WSDC Event - Vieux Télégraphe Dinner

What: Vieux Télégraphe Dinner Event Sold Out  
When: 09 Nov 17 ,19:00 -22:30
Where: Apothecaries' Hall EC4V 6EJ map
See summary here



Speaker:  Jeremy Hunt, Founder of Thorman Hunt, sole UK shippers of Vieux Télégraphe

Vieux Télégraphe is certainly one of the Châteauneuf-du-Pape's most famous estates.  Claude Chappe was the inventor and developer of a mechanical semaphore system – originally called the tachygraph but subsequently the telegraph – that eventually spanned France and was taken up by other European countries making Chappe the first telecom mogul.  Unfortunately, he committed suicide in 1805 dispirited by the unfairness of life.  One of his telegraph stations was erected on this property sometime after 1792, hence the eventual name.  The label on Vieux Télégraphe wine bottles states: “1792” but this was the date of the first semaphore line from Paris to Lille.  More research is needed.

The site has been owned by the Brunier family since the early 1900s and possesses one of the finest microclimates in the southern Rhône.  The 180-acre vineyard is in a sector named La Crau and is covered with football sized galets roulés. The vineyard enjoys an extremely hot microclimate that allows them to harvest a week or more before many other properties.  For the latter part of the twentieth century Henri Brunier ran the property but in the late 1980s he retired and was succeeded by his two sons Frederic and Daniel who are pushing the quality to higher levels.

There are three main wines:  one white and two red.

The white is a CdP made from a blend of Clairette, Grenache Blanc, Roussanne and Bourboulenc.  This wine has its ups and downs but is usually one of the finest whites of the appellation displaying a moderately intense floral, citrusy bouquet best drunk in its first few years of life.  The 2014  Vieux Télégraphe white is our first wine.  Prior to this I want to stay in the Rhône valley and have chosen a sparkling wine from St-Péray, slightly north of CdP, Domaine Biguet which is a “good performer“ according to John Livingstone-Learmonth.

The reds are Vieux Télégraphe, and the second wine, Télégramme.  The Vieux Télégraphe is made of 65% Grenache, 15% Syrah, 15% Mouvèdre,  Cinsault and a mix of the other permitted varietals making the other 5% all  from vines of an average age of 65 years.  Télégramme is 80% Grenache from young vines. 

We will be drinking the Vieux Télégraphe, which is impeccably made.  The stems are not removed from the old vine Grenaches but are from the young vines.  The wines never see any new oak but are made in stainless steel tanks buried under the hill beneath the autoroute du soleil. You will likely have driven over what we are about to drink. After eight to ten months the wines are moved to large wooden foudres until they are ready for bottling.  About 20,000 cases of Télégraphe red are made each year.

We will be drinking the:

2005:    “Their best red since 1998, this is a solid, brooding Chateauneuf dominated by ripe, savoury tannins and notes of tapenade and black fruit. Drink 2012-2022.”  BBR commentary

2004      “Certainly Vieux Télégraphe has acquitted itself well in these two vintages with the 2004 boasting big, smoky, peppery, garrigue notes intermixed with black cherry, licorice, smoke, and sweet currants. The wine is ripe and full-bodied with decent acidity and some mineral notes. Daniel Brunier stated it actually tips the scales at 15% alcohol, which is high for this vintage. It should drink well for 12-15 more years". 92 points. Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate (2007).

2000      “The elegant 2000 Vieux Télégraphe La Crau possesses 14.8% alcohol, along with a deep ruby/purple colour, charming, rich, fruitiness, and firm tannin in the finish. With loads of freshness, copious quantities of pepper, seaweed, and black fruit characteristics, and a distinctive minerality, this full-bodied, sweet 2000 requires 2-3 years of cellaring; it should age well for 15-16 years. Anticipated maturity: 2005-2018.”   91 points. Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate (February, 2003).

To finish we will have the luxury of 1992 Taylor’s Port from our reserves.

- Tony Wright, Honorary Secretary

Dress Code: Lounge suits

Guests: £150
Members: £140

Forthcoming events:
Tuesday 5 December – Christmas Tasting at the Army & Navy Club

Booking Form