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Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe Chateauneuf-du-Pape La Crau (375ML half-bottle) 2009

Rhone Red Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
  • WS94
  • RP92
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Winemaker Notes

A classic red Châteauneuf-du-Pape, very fine and elegant. The best vintages will age for 25 years and more.

Critical Acclaim

WS 94
Wine Spectator

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.

RP 92
The Wine Advocate

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.

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Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe

Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe

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Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe, , France - Rhone
Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe
One cannot think of Châteauneuf-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 Châteauneuf-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.

Napa Valley

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One of the world's most highly regarded regions for wine production and tourism, the Napa Valley is the AVA that brought worldwide recognition to California winemaking. The area was settled by a few choice wine families in the 1960's who bet that the wines of the area would grow and flourish. They were right. The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980's, when vineyard lands were scooped up and vines were planted throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, from large conglomerates to small boutiques to cult classics. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux blends. Whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

Within the Napa Valley lie many smaller sub-AVAs that lend even more character specifics to the wines. Furthest south is Carneros, followed by Yountville, Oakville & Rutherford. Above those two are St.-Helena and the valley's newest AVA, Calistoga. These areas are situated on the valley floor and are known for creating rich, smooth Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. There are a few mountain regions as well, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs. Those include Howell Mountain, Stags Leap District, and Mt. Veeder. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from more time in the bottle to evolve and soften.

An easy-going red variety with generous fruit and a supple texture, Merlot’s subtle tannins make it perfect for early drinking and allow it to pair with a wide range of foods. One simply needs to look to Bordeaux to understand Merlot's status as a noble variety. On the region’s Right Bank, it dominates in blends with Cabernet Franc, and on the Left Bank, it plays a supporting role to (and helps soften) Cabernet Sauvignon—in both cases resulting in some of the longest-lived and highest-quality wines in the world. They are often emulated elsewhere in Bordeaux-style blends, particularly in California’s Napa Valley, where Merlot also frequently shines on its own.

In the Glass

Merlot is known for its soft, silky texture and approachable flavors of ripe plum, red and black cherry, and raspberry. In a cool climate, you may find earthier notes alongside dried herbs, tobacco, and tar, while Merlot from warmer regions is generally more straightforward and fruit-focused.

Perfect Pairings

Lamb with Merlot is an ideal match—the sweetness of the meat picks up on the sweet fruit flavors of the wine to create a harmonious balance. Merlot’s gentle tannins allow for a hint of spice and its medium weight and bright acidity permit the possibilities of simple pizza or pasta with red sauce—overall, an extremely versatile food wine.

Sommelier Secret

Since the release of the 2004 film Sideways, Merlot's repuation has taken a big hit, and more than a decade later has yet to fully recover, though it is on its way. What many viewers didn't realize was that as much as Miles derided the variety, the prized wine of his collection—a 1961 Château Cheval Blanc—is made from a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc.

STC677466_2009 Item# 115632

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