Vieux Télégraphe | Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Silhouette of Figure tending Vieux Télégraphe Vineyards in Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe has been run by the Brunier family for five generations, and since 1891. The estate’s vineyards are situated on the famous “Plateau de la Crau” the stony terrace where there is nothing but “galets roulés”, or rounded stones, as far as the eye can see. This special terroir imparts a highly distinctive minerality to the wines. Vieux Télégraphe is made from predominantly three grape varieties, 65% Grenache, 15% Syrah, 15% Mourvèdre plus 5% Cinsault and Clairette. In their state-of-the-art gravity flow winery, the grapes are partially destemmed and are fermented in both stainless steel and wood cuves. The blending is done at the end of June after which the wine is matured in large foudres for 20 months. The red wines are bottled unfined and unfiltered and display tremendous concentration and intense flavours of dark cherry and “garrigue”. The best vintages will age for 20 years and more.

The white Châteauneuf is made from 40% Clairette, 25% Grenache Blanc, 25% Roussanne and 10% Bourboulenc of which 1/3 is fermented in 225L barrels, 1/3 in 600L barrels and 1/3 in stainless steel. After three to four years, it develops into a rich, succulent, nutty treat reminiscent of white Hermitage.

Télégramme comes from the younger vines of Vieux Télégraphe, less than 30 years old, and older parcels not located on the plateaux of La Crau or Piedlong. The blend is 80% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 6% Mourvèdre and 4% Cinsault. Ageing is in vats for 10 months followed by foudres for a further 7 months before bottling. The result is a delicious fruit driven Châteauneuf du Pape which drinks very well in its youth.

The Brunier brothers have produced Piedlong, a very special Châteauneuf-du Pape, from two distinct parcels since the 2011 vintage. It is a blend of 90% Grenache (70 year old vines) and 10% Mourvèdre (50 year old vines). The Grenache is situated on the stony Piedlong plateau (full of galets roulés) in the heart of the Châteauneuf appellation, north of the village and the highest point in the production area (128m). The Mourvèdre comes from the sandy Pignan lieu-dit, east of Piedlong. The wine is aged for 20 months in French oak foudres and there is no filtration or fining. This is a classic Brunier wine with the mineral expression dominating the character although there is plenty of richness and depth too.

With the Bruniers’ expansion into the satellite appellations, Daniel and Frédéric have produced some delightful fruit driven, crunchy wines. The Mégaphone, Ventoux AOC comes from a number of plots on the southern slopes of the Dentelles de Montmirail. The blend is 80% Grenache and 20% Syrah and the vineyards are 25 years old. Ageing is in foudres for 10 months.