97 Point Wine Advocate: Performing considerably better than it did prior to bottling, the 2010 Vieux Telegraphe Chateauneuf du Pape is one of the all-time great Vieux Telegraphes I have tasted in the last 3+ decades. I believe it is even superior to the 2007, which I had several weeks ago. The 2010 boasts a dense purple color along with a sumptuous bouquet of spring flowers, boysenberries, black cherries, black currants, nori (the sushi seaweed wrapper), black olives, licorice and pepper. This full-bodied, meaty, thick, juicy effort possesses a boatload of tannin, but it also has incredible concentration. More massive than I remember from last year, it has put on considerable weight and intensity. Forget it for 3-4 years, and drink it over the following 25-30 years.
96 Point Wine Spectator: Coated with unctuous linzer torte, warm plum sauce and pure cassis fruit flavors, while notes of maduro tobacco, mint, green fig and toasted anise flitter throughout. This is lush and dense, but well-harnessed through the finish, with a mouthwatering roasted apple wood note and lingering fresh acidity. Best from 2014 through 2030. 4,200 cases imported.
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 Bruniers’ story begins in 1898 with Hippolyte Brunier. A modest farmer who lived off the land, Hippolyte kept less than a hectare of vines to make his own wines. His small vineyard was at one of the highest points in between Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Bédarrides, a stony plateau called “La Crau”. The elevation of this terrain had prompted the construction of a communication tower in the late 18th century to transmit telegraph messages between Marseilles and Paris. Otherwise, the allure of this barren landscape is not immediately discernable—there is nothing but galets roulés, or rounded stones, as far as the eye can see. Up so high, the vineyards are exposed to all kinds of elements—rain, hail, scorching sunshine, and especially the unruly Mistral. This was unwelcome terrain where only the toughest vigneron dare plant, although the notorious mistral works wonderfully to prevent rot.