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Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe Chateauneuf-du-Pape La Crau 2009
This is crammed with fruit, spice and structure, as braised fig, plum skin, cassis and anise notes wrestle with roasted apple wood, melted red licorice and tar for now. The embedded grip should carry the finish until this assimilates fully. Best from 2014 through 2024.
This 135-acre estate (all in the famed La Crau) has produced a 2009 Vieux Telegraphe Chateauneuf du Pape composed of 65% Grenache, 15% Syrah, 15% Mourvedre and the rest other authorized varietals (from vines that average 60 years of age). The wine is aged 18 months in foudres and concrete tanks. This classic offering had just been bottled before my visit, so it was probably tighter than it will be in 6-12 months. Deep ruby/purple-colored with notes of garrigue, seaweed, licorice, plums, black cherries and raspberries, it typically reveals a Mediterranean sea breeze-like character that is difficult to articulate. The sweetness of the tannin, full-bodied mouthfeel, and evolved style remind me somewhat of the 1983, which is still drinking beautifully. The 2009 can be consumed now or cellared for two decades.
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.
The Napa Valley and Cabernet Sauvignon are so intrinsically linked that it is difficult to discuss one without thinking of the other. Although Cabernet has many important outposts throughout the wine world, nowhere else has it achieved such success (and, at the highest end, commanded such lofty prices) than in Napa. Here, it is responsible for bold, opulent, and dark-fruited wines with grippy tannins and a healthy dose of alcohol. The best examples can age for decades. Each of Napa’s smaller sub-AVAs imparts a different character to Cabernet, such as Rutherford’s famous dust or Stags Leap District's tart cherry flavors.