Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe La Crau Chateauneuf du Pape 2016, 75cl
Just when you think you have tasted the very best expression nature can offer, along comes another vintage which just leaves you speechless. It happened in 1989 / 90 in Bordeaux and here we are in the Southern Rhone with an exceptional pair of vintages from two legendary families which will keep winelovers entranced and intrigued for many years to come.
Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe has been run by the Brunier family, for six generations - since 1891 to be precise. The estate's vineyards, 60 years old on average, are planted on the celebrated Plateau of La Crau, a site renowned for grape-growing in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. This terroir imparts to our wines a highly distinctive minerality, as if they have been filtered through the thick layer of large pebbles left behind when the Alpine glaciers melted, long before the Rhône Valley formed.
"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 liquorice. To be consumed between 2018 - 2035. 96 points.
Daniel Brunier said that all of the estate's 2016 reds are 15.5% alcohol or more, yet I didn't find excessive heat in any of them—a testament to the richness of the wines and the balance achieved in this vintage. With similar growing seasons and yields between 2015 and 2016, Brunier says, "I don't know where comes the differences." The family's joint venture with American importer Kermit Lynch, Domaine Les Pallières, is also worth a strong look.
(Joe Czerwinski, Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate, Oct 2017)