If you are familiar with Châteauneuf-du-Pape, then you can easily associate Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe to this appellation. But for starters, Châteauneuf-du-Pape means “New Castle of the Pope”, it is a village in the Rhone wine region in southeastern France. While Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe is a recognized and the most treasured vineyard located in La Crau, a known plateau in the village.
Long before it fame, a long history of the Brunier family lived in that plateau. It all started with Hippolyte Brunier, a typical farmer who owns no more than a hectare of that area, originally he sells his grapes as premium fruits to merchants. The plateau is not a good place to grow grapes because of the scorching heat, hail, stony terrain but seeing how people reacted to his wine, he started producing more wine until he owned sixteen hectares.
When his sons were of age, his children started helping him tend the vineyard and the whole process of winemaking. The Brunier endured a lot of calamities and even phylloxera that went their way, but it didn’t stop them from bottling more. It was not until his grandson Henri came to help and changed their idea of terroir, even in the most peculiar places.
Henri spearheaded the construction of new wineries, replanting vineyards, temperature control in the area, improving fermentation techniques, and the most essential of all, he was the one who launched their new bottling label, Vieux Telegraphe. This was obviously named after the telegram communication tower that made La Crau discernable from faraway areas.
A few years later, Henri discovered an area in their appellation that is perfect for wine growing. It was characterized as the epitome of terroirs as the soil contains the right amount of robust red clay, limestone, silica, and alluvial deposits. These components are essential in cultivating grapes as it regulates the temperature of the vines in cold and warm weather, at the same time, it’s ideal for the roots as it acts like drainage perfect for the vineyard.
Henri then retired in the 1980s and passed on the family business to his two sons: Daniel and Frederic. The two brothers have contributed a great impact to their heirloom. They acquired more area, expanding up to 70 hectares, they also ventured in new winemaking territories and launched a new label “Telegramme”.
The second label was their hope in making a comeback after La Crau experienced heavy flooding and was forced to downgrade because of blistering conditions. When Telegramme proved to be a huge success, the two brothers used rejected fruits from the vineyard or the “unworthy” fruits from harvest for the La Crau label. Daniel and Frederic used these and combined it with other fruits, this is to offer a new taste from the Domaine that contrasts from the flavor of their first label.
The Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe always delivers an excellent wine even in the most difficult years of vintages. Because of a long history in winemaking, they never fail to produce an assemblage of the right amount of earthiness, strength, and rusticity in their wine. The wine producers of this Domaine always try to achieve a balance in leveling off the aromatic complexity and its tannic structure, this idea produces the best wine in Châteauneuf-du-Pape and possibly in the whole world.
This Domaine was founded in 1898 and produces 24,000 cases per annum. Its producers Frederic and Daniel Brunier still follow the traditional winemaking processes. They prefer to have their grapes harvested by hand, and the grapes undergo 2 sortings for a better wine grape quality. The Brunier family’s hard work finally paid off after nearly a century of cultivating their land and boldy expanding to now, what we know as “Châteauneuf-du-Pape’s grandest Cru”.
Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe Wines
Vieux Telegraphe CDP La Crau is a wine with a blend of the following varieties: Clairette, Grenache Blanc, Roussanne, Bourboulenc, Grenache, Mourvedre, Cinsault and Syrah. The amount of these varieties depends on the type of wine produced, whether it is Blanc (white wine) or rouge (red wine).
Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc La Crau undergoes fermentation in cement tanks and transferred to oak barrels. It is also aged in oak barrels that give it that oaky feel. Afterward, it undergoes second fermentation also known as malolactic fermentation and is bottled for no less than a year.
Châteauneuf-du-Pape Rouge La Crau undergoes fermentation in stainless steel tanks for 25 to 35 days. The wine then rests for 10 months in a cement tank, aged in a foudre for a year and the wine is left unfiltered and bottled. It is not sold until it reaches 22 months of aging.
Châteauneuf-du-Pape Rouge “Télégramme” is a wine with a blend of the following varieties: Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, and Cinsault. It undergoes traditional fermentation for 25 days in temperature-controlled cuves. After this, the wine is aged in cement tanks for 10 months and another 6 months in foudre. This wine is velvety in texture, it also offers that rich red color, and fruity taste.