2016 Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe Chateauneuf-du-Pape La Crau 1.5 L

Year: 2016
Appellation: Rhone
Country: France
Wine Advocate: 96
Vinous Media: 93-95
James Suckling: 98
Jeb Dunnuck: 96-98
Red Wine
Price :
$155.00

2018 JAMES SUCKLING TOP 100: #72!!

"Undoubtedly one of the top vintages of this wine, the 2016 Chateauneuf du Pape La Crau features classy notes of crushed stones and black tea to go along with ripe raspberries and black cherries. Full-bodied yet silky, there's more power and richness in La Crau than in Piedlong, yet there's commensurate elegance and finesse. The wine grows in intensity on the finish without ever seeming heavy or overripe, instead offering hints of tea and licorice.

Early on a Saturday morning, the gracious and reflective Daniel Brunier received me at his family's historic estate to taste through a cross section of the wines that Famille Brunier is now producing. In addition to the wines of Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe (VT), the group includes wines from Le Pigeoulet, Mégaphone in Ventoux, Domaine Les Pallières in Gigondas and Clos La Roquète in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Brunier took the time during my brief visit to carefully explain why he doesn't like to call the 2017 Chateauneuf du Pape Télégramme a "second wine." This wine now includes much of the red plantings from Clos La Roquète, so maybe he has a point. But it also includes the young-vine material from VT plots, and it's clearly not of the caliber of the main VT bottling, so draw your own conclusions. The family philosophy is to avoid selected yeasts and bacteria for malolactic fermentation, allowing the naturally occurring bugs to do their work. Proportions of stems/whole clusters varies considerably, depending on the wine, as does the élevage, although most of the wines mature in foudres. While the greatness of 2016 goes unquestioned here, Brunier called 2017, "At minimum, a very, very good vintage. We were surprised it's so fresh and balanced." Yields were down by about 50% from the previous year. The emphasis here is on elegance and complexity. "Grenache is fantastic when it's not fruity. It's easy to do extraction and big wines. It takes humbleness to do less, a confidence in the land," Brunier said. More controversially, he concluded, "Extraction has been invented to replace terroir."" (WA)

"Lurid ruby-red. Potent, mineral-accented Chambord, cherry compote and licorice aromas are complicated by suave lavender and Asian spice qualities. Seamless, round and alluringly sweet, offering lush red and blue fruit preserve and floral pastille flavors and a hint of five-spice powder. Finishes sappy, sweet and extremely long, featuring velvety tannins and resonating florality." (VM)

"Impressive, complex array of wild cherries, raspberries, garrigue herbs, lightly spiced pastry and stony, chalky minerals. Super-fresh florals. The palate has superb texture, roundness, completeness, depth and detail. Powerful yet elegant with powdery tannins and essence-like red fruit. Super-fleshy, supple and dense core, then strong at the edges. Layer upon layer peels away on the finish. Resounding finesse and equilibrium, showing the full potential of the plateau La Crau. Drink or hold." (JS)

"Moving to the grand vin, the 2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape is backward and dense, with a huge mid-palate, notes of framboise, black cherries, roasted herbs, nori, and spice, a thick, opulent texture, and yet no sense of weight or heaviness. With ripe, polished tannin and a blockbuster finish, it might just be the greatest wine from this estate to date." (JD)

Winery Notes:
From over 150 acres of vineyard land in the La Crau district of Chateauneuf-du-Pape, the Brunier brothers make one of the worlds best known wines. Vieux Telegraphe does not make a range of different bottlings and cuvees. They make 2 wines, a white and red, and all of their effort and their best grapes go into these 2 wines. The Domaine has been producing wine since 1895.