these bunches keep their stems during fermentation. Others parcels are destemmed, and they ferment with natural yeasts; 60% in stainless steel, 40% in vat. Wines are matured for two years before bottling, the first year in wooden vats of various ages, the second year in large foudres.
‘What we look for is the tannic structure,’ says Daniel, ‘the most elegant and the most adapted to the vintage. Aromatically speaking, what matters is that the aromas come from the terroir, not the vinification; that they are created outside, not inside.’
Most of the production is red, but they produce 10% white Châteauneuf, more than the average. They’ve been makling white wine since the beginning, and these grapes are also grown on La Crau. It’s a blend of Clairette, Roussanne, Grenache Blanc and Bourboulenc that’s matured for a year in barrels of various sizes, with a minimal use of new oak.
They do not make a cuvée spéciale, neither do they intend to (their bottles state ‘La Crau’ on the label, but this is not a cuvée name as such.) They do however make some other Châteauneufs since purchasing another domaine.
‘Piedlong’ is a blend of old-vine Grenache from lieu-dit Pied Long with 10% Mourvèdre from lieu-dit Pignan.
‘Clos la Roquète’ is a fine and mineral white from lieu-dit la Roquète, a third each of Roussanne, Clairette and Grenache Blanc. Both can rival Vieux Télégraphe in quality, if not ageing potential.
‘Télégramme’ is a destemmed red cuvée from other parcels and young vines. You may have heard a whisper of the legendary ‘Cuvée Hippolyte’ – it does exist. It’s an experimental cuvée, different each year, made in reasonable quantity – but not sold commercially.
For the cellar
All these wines can be drunk straight away, but when it comes to Vieux Télégraphe, try to hold onto the reds for at least 10 years before drinking. This isn’t because it’s particularly robust or tannic when young; in fact, the opposite is true. It’s so silky and welcoming straight after bottling means that a lot gets drunk on release. At this stage, although delicious, it can lack complexity. Although he loves drinking it young, Daniel admits, ‘to know it, you have to age it.’ To ensure more drinkings get to experience Vieux Télégraphe at its peak, he is currently overseeing the construction of a new cellar specifically for bottle ageing.
It will be the next generation who benefits from this. The 1990s and 2000s were a period of prosperity for Châteauneuf, but Daniel and Frédéric didn’t take it for granted; they invested in the firm and have created an empire. His son Edouard is ready to grasp the baton. ‘Our main objective is to follow the family line,’ he says, ‘respecting the raw materials. The grapes of La Crau, without mask or make-up.’
VINOUS.COM – DÉC 2019
Châteauneuf-du-Pape fans will find plenty to like from 2017, a vintage marked by consistently warm to hot weather that yielded distinctly rich, fleshy, fruit-driven wines. The growing season presented its share of challenges, and yet the best wines are compelling. Even so, readers need to be selective, as the style of the year is quite particular, and some wines are overdone.
Vieux Télégraphe rouge 2017
94-95. Full shimmering ruby. A complex, highly perfumed bouquet evokes ripe boysenberry, Chambord and Asian spices, and a sexy floral nuance gains strength with air. Sweet and seamless on the palate, displaying a suave blend of power and delicacy to the concentrated red and blue fruit, lavender pastille and spicecake flavors. Shows impressive energy and a mineral quality on the gently tannic, penetrating finish, which hangs on with a strong, floral-driven tenacity.
Télégramme rouge 2017
92-93. Deep ruby-red. Intensely perfumed raspberry and cherry aromas open up quickly with air and develop suggestions of candied flowers and baking spices. Stains the palate with intense red fruit preserve flavors that are lifted and sharpened by a smoky element. At once lively and well-concentrated, finishing with solid, fruity thrust, supple tannins and persistent spiciness.
Vieux Télégraphe rouge 2016
95. Brilliant ruby. Ripe cherry and red berries on the deeply perfumed nose, along with hints of smoky minerals and potpourri. Palate-staining cherry and raspberry liqueur flavors show impressive clarity and depth, and a spine of juicy acidity provides lift and focus. Finishes extremely long and sweet, delivering solid thrust, a hint of candied flowers and suave, harmonious tannins. Drink 2024-2034.
Télégramme rouge 2016
93. Vivid ruby. Mineral-laced red berry preserve, spicecake and floral aromas are complemented by suggestions of smoky minerals and pungent herbs. Juicy, sharply focused raspberry and bitter cherry flavors become deeper and sweeter with air while maintaining energy. Shows very good breadth and thrust on the sweet, red-fruit-dominated finish, which is framed by gently, slow-building tannins. Drink 2022-2031.
JAMESSUCKLING.COM – 12 OCTOBRE, 2019 – NICK STOCK, SENIOR EDITOR
The Rhone Valley’s three most recent vintages are very distinctive and deliver quite clear influence over the wines they made. The most recent, 2017, is in a difficult position to be compared with the extrememly strong years of 2015 and 2016. However, after tasting a few hundred wines this summer in the Rhone Valley and visiting a few dozen producers, the 2017 has made some excellent wines.
Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe Chateauneuf-du-Pape rouge 2017
96. Immediately a sense of darker fruit in this vintage. The nose has closed up a little since tasting in barrel. It has some reserved, sanguine notes and an essence-like, raspberry core. Some stones and chalk here, too. Very long and focused palate. The grenache is singing here. Dense but soft and supple tannins, the product of thick, healthy skins. Best from 2025.
Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe Chateauneuf-du-Pape rouge 2018
94-95. 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.
Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe Chateauneuf-du-Pape blanc 2017
96. A stonier, more mineral expression of white Châteauneuf with impressive body and concentration. Super fresh, white flowers, flint and delicate pears here. The palate has a strong, mineral edge, smooth phenolics, fleshy stone fruit and a neat, fine, chalky finish. Clairette, grenache blanc, roussanne and bourboulenc. Drink in 2020.
Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe Chateauneuf-du-Pape blanc 2018
96. Traditionally dominated by clairette (45%) and grenache blanc (30%), then roussanne and bourboulenc. The vines average 50+ years and there’s a very restrained nose with dialed-back white-pear and chalk aromas with dried flowers, too. The palate has a super fresh, zippy feel and a long, juicy and attractive core of fresh, salty minerals. The balance is innate and very fluid. Drink or hold.
Piedlong Chateauneuf-du-Pape rouge 2016
98. The trademark, old-vine-grenache offering of earthy notes with wild berries, herbs, flowers and spices. Wild. Hints of blood oranges and pink-grapefruit peel. Superb, expansive palate shape, all finesse and length. Super-fine, focused and elegant. Refined, regal and majestic. Peppery, bright, wild, red fruit, blood oranges and orange bitters. Decades ahead of this. Drink or hold.
Piedlong Chateauneuf-du-Pape rouge 2017
93. A blend of 90% grenache for the Piedlong section and 10% mourvedre from the Pignan section, both old-vine parcels. The wild herbs and dried, wild red flowers and roses here are really something, together with grilled meat. Rich and succulent, very fleshy and intense. Drink or hold.
Télégramme Chateauneuf-du-Pape rouge 2017
93. Ripe and brambly raspberry, blueberry and cassis aromas with a strong thread of wild herbs. The shape is refined and taut through the palate. Some airy, fleshy lightness here with plush, fine and dense tannins. Finishes fresh with red fruit. Great grenache in 2017. Drink or hold.
Télégramme Chateauneuf-du-Pape rouge 2018
92-93. This has a lot of red fruit, a lot of personality and a lot of brambly aromas with spicy nuances, too. The palate has a very smooth build and a deep, plum and red-fruit core, framed in long, noble and rich, ripe tannins. The immediate fleshy appeal is high. Wait for the rest. Try from 2022.
Les Pallières Gigondas Les Racines rouge 2017
95. Aromas of cassis, garrigue and redcurrants and wild raspberries. Grenache drives the palate in a long, linear and very focused style. Dense, but delicate, with a fresh and juicy, raspberry-pastry finish. The vines are 80+ years old. Striking power and focus. Drink or hold.
Les Pallières Gigondas Les Racines rouge 2018
91-92. From very old vines (70-100 years old). There is a strong, red-fruit focus here with a sappy and very plush feel to the palate. Succulent, fleshy and mellow and a very suave, open-knit and ripe-grenache finish. A blend of 85% grenache and 15% cinsault and syrah co-planted. Drink over the first decade.
Les Pallières Gigondas Terrasse du Diable rouge 2017
94. Lots of violets and blue fruit with cinnamon and dark stony aromas. Baking spices, too. On the palate, there’s black fruit and an attractive, bitter-herb kick, with very dense tannins and a powerful, compressed feel. Lithe, juicy blue-fruit finish. Very focused, dense and long. Drink or hold.
Les Pallières Gigondans Terrasse du Diable rouge 2018
92-93. The fruit for this is sourced from elevated terrasses (above 300m) and the depth and righ, dark cherries and plums are stunning. Rich red plums, mulberries, chocolate and plenty of tannin here. Sapid, chalky finish. A blend of 85% grenache and 15% mourvedre. 70% de-stemmed and 30% crushed with stems. Drink or hold.
Vin de France Au Petit Bonheur Rosé 2018
93. This offers such complex and sophisticated drinking with a lightly toasted thread to the ripe, rich fruit. Grilled-peach flavors abound and the length is exceptional. Drink now.
Mégaphone Ventoux rouge 2017
93. Super plush, and opulent, offering notes of sweet red plums, raspberry compote and darker blackberries. The palate is bathed in mixed-berry flavor, as well as dark cherries and dark minerals. Starts really supple, then turns fine and tightens through the finish. Noble tannins and darker fruit. A blend of 80% grenache and 20% syrah. A great vintage for this wine! Drink over the next five years.
Mégaphone Ventoux rouge 2018
91-92. A blend of 80% grenache and 20% syrah, this has a very rich and attractively ripe feel in 2018. Succulent, dense and very plush tannins carry an assertive, fresh and fleshy feel. There’s a salty mineral note, too. Drink on release.
Le Pigeoulet Vin de Pays Vaucluse rouge 2017
92. Pre-bottling from foudre. This has a ripe but fresh feel to it with very attractive berry-compote and spice. There’s a wealth of brambly, red grenache fruit, plenty of spice and a very plush, soft and supple palate with wild raspberries. Drink now.
Le Pigeoulet Vin de Pays Vaucluse rouge 2018
90-91. Ripe red cherries and raspberries with a fine palate that has a very sleek, plush and attractive feel. The palate is sappy and plush. 80% grenache, 10-15% carignan and the balance is syrah. Drink now.
#165 – AUTOMNE 2019
Exploité par la famille Brunier depuis six générations (1891), le Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe, installé à Bédarrides, possède des vignes d’une soixantaine d’années, sur une superficie de 70 hectares. Situé en Châteauneuf-du-Pape, sur le célèbre plateau de Crau, le vignoble offre des cuvées d’une grande minéralité grâce son terroir de galets roulés si spécifique.
Aujourd’hui, Frédéric et Daniel gèrent ensemble le domaine, accompagnés de leurs fils respectifs: Nicolas et Édouard. Les deux frères défendent la culture raisonnée bio et durable pour permettre au raisin d’exprimer tout son potentiel. Cette attention vis-à-vis de la vigne s’étend d’ailleurs à la vinification et l’élevage par une observation méticuleuse du raisin de manière à créer des vins équilibrés, avec une forte personnalité.
Chaque cuvée du domaine propose une vision différente de son terroir. Le Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe, en Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Les Pallières, en Gigondas, la cuvée Mégaphone, en Ventoux ou encore le Pigeoulet, en Vaucluse. Fier de cette diversité, le domaine détient également des vignes dans le Vallée de la Béqaa (Domaine Massaya), au Liban où, comme en France, les vins créés sont des vins «dont la qualité finale n’a de valeur que par la noblesse des moyens mis en œuvre pour l’obtenir».
Télégramme rouge 2018
90-92. Including slightly less Grenache than normal, the 2018 Châteauneuf Du Pape Télégramme is the entry level wine of the estate, yet it always delivers plenty of character. Violets, ripe cherries, blue fruit hints, and ground pepper all give way to a medium to full-bodied, fruit-forward, fleshy, nicely textured 2018 that’s going to drink nicely right out of the gate.
Vieux Télégraphe blanc 2018
93-95+. A blend of Clairette, Roussanne, Grenache Blanc, and Bourboulenc brought up mostly in foudre, the 2018 Châteauneuf Du Pape Blanc offers a more crystalline style with its white peach, crushed citrus, white flower, and obvious minerality. Clean, pure, and chiseled on the palate, it has good concentration, and almost red wine-like structure, and a great finish. It’s going to age beautifully.
Vieux Télégraphe rouge 2018
93-95. The grand vin is the 2018 Châteauneuf Du Pape. It’s an elegant version of this cuvée, offering beautiful blueberry, raspberry, crushed violet, graphite, and crush rock-like minerality. Rich, medium to full-bodied, and balanced, it’s polished and seamless, yet has plenty of tannins as well as richness, and is going to evolve beautifully.
Je suis tombé dessus un jour par hasard avec l’impression de changer de dimension. À l’aveugle, je ne l’aurais jamais placé en Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Ce vin est issu d’un assemblage de deux parcelles, les grenaches de Piedlong et les mourvèdres de Pignan, pour 10 %. Du coup, la famille Brunier m’est apparue comme une bande de grands couturiers. Qu’elle est. J’en ai acheté plein.
[On l’aime parce que]
Une telle finesse vaut bien une messe, comme disait à peu près Sully. Est-ce l’âge élevé des vignes (70 ans), sont-ce les galets roulés, le vinificateur est-il un sorcier ?
[Combien et combien]
73 euros / 850 magnums
[Avec qui, avec quoi]
Rassemblez les plus capés de vos amis, baissez la lumière, passez à table. Vous allez enfin montrer à vos convives que vous êtes un maître du vin.
[il ressemble à quoi]
À un bourgogne tout en ciselure, en dentelle. Bref, il y a de l’enthousiasme dans la bouteille, vous allez adorer.
[La bonne heure du bonheur]
Déjà bon, il sera bon tout le temps. Je suis en quête d’un ou deux vieux millésimes, pour confirmer l’impression.
Piedlong rouge 2016
Classique, arômes de fruits et d’épices d’un début de maturité, fruits cuits, thé. En bouche montre une minéralité et une élégance malgré l’opulence, les tannins restent frais. L’ensemble est harmonieux. Un vin qui ne joue pas de ses muscles, qui donne déjà plaisir à boire mais qui peux encore vieillir.
Vieux Télégraphe rouge 2016
Déjà un bouquet mur avec un fruité épicé et intense. Bonne opulence, densité, fraicheur et longueur. Mais aussi de l’élégance que l’on s’attend à avoir de la part d’un Châteauneuf du Pape classique, à quoi s’ajoute un épice particulier : un Must.
Vieux Télégraphe ambassadeur de la Vallée du Rhône dans le dernier top100 de James Suckling en 72ème place.
Vieux Télégraphe blanc 2016
94. Limpid yellow. Penetrating citrus and orchard fruit aromas are joined by suggestions of chalky minerals, fennel and jasmine. Juicy and deeply concentrated, offering mineral-driven pear nectar and Meyer lemon flavors that show superb definition and drive. The mineral and pear notes repeat emphatically on the nervy finish, which hangs on with impressive focus and persistence.
Vieux Télégraphe blanc 2017
(94-95). Bright straw-yellow. Powerful aromas of fresh pear and white peach are complicated by suggestions of orange zest, iodine and succulent lowers. Sappy and impressively delineated on the palate, offering intense pear skin, Meyer lemon and honeysuckle flavors that deepen and pread out steadily on the back half. Hints of marzipan and candied ginger emerge on an impressively long, mineral-tinged finish that echoes the floral and citrus fruit notes
Early on a Saturday morning, the gracious and reflective Daniel Brunier received me at his family’s historic estate to taste through a cross section of the wines that Famille Brunier is now producing. In addition to the wines of Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe (VT), the group includes wines from Le Pigeoulet, Mégaphone in Ventoux, Domaine Les Pallières in Gigondas and Clos La Roquète in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Brunier took the time during my brief visit to carefully explain why he doesn’t like to call the 2017 Chateauneuf du Pape Télégramme a « second wine. » This wine now includes much of the red plantings from Clos La Roquète, so maybe he has a point. But it also includes the young-vine material from VT plots, and it’s clearly not of the caliber of the main VT bottling, so draw your own conclusions. The family philosophy is to avoid selected yeasts and bacteria for malolactic fermentation, allowing the naturally occurring bugs to do their work. Proportions of stems/whole clusters varies considerably, depending on the wine, as does the élevage, although most of the wines mature in foudres. While the greatness of 2016 goes unquestioned here, Brunier called 2017, « At minimum, a very, very good vintage. We were surprised it’s so fresh and balanced. » Yields were down by about 50% from the previous year. The emphasis here is on elegance and complexity. « Grenache is fantastic when it’s not fruity. It’s easy to do extraction and big wines. It takes humbleness to do less, a confidence in the land, » Brunier said. More controversially, he concluded, « Extraction has been invented to replace terroir. »
Clos La Roquète blanc 2017 (92-94)
Les Racines rouge 2017 (93-95)
Terrasse du Diable rouge 2017 (91-94)
Terrasse du Diable rouge 2016 (92-94)
Vieux Télégraphe blanc 2017 (93-95)
Vieux Télégraphe blanc 2016 94
Vieux Télégraphe rouge 2017 (93-95)
Vieux Télégraphe rouge 2016 96
Piedlong rouge 2017 (93-95)
Piedlong rouge 2016 (94-96)
Télégramme rouge 2017 (90-92)
Télégramme rouge 2016 91
[…] Daniel Brunier of Vieux Telegraphe also couched 2016 in similarly glowing terms: “If I had to summarize, I would say 2015 is a very good vintage and 2016 is magic. Honestly, the 2016 vintage is really magic; it is very rare.””
[…] The quality of the entire range of Brunier Family wines was once again exceptional, led by the flagship Vieux Télégraphe Chateauneuf-du-Pape La Crau 2016, which I rated 98 points. I also was impressed by the Vieux Télégraphe Chateauneuf-du-Pape Piedlong 2016, a standout vintage for this wine. It has exceptional precision and power, driven by sublime grenache character.”
[…] The white Chateauneuf highlights are refreshingly plentiful with Charbonnière and La Nerthe both delivering exceptional 2017s; also look to the Beaucastel Chateauneuf Roussanne Vieilles Vignes 2017 and the Clos La Roquète 2017. The top white score goes to the Vieux Télégraphe Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2017 with 96 points, as it shows exceptional concentration, weight and marvelous freshness in a vintage that could easily have been toppled by the dry conditions.
Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe is one of the old-guard estates in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, and the Brunier brothers continue to make a very classic, age-worthy, and uncompromising style of wine that requires bottle age. The estate is in the eastern portion of the appellation and has a whopping 150 acres of prime terroir, almost all located in the famed La Crau lieu-dit, which is one of the warmer, earlier terroirs in the region. In addition to their reds, they also make a brilliant white. I’ve also included the La Roquete releases here, which are also made by this team.
En 1976, une dégustation à Paris a ouvert la voie à un vin américain de haute qualité. 42 ans plus tard, la compétition suédoise s’est répétée à Bâle. C’était aussi excitant que le football.**
Assemblage de Grenache, Mourvèdre, Syrah, Cinsault, Clairette et autres variétés.Fruits clairs mais fins, baies noires, épices douces, cerises douces, poivre, légèrement floral, terreux. Ferme en bouche, avec une acidité vive, un style ferme, des épices poivrées, des notes de mûres et d’épices en finale, minérale et longue.**
** Texte originale de Wolfgang Fassbender
[…] Does fine red Châteauneuf need age ? Can it improve with age ?
In search of answers, I decided to taste the ‘tradition’ cuvée of four leading Châteauneuf estates in three outstanding vintages, each a decade apart (2010, 2000 and 1990). […] Beaucastel, La Nerthe, Pégau and Vieux Télégraphe. […]
Vieux Télégraphe 2010 – 96 : The lightest in colour of the 2010 quartet, and a wine of outstanding aromatic complexity (bramble, strawberry, thyme, orange blossom, lavender and honey emerge with time in the glass). On the palate, it is the stoniest wine of the fou, with the finest quality tannins : gathered, shapely, savoury, textured and long. A Châteauneuf which succeeds in being both commanding and refined, and a great Vieux Télégraphe.
Vieux Télégraphe 2000 – 95 : Slightly deeper in hue than La Nerthe, but the same depth of colour as Pégau. This wine has, remarkably enough, retained wild flower and lavender notes with a falling honeyed sweetness too. On the palate,, it has better volume and force than La Nerthe, with lower acidity and richer tannins. This is a very complete wine at present, with notes of thyme and meaty umamy framing the refined, stony fruits.
Vieux Télégraphe 1990 – 96 : A deep, clear brick-garnet in colour. Harmonious, serene aromas suggesting thyme, lavender, pine, tangerine and grilled meats, all smudged together into an enticing pastel wash. Still, too, a wealthy wine on the palate, the ample, plump, structuring tannins and ripe, stately, expressive flavours. No fruit left no, but lots of mushroom, cigar leaf, meat juices – and that lingering stony warmth which is a hallmark of Vieux Télégraphe.
“Slinky” as a descriptor is one I use rarely, especially to describe the smell of a wine, although I’ve used it to describe an aspect of the taste of wine 20 times,
according to my FileMaker Pro tasting note database of many tens of thousands of wines. “Slinky” plus “sexy” I employ even less frequently: I’ve used the combo just twice. It’s quite obviously a highly subjective descriptor and to many might not convey much. But Daniel Brunier of Vignobles Brunier knew exactly what I meant when I deployed “slinky-sexy” to describe one of the reds in his family’s formidable portfolio (the Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Domaine de La Vieux Télégraphe, being internationally acknowledged as one the finest estates of the appellation).
“Oh, if it’s slinky-sexy, you must be be talking about the Télégramme,” he said as he sat down for a chat after I’d concluded tasting a random line-up of eight wines.I looked again at my tasting notes and cross-referenced them with the list of order of wines I’d been given and
voilà: Télégramme. The 2013 Télégramme is a blend dominated by grenache, a grape for which I have considerable affection (the first wine that really got me hooked was a grenache-based red).
When I tell Brunier this, he informs me that he was rather disappointed with the prevailing feeling about the grape variety when he first visited Australia several years ago. “It was strange that grenache is not well considered. I was a bit disturbed by that.” A situation which is all the more remarkable when you consider that Australia has one of the greatest resources of old vine Grenache anywhere in the world. The Télégramme, he tells me, is one of just two of his wines which does not contain any stems (i.e. the grape berries have been removed from the bunches). The majority of Vignobles Brunier’s reds, including the aforementioned Domaine de La Vieux Télégraphe have a good portion of whole-bunches in them.
He says of stems and Télégramme that, “We don’t keep stems in this wine, because if you keep the stems in wine, it has to be discreet. Stems is not [a] simple thing.” Now whole-bunch fermentation is a topic du jour in Australia; I guess it has been for best part of five or six years now (in a more mainstream way). So I ask him how long the domain has been employing whole bunches in ferments? “One hundred and ten years,” he replies matter-of-factly. I double-check just to clarify, and seeing the look of incredulity on my face, he laughs, “Or 112 or 116 … During a long, long period everything was not destemmed, but from [the] ‘90s we did mourvèdre, cinsault and young vines of grenache.” “Young vines” in the Brunier viticultural lexicon transpires to mean 30-35 years old! He continues, “We changed because we thought there was this vegetal thing
Les Pallières La Racines 2013 – 95(96)/100 – $94
Powerful smelling with prune, demi-glace, charred beef ribs and some lavender-like aromatics. Concentrated, but still fresh smelling. As it is in the mouth with pomegranate-rose hip edginess and incredible fruit length and depth. Tight and chewy, and ideally needs another five years to show its best. Cave at: natural cork.
Really strong for the vintage, there is wealth of black raspberries, herbs and kirsch, paired with silky smooth textures and a fresh, sweet, peppery, kirsch finish. Produced from a blend of 65% Grenache, 15% Syrah, 15% Mourvedre and 5% Cinsault
Millésime cité dans la rubrique Wine of the Week du site chngpohtiong.com proposé par Poh Tiong / The Wine Review à Singapour.
The Vieux Télégraphe wines are just so memorable. This bottle was from the list of Restaurant Pierre Gagnaire in Paris, attached to but independent of, Hotel Balzac. Ruby/red with an orange ringe on the rim. Elegant blue fruit with a hint of tobacco. The tannons are ripe, fresh and crisp. They hold together very well the soft sweetness of fruit. Medium-plus-ish bodied. The blend includes Grenache, Mourvedre, Syrah and Cinsault. Sitauted in Bédarrides, the owning Brunier Family are as discrret and low profile as their wines are exalted (not just the red but also the white Chateauneuf). Every visit to the domaine is unforgettable, especially when Daniel Brunier takes you to hte high plateau of La Crau where the ‘soil’ is made up of smooth, large stones from the Villafranchian Period some two million years ago.
Cité parmi les incontournables de la Vallée du Rhône Sud
Grande subtilité de parfums dans une bouche élancée, avec un grain soyeux. En blanc, le Clos la Roquète est également une belle réussite. 16.5-17.5
2012 Vieux Télégraphe Rouge
Bright ruby. Intense raspberry and cherry aromas arecomplicated by hints of lavender, spicecake and blood orange. Juicy and fruit-driven, with palatecoatingflavors of sweet, spice-tinged red fruits and candied flowers. Quite suave and seamless,boasting striking purity to its red fruit- and mineral-driven finish. Those who decry the ripeness andheady character of most Chateauneufs owe it to themselves to try this wine. 92-94
2011 Vieux Télégraphe Rouge
Bright ruby-red. Black raspberry, cherry compote, potpourri and Asian spices on the highly perfumednose. Juicy red and dark berry flavors stain the palate, showing terrific clarity and spicy lift. Thespicy quality comes back strong on the finish, which is framed by silky, harmonious tannins. In agraceful, almost weightless style, with zero excess fat but noteworthy flavor intensity. Iunderestimated this wine last year. 93
Vieux Télégraphe’s greatest strength is undoubtedly its consistency. I am not referring to the consistency resulting from now four generations of Bruniers who know the plateau of La Crau stone for stone, as crucial as this is. Rather, I am alluding to the timeless power of this terroir, which allows for wines of noble character, profound complexity, and unrivaled typicity year in and year out. There is no question that vintage variation exists at Vieux Télégraphe – one need only taste two diametrically opposed vintages side by side, such as 2007 and 2008, to observe this phenomenon. Yet even in 2003, an infamous year in which climatic extremes all but erased the nuances of terroir across France’s wine regions, V.T. remains V.T. – ripe, no doubt, but defined more by stone than by fruit. And such is how La Crau asserts itself : the stones are omnipresent, supplying a firm spine to the wine, a salivating mineral aspect that refreshes regardless of the vintage’s overall balance.
Vigneron Daniel Brunier describes 2015 as “a superb vintage that once again proves that nothing great can be done hurriedly.” His statement applies to the growing season, which necessitated late rains to restore balance to the drought-afflicted grapes, as well as to the harvest, an exercise in patience and restraint, and finally to the vinification, in which extended macerations yielded deep tannic structures that reached a seamless integration during the wine’s élevage.
On other words, 2015 showcases La Crau in all its glory. From its pure and explosive young fruit to the wine’s momentous structure, culminating in its trademark stoniness, this is V.T. as we love it and as we have always known it.