Châteauneuf du Pape, Blanc, 2013

  Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe

The typical blend is Clairette 40% (50 year old vines), Grenache Blanc 30%, Bourboulenc 15% and Roussanne 15%, the wine is fermented half in vat and half in oak cask, 15% of which are new. However the 2013 has 10% less Grenache than usual which, together with the cooler vintage conditions, makes for a particularly appetising, taut and elegant white Chateauneuf. Intense and taut, tight, some floral and peach blossom notes, juicy flavours of nectarine, citrus skin, stone and salt and a distinct hint of lime that you don't normally get in this wine. Long tense and incisive, truely one of the best whites in Chateauneuf.

Contains Sulphites.

About Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe

The Domaine takes its name from a tower built in 1793 by Claude Chappe (the inventor of the optical telegraph system) on the plateau near Bédarrides. The Domaine, owned by the Brunier family, consists of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre and old Clairette vines planted in a small area named La Crau. The Bruniers produce very refined, beautifully measured Chateauneuf du Pape, the result of a harmonious marriage of traditional and modern techniques. Grapes are de-stalked except for their old Grenache vines, the wines are vinified in and aged in cuve for ten months, followed by a further 12 months in 50-70 hl oak "foudres." Eventually bottling takes place, without filtration, after a total of 22 months. This Domaine is a yardstick for modern era of Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

Appellation: Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Châteauneuf-du-Pape, literally the Pope's new castle, (referring to move of the papal court to Avignon the the 1300s) is a large appellation in the Southern Rhône and is considered the birth place of the Appellation Contrôlee system. In 1923 Baron Le Roy of Ch Fortia had successfully established a strict set of rules for the production of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, including delimiting an area for wine production and setting a minimum alcoholic strength of 12.5%. Reds and whites are produced, but the former is the far bigger of the two. Both colours produce rich, full-bodied heady wines rarely below 14% alcohol, distinctly southern and warm in character. The wines can be aged for anything between 5 - 20 years, even longer for the reds, depending on the quality of the individual wine. Famously the wines, in both colours, should either be drunk in the first flush of their youth within a couple of years of the vintage or at a bare minimum of 10 years, in between going through an awkward adolescent phase. The sweetness and headiness of red Châteauneuf-du-Papes comes from thre Grenache grape, it makes wines of sweet fruit, high alcohol and light colour. This is the dominant variety. There are increasing amounts of Châteauneuf-du-Papes which are Grenache only. However the classic and most common version is a blend of up to 13 varieties, the main players being Grenache, Syrah (which lends colour complexity and finesse) and Mourvèdre (which also lends colour, complexity, tannic backbone and acidity). The other varieties include the decreasing Cinsault, Counoise - highly thought of for its acidity- and a number of white grapes that can also be blended into the red wines as well as being used for makings whites, the most important of these are Grenache Blanc, Bourboulenc, the excellent Clairette and Roussanne.

The vineyard area extends over more than 3000 ha, the chief communes being Châteauneuf-du-Pape itself, Bédarrides, Courthézon, Orange, and Sorgues. The soils differ throughout the appellation from the classic large "Galet" stones which radiate heat to the low-trained old goblet vines, to varying degrees of clay, limestone and sand (the last of these can produce very sensual, silky wines the most famous of example of which would be Rayas.) Winemaking techniques vary from the traditional, all or part of the stalks included in the winemaking, fermentation and ageing in large old wooden foudres, to the more modern de-stalking, tank fermentation and new oak barriques maturation, or a blend of the two. The appellation is big therefore there are plenty of underperformers, however there is also, fortunately, an increasingly large selection of top class producers, including: Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe, Beaucastel, Clos des Papes, Barroche, Feraud et Fils, Mont-Redon, Domaine de Pegaü, Ch Rayas, St Prefert, and Font de Michelle. The best White Châteauneuf-du-Pape usually seems to have a high proportion of Clairette in it, though there is also an excellent single varietal Roussanne made by Beaucastel.

Grape Blend: Clairette | Grenache Blanc | Bourboulenc | Roussanne

An quintessentially Rhône blend, used to greatest effect in Châteauneuf-du-Pape.