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Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe Chateauneuf-du-Pape La Crau 2003

  • W&S94
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Winemaker Notes

Wine Spectator Top Wines of 2003!

"The brooding, densely ripe 2003 feels richer and bigger than the 2001 or 1998, yet the weight is perfectly supported by its tannic structure. Velvety flavors of blackberry, black cherry, chocolate and clove are gripping and focused. As lovely as this is now, it will be even more expressive with another five years in the cellar."
-Wine & Spirits

Critical Acclaim

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W&S 94
Wine & Spirits
From the Plateau de la Crau in the southeast portion of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, the Bruniers produce this wine from vines averaging 50 years of age. The brooding, densely ripe 2003 feels richer and bigger than the 2001 or 1998, yet the weight is perfectly supported by its tannic structure. Velvety flavors of blackberry, black cherry, chocolate and clove are gripping and focused. As lovely as this is now, it will be even more expressive with another five years in the cellar.
WS 93
Wine Spectator
Tight at first, but quickly picks up steam in the glass, with dark cherry, plum, tobacco, pepper, mineral and hot stone notes pumping through the long, fruit- and terroir-filled finish. Really fleshes out nicely, with velvety tannins that are atypical in '03. Drink now through 2020.
WE 92
Wine Enthusiast
This classic wine from the Brunier family is certainly one of the best known names in Château-neuf-du-Pape. It is also a very fine wine, full of perfumed fruit, dark, dry but rich tannins, flavors of oak, pepper and herbs, made in quite a traditional style. The name “La Crau” refers to the plateau on which the vines are planted. Imported by Kermit Lynch.
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Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe

Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe

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Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe, France
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One cannot think of Chateauneuf-du-Pape, the most celebrated cru of the Southern Rhône, without thinking of Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe. The Brunier family is legendary in its own right, having been rooted to the enigmatic plateau known as “La Crau” for over one hundred years. The wines of Vieux Télégraphe 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.

The AOC for Chateauneuf-du-Pape is in the Rhone Valley stretching from Orange to Avignon. Domaine Vieux Telegraphe was founded in 1895, and takes it name Vieux Telegraphe (Old Telegraph) from a rocky plateau of the Domaine where in 1792 Me. Chappe, the inventor of the optical telegraph, installed a relay tower.

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Chateauneuf-du-Pape

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Famous for its full-bodied, seductive and spicy reds with flavor and aroma characteristics reminiscent of black cherry, baked raspberry, garrigue, olive tapenade, lavender and baking spice, Chateauneuf-du-Pape is the leading sub-appellation of the southern Rhône River Valley. Large pebbles resembling river rocks, called "galets" in French, dominate most of the terrain. The stones hold heat and reflect it back up to the low-lying gobelet-trained vines. Though the galets are typical, they are not prominent in every vineyard. Chateau Rayas is the most obvious deviation with very sandy soil.

According to law, eighteen grape varieties are allowed in Chateauneuf-du-Pape and most wines are blends of some mix of these. For reds, Grenache is the star player with Mourvedre and Syrah coming typically second. Others used include Cinsault, Counoise and occasionally Muscardin, Vaccarèse, Picquepoul Noir and Terret Noir.

Only about 6-7% of wine from Chateauneuf-du-Pape is white. Blends and single-varietal bottlings are typically based on the soft and floral Grenache Blanc but Clairette, Bourboulenc and Roussanne are grown with some significance.

The wine of Chateauneuf-du-Pape takes its name from the relocation of the papal court to Avignon. The lore says that after moving in 1309, Pope Clément V (after whom Chateau Pape-Clément in Pessac-Léognan is named) ordered that vines were planted. But it was actually his successor, John XXII, who established the vineyards. The name however, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, translated as "the pope's new castle," didn’t really stick until the 19th century.

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Rhône Blends

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With bold fruit flavors and accents of sweet spice, red Rhône blends originated from France’s southern Rhône Valley. Grenache, supported by Syrah and Mourvèdre typically form the base of the blend, while Carignan, Cinsault and Counoise often come in to play. With some creative interpretation, Rhône blends have also become popular in Priorat, Washington, Australia and California.

In the Glass

The taste profile of a Rhône blend will vary according to its individual components, as each variety brings something different to the glass. Grenache is the lightest in color but contributes plenty of ripe red fruit and a plush texture. Syrah supplies dark fruit flavors, along with savory, spicy and earthy notes. Mourvèdre is responsible for a floral perfume and earthy flavor as well as structure and a healthy dose of color. New World examples tend to be fruit-forward in style, while those from the Old World will often have more earth, structure and herbal components on top of ripe red and blue fruit.

Perfect Pairings

Rhône red blends typically make for very food-friendly wines. These can work with a wide variety of meat-based dishes, playing equally well with beef, pork, lamb or game. Braised beef cheeks, grilled steak or sausages, roasted pork and squab are all fine pairings.

Sommelier Secret

Some regions like to put their own local spin on the red Rhône blend—for example, in Australia’s Barossa Valley, Shiraz is commonly blended with Cabernet Sauvignon to add structure, tannin and a long finish. Grenache-based blends from Priorat often include Carignan (known locally as Cariñena) and Syrah, but also international varieties like Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. In California, anything goes, and it is not uncommon to see Petite Sirah make an appearance.

KBF85906_2003 Item# 85906