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Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe Chateauneuf-du-Pape La Crau 2010
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.
Performing considerably better than it did prior to bottling, the 2010 Vieux Telegraphe Chateauneuf du Pape is one of the all-time great Vieux Telegraphes I have tasted in the last 3+ decades. I believe it is even superior to the 2007, which I had several weeks ago. The 2010 boasts a dense purple color along with a sumptuous bouquet of spring flowers, boysenberries, black cherries, black currants, nori (the sushi seaweed wrapper), black olives, licorice and pepper. This full-bodied, meaty, thick, juicy effort possesses a boatload of tannin, but it also has incredible concentration. More massive than I remember from last year, it has put on considerable weight and intensity. Forget it for 3-4 years, and drink it over the following 25-30 years. Kudos to Daniel and Frederic Brunier!
Coated with unctuous linzer torte, warm plum sauce and pure cassis fruit flavors, while notes of maduro tobacco, mint, green fig and toasted anise flitter throughout. This is lush and dense, but well-harnessed through the finish, with a mouthwatering roasted apple wood note and lingering fresh acidity. Best from 2014 through 2030.
Vivid ruby. Intense red fruit and floral aromas are complicated by notes of anise, allspice and minerals. Sappy and incisive on the palate, offering pliant raspberry and bitter cherry flavors and an exotic lavender pastille quality. Becomes livelier and spicier with air and finishes with supple tannins, outstanding clarity and noteworthy persistence.
La Crau, in the southeastern corner of Chateauneuf, is a high, galet-covered plateau where the Bruniers farm 173 acres. In 2010, their vines produced a decadent red with a fine-boned complexity. It feels perfectly ripe, cherry-red and firm, its succulence pointed up by the bright acidity. It also feels completely natural, with a fruity licorice spice, wildflower notes and ruddy earth tones adding details that seem to reference a particular place.
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.
Responsible for the vast majority of American wine production...
Responsible for the vast majority of American wine production, if California were a country, it would be the world’s fourth largest wine-producing nation. The state’s diverse terrain and microclimates allow for an incredibly wide-ranging selection of wine styles, and unlike tradition-bound Europe, experimentation is more than welcome here. Wineries range from boutique to massive corporations, and price and quality are equally varied—plenty of inexpensive bulk wine is made in the Central Coast area, while Napa is responsible for some of the world’s most prestigious and expensive “cult” wines.
Just about every style of wine you can imagine is made in California, from bone dry to unctuously sweet, still to sparkling, light and fresh to rich and full-bodied. Each AVA and sub-AVA has its own distinct personality. In the Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and other Bordeaux varieties dominate, as well as Sauvignon Blanc. Sonoma County is best known for Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Zinfandel. The Central Coast has carved out a niche with Rhône blends based on Grenache and Syrah, while Mendocino has found success with Alsatian varieties such as Riesling and Gewürztraminer. With all the diversity that California has to offer, it is certain that any wine lover will find something to get excited about.
Unapologetically powerful, heady, and fruit-forward...
Unapologetically powerful, heady, and fruit-forward, Zinfandel is often thought of as a truly Californian grape, though in fact it is anything but. This variety has followed an intriguing trajectory to reach its adoptive home, beginning, surprisingly, in Croatia. Originally known as Tribidrag, it first made its way to southern Italy where it became known as Primitivo. From there it eventually migrated to what is now unarguably its most successful outpost, in California, and has thrived throughout the state. Of course, this is also the grape of White Zinfandel, a sweet pink wine that enjoyed great popularity in the 1980s and 90s. Though White Zin still has a significant following, today the variety is increasingly associated with the red version.
In the Glass
Zinfandel commonly features a bold, plush texture and notes of dark plum, blackberry, sweet spice, black pepper, dark chocolate, leather, and licorice, and can often be described as “jammy” and a little bit sweet. Very ripe examples may express a hint of dried fruit like raisin, fig, or prune. Despite its significant alcohol and weight, Zinfandel has very smooth, gentle tannins.
Zinfandel is a powerfully flavored wine, mingling happily with bold food like brisket, lamb shanks, pork ribs, or anything barbecued. If care is taken with regards to alcohol levels, Zinfandel’s hint of sweetness can work well with milder Indian-spiced dishes like lamb curry.
Thanks to its popularity both for home winemaking and as communion wine, many Zinfandel vines were able to survive prohibition, leading to the abundance of "old vine" Zinfandels. These low-yielding vines tend to produce wine that is concentrated, complex, and elegant.