With some of the finest placed terroirs in the entire region, the Brunier family have effortlessly steered Vieux Telegraphe for nearly a century, and, as Jeb Dunnuck once put it, “lovers of elegant, classical Châteauneuf du Pape, both red and white, can’t go wrong with this estate”.
Vieux Télégraphe started in 1891 when Hippolyte Burnier received some plots of land from his father. These plots were in La Crau, a place which in those days was considered practically unfit for cultivation due to a high density of pebbles in the soil. Hippolyte decided to accept the challenge and planted his first vine stocks on this commanding plateau, where in 1821 the inventor of the optical telegraph, Claude Chappe, built one of his signal towers, the historical fact which inspired the name of the estate: Vieux Télégraphe.
Today La Crau is one of the most celebrated sites in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, and Vieux Télégraphe is one of the benchmark estates in the appellation, possessing considerable 65-hectare holdings and producing wines with a distinctive minerality, as if they have been filtered through the thick layer of large pebbles. Since the early 1980s the fifth generation of winemakers, brothers Frédéric and Daniel Brunier, have been in charge of this remarkable estate.
Vieux Télégraphe makes several types of red and white cuvees, their flagship being Vieux Télégraphe rouge, a Grenache based blend, sourced from 70-year old vines of the La Crau vineyard. The grapes are sustainably grown and hand-picked, with double sorting at the vineyard, then a third sorting in the winery. Gentle pressing and selective destemming are followed by 30-40 days fermentation in temperature–controlled stainless-steel and wooden vats. The wine spends 20-22 months in French oak foudres and is bottled unfined and unfiltered. It is a classic fine and elegant Châteauneuf-du-Pape which will age for 25 years and more in the best vintages: “a classic, ageworthy, and uncompromising style of wine that requires bottle age” (Jeb Dunnuck).
The estate also makes a Télégraphe Blanc, and the second wine, Télégramme, made in both red and white styles, as well as Piedlong (red), Clos la Roquète (white), all under the Châteauneuf-du-Pape appellation. In addition, the Brunier family run Les Pallières estate in Gigondas.