Legendary Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Vieux Télégraphe

For Why Not Wednesday this week we have the prestigious and legendary Châteauneuf-du-Pape family wine makers Vignobles Brunier. It was Henri Brunier who penned the first chapter of this wonderful family story in 1891, in the village of Bédarrides, well known today as occupying 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 pebbles.

The latter 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. Hippolyte’s son, Jules, extended the estate to 42 acres and aptly named the fruits of his labours “Vieux Télégraphe”.

At the end of the Second World War, Henri, the second thus named and the fourth generation, had the formidable task of reviving the estate and shaping its destiny. Not content with enlarging the Domaine to a single expanse of 136 acres, he gave this classic Châteauneuf-du-Pape wine its full dimension, creating a “Vieux Télégraphe” style and positioning it on all the world’s leading markets.

Since the early 1980s his two sons, Frédéric and Daniel, have been tending to the family concern. They now farm 242 acres in the Châteauneuf-du-Pape AOC area, and 37 acres of IGP Vaucluse and AOC Ventoux vines. Domaine Les Pallières must also be listed: acquired in 1998 in partnership with family friend Kermit Lynch, this single-plot 309-acre estate in Gigondas has 62 acres of vines.

The year 1998 also marked the creation of Massaya in Lebanon in association with Sami and Ramzi Ghosn, which now makes wines from 123 acres of vines, planted mainly in the northeast Beqaa Valley.

After more than a century in existence, Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe and the subsequent additions, guided by the fifth generation of vignerons, and soon the sixth, has kept its original philosophy intact and very much alive.

Vignobles Brunier, Vin de Pays de Vaucluse Le Pigeoulet Blanc, 2016 :: $26 Sale $22

White Pigeoulet is made from a vine plot of just 2.5 acres: half in.the Saint-Georges lieu dit in Courthézon, and half in the municipality of Caromb. The wine is equal amounts of roussane, grenache blanc and clairette and the grapes are hand-picked, with double sorting at the vine, then a third sort in the winery.  This is a  white wine that’s always ready to please. Subtle, elegant, classy. A great companion for Provençal cooking.

Vignobles Brunier, Vin de Pays du Vaucluse Le Pigeoulet Rouge, 2015 :: $23 Sale $20

The Pigeoulet Rouge is blended with 80% grenache noir, 10% syrah, 5% carignan, and 5% cinsault. The grapes are hand-picked, with double sorting at the vine, then a third sort in the winery. An everyday drinker. Tender, fresh and fruity in character, offering instant pleasure.  


Vignobles Brunier, Ventoux Mégaphone Rouge, 2016 :: $28 Sale $25

This wine comes from the addition of plots totalling 7.5 acres in the village of Saint-Hippolyte-le-Graveyron, nestling on the southern slopes of the Dentelles de Montmirail. It is a little paradise. %80 grenache and %20 syrah grapes are hand-picked, with double sorting at the vine, then a third sort in the winery. Lightly crushed and fully destemmed, the grapes are vinified in temperature-controlled concrete tanks for 20-30 days. A serious, profound bouquet with a hint of liquorice. The palate reveals the spices of this new terroir, interwoven with herby garrigue flavours. Attractive structure, taut, elegant, compelling – you sense the freshness of the place. A true character.


Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe, Châteauneuf-du-Pape Télégramme Rouge, 2015 :: $59 Sale $49

Vieux Télégraphe’s second-label Châteauneuf-du-Pape red, made with the grapes of young vines under 30 years old, plus older parcels not located on the Plateaux of La Crau or Piedlong. This red is blended with grenache 80%, syrah 10%,mourvèdre 6% and cinsault 4%. The vines are 40 years on average. The wine is aged in vats for 10 months, then in French oak foudres  for about 7 months. It’s then bottled at 15-16 months, released at 18 months.aThis Châteauneuf-du-Pape is seriously dominated by Grenache, which confers very singular suppleness and roundness. Best savoured young.

 *Saturday Tasting*

We start sippin’ and tastin’ at 4pm. Hope you can make it! Tag your pics #pickitupatpearl and #Neverabadbottle so we can CHEERS! 




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