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Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe (Famille Brunier) "Télégramme" Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Southern Rhône, France 2021

Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe (Famille Brunier) "Télégramme" Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Southern Rhône, France 2021

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If Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe’s “La Crau,” the Brunier family’s cuvée produced from the eponymous stone-covered plateau in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, has inscribed itself in wine lore over decades of superb, long-lived vintages, it’s no coincidence. It is made from ancient vines—seventy years old on average, with some sectors surpassing the century mark—firmly entrenched in the appellation’s most celebrated terroir, where the seasoned roots of gnarled Grenache, Mourvèdre, Syrah, Cinsault, and others dig through a thick layer of riverbed stones to access the coolness found deep beneath the sunbaked surface.

The Bruniers’ La Crau holdings, however, are not all mature enough to produce the intense, concentrated fruit that defines the “La Crau” bottling. Over the years, certain parts of the vineyard have been replanted, while missing vines here and there lost to natural causes have been replaced. The fruit from these younger vines is united in the Télégramme bottling, which the Bruniers have produced since 2002, when an uncharacteristically rainy season gave what they feared would be a watered-down version of Vieux Télégraphe. To their surprise, the newborn cuvée was silky and seductive, providing so much immediate pleasure that customers begged them to make it again. Since then, it has become a mainstay of the Brunier lineup, offering a taste of the greatness of “La Crau” with less of the imposing structure that demands bottle age to reach a velvety apex. Today, the young-vine fruit is supplemented by splashes of old-vine Châteauneuf from sites a stone’s throw, so to speak, from La Crau, bolstering Télégramme’s complexity without sacrificing its plush, toothsome texture.

If Télégramme is more about fruit than stones, it is still undeniably Châteauneuf, expressing the nobility of carefully farmed Grenache from the Rhône’s finest terroirs. This unfiltered bottling from the excellent 2020 vintage—a more classic, sun-filled year than that fateful 2002—is one of the best editions to date, with sensual red fruit that is both mouth-filling and weightless, as luxurious as it is accessible. Perfect for enjoying now and over the next few years, it is an ideal match for whatever other fresh, seasonal flavors are on your plate.

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