2012 Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe "La Crau" Châteauneuf-du-Pape (Pre-Arrival)
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Bright ruby. Intense raspberry and cherry aromas are complicated by hints of lavender, spicecake and blood orange. Juicy and fruit-driven, with palate-coating flavors of sweet, spice-tinged red fruits and candied flowers. Quite suave and seamless, boasting striking purity to its red fruit- and mineral-driven finish. Those who decry the ripeness and heady character of most Chateauneufs owe it to themselves to try this wine.
Rock-solid, with a hefty core of fig, blackberry and black cherry fruit, wrapped in chestnut and tobacco leaf notes and carrying through a lavender- and tar-framed finish. Dense and grippy, showing a slightly old-school shading. Should cellar well. Best from 2016 through 2030.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Lastly, the flagship 2012 Châteauneuf du Pape is a classically structured, elegant effort that will evolve gracefully on its balance and harmony. Showing the telltale seaweed, currants, olive, licorice and ample minerality so common in this cuvee, it’s medium to full-bodied, lightly textured and focused on the palate, with plenty of tannin. It needs 3-4 years of cellaring and will have 15-20 years of longevity. Located on the eastern edge of the appellation, near the village of Bedarrides, Vieux Télégraphe owns prime plots in the famed La Crau lieu-dit and fashion a traditional, age-worthy style of Châteauneuf du Pape. They continue to streamline the portfolio, and as I commented last year, now produce five Châteauneuf du Papes: three reds and two whites. The reds include the entry-level Télégramme, the Grenache-driven Piedlong, and their top cuvee, the classic Vieux Télégraphe. As for the whites, they have the classic Châteauneuf du Pape white, and while the La Roquete rouge was replaced by the Piedlong, they still release a white Châteauneuf du Pape under the La Roquete label. In addition to their Châteauneufs, this estate makes a bevy of high quality and well-priced releases from Ventoux. I was able to taste their Gigondas releases from Domaine Pallieres, and opted to include these releases in this report as well. This estate is a collaboration between Vieux Télégraphe’s Brunier brothers and one of the top Southern France importers, Kermit Lynch. They release two Gigo
Opaque ruby. An intensely perfumed bouquet evokes spicy dark berries and potpourri, with zesty mineral and incense qualities adding complexity. Pliant boysenberry and candied lavender flavors are impressively fresh and focused, with a hint of licorice adding depth. Closes sweet, supple and broad, with resonating spiciness and gentle tannins that add shape and grip.
Crimson. Very sweet start and rich, candified. Lots of power and structure with masses of sweet fruit in the middle. Just this side of porty but hugely satisfying. Drink 2020-2028. (17/20 points)
Quoting Jeb Dunnuck for Wine Advocate: "Located in the southeastern part of Chateauneuf du Pape and located mainly on the prime La Crau plateau, this classic and traditional estate has been run by the Brunier family for generations. Now managed by brothers Daniel and Frederic, the estate continues to churn out a range of high class wines. In addition to their holdings in Chateauneuf du Pape (Vieux Telegraphe, La Roquete, and now Piedlong, which is a new wine replacing the red from La Roquete) they also make wines in Gigondas (Les Pallieres, Vin de Pays and Ventoux ). All of the wines are high quality and will be reviewed in part 2 of this report. To give you an idea on yields from this estate, in 2010 they reported yields of 27 hectoliters per hectare, 2011 was 32 hectoliters per hectare and 2012 came in at 30 hectoliters per hectare." (10/2013)