Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe 2019 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Rouge

Tasting notes
Medium to full bodied but fine and elegant. Choose foods to match its weight and power; roasts, mature hard cheeses.

Why we recommend this wine
We visited the Southern Rhone a few years back see out trip report here and visited Vieux Télégraphe. We found that we liked the wines of the area and been mightily impressed with this one.

The wine
The blend of 65% Grenache noir, 15% Mourvèdre, 15% Syrah, Cinsault, Clairette and sundry others 5% is made from vines 70 years old on average. The grapes are hand-picked, with double sorting at the vine, then a third sorting in the winery. Gentle pressing and selective destemming, followed by 30-40 days’ traditional fermentation in temperature–controlled stainless-steel and wooden vats followed by pneumatic pressing. The wine undergoes malolactic fermentation and then 20-22 months in French oak foudres (60hl). The wine is bottled unfined and unfiltered (that is, expect it to throw a sediment), then released at 2 years. The best vintages will age for 25 years and more.

The wine estate
It was Henri Brunier kicked off this wonderful family story in 1891, in the village of Bédarridesin the southeastern portion of the Châteauneuf-du-Pape AOC area. In that year, he gifted to his son Hippolyte some plots of land on La Crau, a place in those days considered practically unfit for cultivation, its soil a thankless proposition due to a high density of galets roulés (flatish oval pebbles). Hippolyte planted his first vine stocks on this commanding plateau, where grapes had first been grown in the 14th century; and where, in 1821, Claude Chappe, inventor of the optical telegraph, built one of his signal towers, hence “Vieux Télégraphe”. After more than 125 years in existence, the Domaine is managed by the fifth and the sixth generations of vignerons.
They follow organic methods because they believe fine fruit is essential for a fine vintage. To achieve this, they are quick to tailor each task to each parcel of vines: for instance, pruning, the spreading of organic manure and traditional ploughing are winter chores that may seem straightforward at first glance, but in fact demand great care. In springtime and summer, the same applies for the debudding, done by hand, and the removal of surplus unripe grapes and surplus leaves; balance is everything, and practically each vine enjoys its own.

Food and wine
This wine calls for hearty, full flavoured foods rich in umami; roast meats and root vegetables, rich mushrooms, hard cheeses. Also see our guide to pairing food and wine here.

Did you know?
To fight vine moths (eudemis and cochylis), since 1997 Vieux Télégraphe have used the technique known as “sexual confusion”. This simply involves saturating the vineyards with female pheromones, so that the disoriented male butterfly has great trouble in mating. The result? Fewer grape worms and healthier grapes, naturally.