After a superb lunch at the Mere Germaine in downtown Chateauneuf du Pape, we were off to our last appointment of the day. I had made arrangements with Claire Latcher to visit, but she ended up being unavailable, so I had the privilege to be guided by none other than Frederic Brunier.
This was my best domaine visit on this trip on so many levels…I am a huge fan of Vieux Telegraphe for many reasons:
– The wine is made in large foudres and concrete vats and the influence of oak on Vieux Telegraphe is minimal as a result. I love the classic wines Frederic and crew make with their old school, entirely gravity wine making methods.
– The cave that houses the library of back vintages is impressive. How I would have loved to taste some of these treasures.
– Frederic’s dog “Swing” was an instant hit with my 2 year old daughter.
– Frederic was an extremely generous host and allowed me to taste a lot of different wines and vintages, which only further underscored just how much I like Vieux Telegraphe.
The soil that Vieux Telegraphe harvests its fruit from is truly remarkable. In the Eastern La Crau sector, the terroir is basically rocks and pebbles. The heat radiating off the rocks at night allow the grapes to ripen faster than is usually the case. Furthermore, Vieux Telegraphe tends to employ quite a bit of Mourvedre in the final blend which makes for an incredibly fullbodied wine that often reminds me of a baby-Beaucastel.
The most remarkable wines tasted were:
2005 Vieux Telegraphe: Excellent wine with amazing grip and body, superb texture and solid fruit. This is a wine to seek out in my book and embodies everything I want in a CdP.
2004 Vieux Telegraphe: Another stunner. Seemed a little less tannic and “grippy” and a little more advanced on the flavor profile, but not much behind the 2005 in my opinion. Seems like there may be a little less Mourvedre in this blend compared with the 2005 based on the body and texture.
1994 Vieux Telegraphe: For a mediocre vintage, this was a great effort. If I could drink this every day, I’d be in heaven. Lovely truffle and game with earthy autumnal notes and a little kirsch liqueur and fruit. Will be hated by new world afficionados.
2006 Vieux Telegraphe Blanc: Great stuff and definitely a round and supple wine that will have a promising life ahead of it. Very distinct honey and white flower notes, but also a hint of tropical pineapple fruit (which is a little odd in this wine).
I also got to taste La Roquette and the Pailleres, but they were only OK. The stars in the lineup are the Vieux Telegraphes.
If you’re in Chateauneuf du Pape in the near future, I would highly recommend a visit to Vieux Telegraphe in Bedarrides.