2016 Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe Chateauneuf-du-Pape Telegramme

Year: 2016
Appellation: Rhone
Country: France
Wine Advocate: 91
Vinous Media: 90-92
James Suckling: 96
Jeb Dunnuck: 90-92
Red Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 14.5%
Price :
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LAST CALL GUYS!!....80% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 6% Mourvèdre, 4% Cinsault

"Boasting silky tannins, strawberry-raspberry fruit and delicate herbal shadings, the 2016 Chateauneuf du Pape Telegramme isn't hugely rich or concentrated, but it is harmonious and graceful. Bottled in March 2018, it's immediately approachable yet capable of providing pleasure over the next 5-7 years.

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)

"Vivid ruby. Spice-accented red berries and cherry on the nose, along with suggestions of garrigue and smoky minerals. Juicy red fruit and floral flavors show very good focus and become deeper and sweeter with air. The floral note returns on the clinging, energetic finish, which is shaped by smooth tannins." (VM)

"Very complex and composed. Bright aromas of wild, red-berries and herbs. Some blueberry pastry, too. Plush, ripe and concentrated palate with long, smooth, ripe and powerful tannins. Great depth and detail. Fresh, red-berry and plum flavors run riot on the finish. Drink or hold." (JS)

"The 2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Télégramme comes from the younger vines on the estate and is a cuvée where the quality has continued to increase in the past few vintages, where it tastes like a good vintage of Vieux Telegraphe today. Black raspberries, crushed herbs, pepper and a kiss of minerality all emerge from this rounded, sexy, yet still concentrated barrel sample. Readers looking for a small taste of the quality and style of this estate at a lower price point should buy this." (JD)