Wines to Seek Out
The Brunier family has multiple estates within the Southern Rhône, including the glorious Les Pallières in Gigondas (which they co-purchased with American wine importer Kermit Lynch), as well as Domaine La Roquète and Piedlong in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, and Mégaphone in Ventoux, and Le Pigeoulet in the Vaucluse.
Vieux Télégraphe Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc
From 55-year-old vines of Clairette, Grenache Blanc, Roussanne and Bourboulenc comes this delicately aromatic and refined white wine from holdings on La Crau. After fermenting in cement tanks, the wine is raised in a mixture of oak vessel sizes and released a year later, a necessity for coaxing out its identity. This wine does not come easily, either for the producer or the taster. What you get on the palate is a fascinating interplay of elements, but also the same struggle for context that all of the low-acidity whites from the Southern Rhône present. What do you pair this wine? How long do you cellar it for? What are we after? This is staunchly a wine for Southern Rhône fanatics and wine obsessives. The difference here between Vieux Télégraphe's version and its handful of contemporary white CdPs? Refinement. If ever there was a wine you could chalk up to precision independent of a low pH, it is this one.
Vieux Télégraphe “Télégramme” Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Functioning as Vieux Télégraphe's second vin, "Télégramme" comes from younger vines from across a wide array of Châteauneuf-du-Pape terroir, including some from La Crau. In many ways, this is the more typical and modern Châteauneuf-du-Pape with assertiveness throughout the experience: bold fruit, confident aromas, burly tannins and noticeable alcohol. Yet there is a touch of finesse even here: a minty-tone through the core seems to hold everything in check, while the tannins, though burly, are refined and effective. The whispering length of the finish is near magical.
Vieux Télégraphe “La Crau” Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Perhaps the only Châteauneuf-du-Pape you need (unless you don't mind paying 10x the amount for Château Rayas). Bursting forth with the dried strawberry, red tea, thyme and rosemary-like tones that are often used to describe Châteauneuf-du-Pape, "La Crau" manages to add a few more things to the lexicon beyond its typicity. For one, there is the extreme level of harmony happening in this wine. It feels orchestrated and perfectly tuned, with very fine and polished tannins even in recent vintages. The 2021 is a wine you'll want to seek out and cellar if you adore Grenache blends and the Southern Rhône.