Robert Parker 90
The 2013 Châteauneuf du Pape is more focused and tight than the charming Piedlong cuvee and possesses stony, mineral, and salty characteristics as well as notes of red currants, Provençal garrigue and dried pepper. Medium-bodied, firm, moderately concentrated and elegant, it’s not the greatest example of this cuvee, but should still have 10-12 years of longevity. Give it a few years in the cellar. One of my favorite visits during my time spent working in the southern Rhône is with Daniel Brunier at Domaine du Vieux Telegraph. A large estate, it covers almost 150 acres of prime terroir, mostly in the famed la Crau lieu-dit located around the estate. They’ve streamlined the lineup in the past few years and now release five Châteauneuf du Pape; two whites and three reds. The vinification here is as traditional as they come, with fermentation occurring without temperature control and all with native yeast. Aging occurs mostly in older foudre and the whole process is very hands off. Nevertheless, I find both the 2013 and 2014 vintages here more mid-weight, simple and straightforward than I expect from this estate. They recently completed construction on a renovation to the winery, and I can’t decide if this has changed the wines, if there’s been a stylistic shift, or if recent vintages have just been difficult for this region of the appellation (2014 was particularly difficult for La Crau due to the clay subsoils). I find a similar austerity in the Gigondas releases, which I’ve include here, as well.
Anticipated maturity: 2018-2030
Limpid ruby. A highly expressive bouquet evokes ripe red berries, potpourri and peppery spices, and a smoky mineral nuance gains strength as the wine opens up. Offers concentrated raspberry liqueur and spicecake flavors and deeper licorice and bitter chocolate flavors sharpened and given spine by juicy acidity. Effortlessly plays richness off elegance and finishes sweet, spicy and impressively long, with velvety tannins lending shape and grip.
Anticipated maturity: 2020-2027