Vieux Télégraphe is one of the few large Châteauneuf estates with its vineyards in virtually one block. Here, on the plateau des Craux, in the south-east corner of the appellation adjoining Bédarrides, lie 70ha of vines. The estate was built up principally by Jules Brunier during the early part of the 20th century and further extended by his son Henri after World War II.
Since 1988, Henri’s sons Daniel and Frédéric have been in charge – capable and thoughtful men, determined to improve on the standards set by their father.
Vieux Télégraphe’s encepagement is 70% Grenache, 15% Syrah and 15% Mourvedre, with a touch of Cinsaut, largely planted on 15cm of galets roulés – some of the stoniest soil in the appellation – on top of 1.2 metres of cultivatable soil. Beneath this lies impenetrable red clay – an excellent water reservoir protecting the vines from drought. The gently-sloping plateau is exposed north-south at an elevation of 120 metres – the same as that of the château at Châteauneuf. It was on this hill in 1792 that Claude Chappe, the inventor of the optical telegraph, erected one of his relay towers. The original tower is long gone, but the name “Vieux Télégraphe” remains.
Only the young vines, and sometimes the Mourvèdre and part of the Syrah crop are de-stemmed; never the old Grenache. Given even ripeness the varieties are fermented together.
Located in the southeastern part of Chateauneuf du Pape and located mainly on the prime La Crau plateau, this classic and traditional estate has been run by the Brunier family for generations. Now managed by brothers Daniel and Frederic, the estate continues to churn out a range of high class wines. In addition to their holdings in Chateauneuf du Pape (Vieux Telegraphe, La Roquete, and now Piedlong, which is a new wine replacing the red from La Roquete) they also make wines in Gigondas (Les Pallieres, Vin de Pays and Ventoux ). All of the wines are high quality and will be reviewed in part 2 of this report. To give you an idea on yields from this estate, in 2010 they reported yields of 27 hectoliters per hectare, 2011 was 32 hectoliters per hectare and 2012 came in at 30 hectoliters per hectare.