Report

Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe

Maxime Bertin

I can't help but think how lucky I am to bring you the story of our recent visit to the Vieux Télégraphe estate alongside the Berthaudin sales team.

Some mornings at the crack of dawn you'd sooner put a pillow on your head and pretend you can't hear the alarm or even lose the alarm altogether so you can laze in bed...

But when you hear it's to go and meet Daniel Brunier and visit the legendary terroir of La Crau it's a different matter: you're so excited that by the time the alarm was set to go off you're up and ready to go, and you've even had your breakfast.

A bit like Rome, the Vieux Télégraphe wasn't built in a day. So let's begin with some history. To get to know the estate better and immerse ourselves in the incredible history of the Brunier family, it's important to understand how it all began.

The story began in 1891, when Henri Brunier gave his son Hippolyte some plots of land situated in the terroir of La Crau. The area was thought to be barren, since it was covered in smooth pebbles left there by the thundering thawed mass deposited by the mountain glaciers. Hippolyte's son Jules was the first true winegrower in the family. During his lifetime he managed to clear 17 hectares of holm oak and olive trees, replacing them with vines to make the wonderful heritage now enjoyed by his grandsons Daniel and Frédéric.
The second Henri of the family was part of its fourth generation; he took over the estate after the war and increased its size to 55 hectares. Daniel and Frédéric took the reins in 1981.

In 1986 they acquired the Domaine de la Roquette [now Roquète], situated at the summit of the appellation on the small plateau of Piedlong: 15 hectares of Vaucluse Protected Geographical Indication where they launched Le Pigeoulet. Subsequently they added Les Pallières, a further 25 hectares in Gigondas – a magnificent arena lined with woodland.

Today, the estate spans 98 hectares of land cultivated in an ethos of authenticity and respect. This is the kingdom of the Grenache, with its historic pebbled terroirs.

On our visit we had the opportunity to taste the 2015 and 2016 vintages. These are two big beasts – generous and elegant at the same time. Today, the art of replicating the terroir and its origins in the wine is a strength here, as is the true expression of a vintage with a superb balance between subtlety and maturity.

Here are some notes from our tasting team.

 

Clos de La Roquette, white, 2016

Blend of Roussanne, Clairette and Grenache, in practically equal proportions.
Aged on lees in half-muid barrels and bottled at 10 months.
Terroir: sand and clay.
The soil imparts a large dose of freshness and the wine has a nice mineral quality; white fruits such as pear and apple dominate an almost crystalline nose. Fruit reappears in the palate, which offers melon with sweet notes of almond. Harmony and precision are the only other words that come to mind to describe this gem of a wine.

 

Télégramme 2015

Blend of Grenache 80%, Syrah 10%, 6% Mourvèdre and 4% Cinsault
Average age of vines: 40 years
Second sorting on the vine and third sorting on the cask rack.
Aged in vats for 10 months, and in French oak casks for a further 6-7 months.
Raspberry dominates a very rich nose of red berries which is both round and supple at the same time!
We thoroughly enjoyed this tantalising wine.

 

"Terrasse du diable" 2015, Les Pallières, Gigondas

Blend of Grenache 90%, Mourvèdre 5%, and Clairette 5%
Age of vines: 45 years
Terroir of chalk and clay scree
Aged for 20 months in 60-hectolitre oak casks
The nose leans towards a lovely mineral character, with berries such as blackberry and blackcurrant. The palate has lovely herbaceous notes of the garrigue, adding real personality to this dense and sensual Gigondas wine.

 

Vieux Télégraphe 2015

Blend of Grenache 65%, Mourvèdre 15%, Syrah 15%, Cinsault and Clairette 5%
Age of vines: 65 years
Terroir of Miocene molasses and clay covered in smooth pebbles
Aged for 20-22 months in 60-hectolitre casks
A complex, spicy, mineral and floral nose of red and black berries. A very high-quality wine that time will enhance further still.


You will no doubt have realised that we have succumbed to the charms of this domaine.
In the magic of the cellars where we were touched by the kindness of the Brunier family, it was as if time had stood still at the Vieux Télégraphe. Here, humility is a gift passed from Brunier father to Brunier son.

Well done to you! All that remains is to return to Switzerland with a desire to share your story and your wines with our loyal friends and customers.

Maxime Bertin

Recommendations

Châteauneuf-du-Pape Vieux Télégraphe

2016 - 75 cl

Domaine Vieux Télégraphe

CHF 59.50
Unit price

Châteauneuf-du-Pape Télégramme

2015 - 37,5 cl

Domaine Vieux Télégraphe

CHF 17.80
Unit price

Châteauneuf-du-Pape Clos la Roquète

2015 - 75 cl

Domaine la Roquète

CHF 39.00
Unit price

Gigondas Les Pallières Les Terrasses du Diable

2014 - 75 cl

Domaine les Pallières

CHF 31.50
Unit price

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