Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe, Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc

Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe, Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc, 2015

  • icon-type Type


  • icon-year Year


  • icon-style Style


  • icon-country Country


  • icon-alcohollevel Alcohol level


  • icon-grapevariety Grape variety
    Clairette 40%, Grenache Blanc 25%, Roussanne 25%, Bourboulenc 10%
  • Rating

    JS 95, RP 95

Gold color followed by citrus and orchard fruits. Crisp and precise. Aging potential of 2 decades and more

About Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe

Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe is a producer in the southern Rhône region of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Owned by the Brunier family for more than 100 years, Vieux Télégraphe is one of the best-known producers in the region. The Brunier family also produces Gigondas-designated wine under the Les Pallieres label, IGP from Vaucluse, AOC Ventoux and wine under the label Massaya from the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon. Another Châteauneuf-du-Pape red was released by the family under the label La Roquette until 2011, when it was replaced with Piedlong.

The domaine was established by Hippolyte Burnier and released its first wine in 1900. It has grown to become one of the largest land owners in Châteauneuf-du-Pape with almost 100 hectares (240 acres). The majority of its vineyards are dedicated to red varieties, with Grenache being the most important grape in the region, though small sections of white wine are used in the production of Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc. The best fruit comes from the La Crau plateau, which sits elevated above many of the region's other vineyards, and is known for its galets, or pudding stones, that account for 70 percent of the soil composition and reach depths of 16ft (5m).

The eponymous Vieux Télégraphe is the flagship wine and is made with grapes from the La Crau vineyard, which has the oldest vines. The estate also makes a Télégraphe Blanc, as well as the second wine, Télégramme, made in both red and white styles. The Télégramme Rouge has a higher percentage of Grenache in its blend and fruit comes from the domaine's younger vines, but these are still decades old. The production of the Télégramme is more than 16,000 cases annually, giving it some of the largest production figures for a Châteauneuf-designated wine. The Télégramme Blanc is made in very small numbers and mostly for export to the United States.

The other common varieties are Mourvèdre, Cinsaut and Syrah for the red wines, and Clairette, Grenache Blanc and Roussane for the white wines.

Grape variety

Bourboulenc is a white wine grape variety primarily grown in southern France. The variety is found in the regions Southern Rhône, Provence and Languedoc.

Bourboulenc is a late-ripening grape variety with tight bunches of large grapes, that can be prone to rot in some years. Bourboulenc wine has a good acidity level, body, penetrating character, citrus aromas and a hint of smoke. However, if the grapes are picked too soon, the wines have a thin, neutral taste.

In 2000, there were 800 hectares (2,000 acres) of Bourboulenc in France.

Alternative Names: Asprokondoura


Clairette is a white wine grape variety most widely grown in the wine regions of Provence, Rhône and Languedoc in France. At the end of the 1990s, there were 3,000 hectares (7,400 acres) of Clairette grown in France, although volumes are decreasing.

Clairette Blanche was often used to make vermouth, to which it is suited as it produces wine high in alcohol and low in acidity, and therefore yields wines that are sometimes described as "flabby" and which tend to oxidise easily. These problems have sometimes been partially overcome by blending it with high-acid varieties such as Piquepoul Blanc. It is allowed into many appellations of Southern Rhône, Provence and Languedoc. The white wines Clairette de Bellegarde and Clairette du Languedoc are made entirely from Clairette Blanche, while the sparkling wine Clairette de Die can also contain Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains. Clairette Blanche is frequently used in the blended white Vin de pays from Languedoc.

It is also one of the thirteen grape varieties permitted in the Châteauneuf-du-Pape appellation. With 2.5% of the appellation's vineyards planted in Clairette Blanche in 2004 it is the most common white variety in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, slightly ahead of Grenache Blanc.

Outside France it is also grown in South Africa for sparkling wine, Australia and Sardinia.

Alternative Names: Clairette Blanche, Blanquette

Grenache Blanc

Grenache Blanc (also known as garnatxa Blanca in Catalonia) is a variety of white wine grape that is related to the red grape Grenache. It is mostly found in Rhône wine blends and in northeast Spain. Its wines are characterised by high alcohol and low acidity, with citrus and or herbaceous notes. Its vigour can lead to overproduction and flabbiness. However, if yields are controlled, it can contribute flavour and length to blends, particularly with Roussanne. Since the 1980s, it has been the fifth most widely planted white wine grape in France after Ugni Blanc, Chardonnay, Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc.

Alternative Names: Garnacha Blanca, Garnatxa Blanca, White Grenache


Roussanne is a white wine grape grown originally in the Rhône wine region in France, where it is often blended with Marsanne. It is the only other white variety, besides Marsanne, allowed in the northern Rhône appellations of Crozes-Hermitage AOC, Hermitage AOC and Saint-Joseph AOC. In the southern Rhône appellation of Châteauneuf-du-Pape AOC it is one of six white grapes allowed, where it may be blended into red wines. Roussanne is also planted in various wine-growing regions of the New World, such as California, Washington, Texas, South Africa and Australia as well as European regions such as Crete, Tuscany and Spain.

The berries are distinguished by their russet colour when ripe—roux is French for the reddish-brown colour russet, and is probably the root for the variety's name. The aroma of Roussanne is often reminiscent of a flowery herbal tea. In warm climates, it produces wines of richness, with flavours of honey and pear, and full body. In cooler climates it is more floral and more delicate, with higher acidity. In many regions, it is a difficult variety to grow, with vulnerability to mildew, poor resistance to drought and wind, late and/or uneven ripening, and irregular yields.

Wines made from Roussanne are characterised by their intense aromatics which can include notes of herbal tea. In its youth it shows more floral, herbal and fruit notes, such as pear, which become more nutty as the wine ages. Roussanne from the Savoie region is marked by pepper and herbal notes. Wine expert Oz Clarke notes that Roussanne wine and Roussanne dominated blends can drink very well in the first 3 to 4 years of their youth before entering a "dumb phase" where the wine is closed aromatically until the wine reaches 7 or 8 years when it develops more complexity and depth.

Alternative Names: Bergeron, Fromental

About Chateauneuf-du-Pape

Châteauneuf-du-Pape is a historic village between the towns of Orange and Avignon, in France's southern Rhône Valley. It is famous for powerful, full-bodied red wines made predominantly from the classic southern Rhône grape trio: Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre. These three varieties are behind the vast majority of the appellation's red wines, although a total of eighteen are approved for use – a mix of red and white grape varieties.

Grenache is king in the vineyards here. It is used in every Châteauneuf red to some extent, and many are made entirely from it. The variety performs better here than in any other French region, and contributes juicy, jammy red-fruit flavours and high potential alcohol. After Grenache, the next most important varieties are Syrah and Mourvèdre. Syrah grows most successfully in the town's cooler sites, and brings structure and spiced black-fruit notes to the blend. Late-ripening, sun-loving Mourvèdre flourishes only in the hotter, drier vineyards, and adds dark depths and bitter-chocolate notes.

Counoise is the only other red-wine variety to be grown here in any significant quantity. The others – Cinsaut, Muscardin, Vaccarese, Picpoul Noir, Terret Noir – are planted only in small quantities.

The vineyards here also produce white Châteauneuf-du-Pape wines, which are tangy, weighty and intensely perfumed. These are made from a number of rustic southern French varieties, most importantly Grenache Blanc, Roussanne, Clairette and Bourboulenc, but also a few which are entirely unknown outside southern France (Clairette Rosé, Grenache Gris, Picardin, Picpoul Blanc, Picpoul Gris).

The soils around Chateauneuf-du-Pape are pebbly and sandy, as is common in the southern half of the Rhône Valley. They are formed mostly of ancient riverbeds of various ages (the town and its vineyards are located just to the east of the Rhône river). The archetypal Châteauneuf vineyard is strewn with large pebbles known as galets, whose soft, rounded form stands in direct contrast to the gnarly, twisted vine trunks.

The climate here is Mediterranean and very dry (Châteauneuf-du-Pape is technically the driest of all Rhône appellations), which makes it all the more significant that arrosage (irrigation or watering) is strictly forbidden during the growing season. In extreme cases, the wineries must apply for special permission from the French government to water their vines.

The name Châteauneuf-du-Pape means "new castle of the Pope", and harks back to the early 14th Century, when Avignon was chosen as the new home for the Pope's court. The incumbent Pope at that time was Clement V, whose name also features in the ancient and prestigious Château Pape Clément in Graves. The town's name may be drenched in history, but as a wine title it has been prestigious for less than a century. Up until the early 20th century, the town's wines were anonymously grouped together with others from the Avignon area. This all changed in the 1920s, when Baron Pierre Le Roy de Boiseaumarié (owner of Château Fortia) drafted a set of quality-focused production conditions for the town's wines – a document which became the precursor of France's famous appellation system. The official Châteauneuf-du-Pape appellation title declared in June 1929 was one of the country's very first, and remains one of the most prestigious even today.

Curiously, the village of Châteauneuf-du-Pape itself is also famous for a municipal decree added in the 1950s that bans flying saucers from taking off, landing, or flying over the vineyards.

Regular price $494.00

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