Vieux Telegraph Chateauneuf du Pape 2016
From Kermit Lynch, famed American wine writer and long standing importer of French wines:
“Daniel Brunier was absolutely beside himself with anticipation last month when the subject of the 2016 Vieux Télégraphe vintage came up. ‘I would never use this word lightly, but 2016 is the absolute best vintage I’ve ever seen here since 1978… I loved the 2010, the 2007, there were others which gave great emotion, but 2016…’ and with that he just nodded his head in disbelief. This was at a casual, home-cooked, off-the-record dinner, not at a trade or promotional event. ‘This vintage is so… vibrant. The rusticity of our La Crau vineyards, of the old Châteauneuf-du-Pape, is back’. Intrigued, we went to the cellars the next day to taste. We tasted out of the casks, and indeed what was in the glass was unlike no other Châteauneuf I’ve ever experienced.
“One cannot think of Chateauneuf-du-Pape, the most celebrated cru of the Southern Rhone, without thinking of Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe. The Brunier family is legendary in its own right, havingbeen rooted to the enigmatic plateau known as “La Crau” for over one hundred years.
“The wines of Vieux Telegraphe evoke the concept of terroir in its purest form: they reflect their dramatic climate, the rough terrain that defines the soil, their full sun exposure at a higher altitude, the typicity of the varietals with an emphasis on Grenache, and of course, the influence of their caretakers, the Brunier family. For many, La Crau is Chateauneuf-du-Pape’s grandest cru.”
“Impressive, complex array of wild cherries, raspberries, garrigue herbs, lightly spiced pastry and stony, chalky minerals. Super-fresh florals. The palate has superb texture, roundness, completeness, depth and detail. Powerful yet elegant with powdery tannins and essence-like red fruit. Super-fleshy, supple and dense core, then strong at the edges. Layer upon layer peels away on the finish. Resounding finesse and equilibrium, showing the full potential of the plateau La Crau. Drink or hold.” – James Suckling
“Bottled just last week, the 2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape offers a classic, gorgeous bouquet of black raspberries, currants, violets, salty minerality, nori (seaweed wrapper) and licorice. Full-bodied, pure, incredibly elegant, with fine tannin, and a huge finish, this is classic Vieux Télégraphe all the way that has the balance to drink now.” – Jeb Dunnuck
“Undoubtedly one of the top vintages of this wine, the 2016 Chateauneuf du Pape La Crau features classy notes of crushed stones and black tea to go along with ripe raspberries and black cherries. Full-bodied yet silky, there’s more power and richness in La Crau than in Piedlong, yet there’s commensurate elegance and finesse. The wine grows in intensity on the finish without ever seeming heavy or overripe, instead offering hints of tea and licorice.” – Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate