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Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe sits high above the throne in the Southern Rhône valley of France, and crafts some of the world’s finest Châteauneuf-du-Pape year after year.  It is a testament to the the terroir, the hands that cultivate the soil, and an elite family tradition of wine production dating back to the 19th century.  With their 2005 & 2007 releases, they have earned spots #5 and #3 respectively in the prestigious Wine Spectator Top 100 List, and continue to deliver consistent quality with their most recent 2010 vintage.  Although these may be a result of spectacular growing seasons, centuries of passionate wine traditions enable the Brunier family wine to shine through more difficult seasons with exceptional attention to detail, and vast knowledge of their vines.  Named after the lay of the land, the stony Plateau de “La Crau” is fertile ground for producing some the regions most lavish fruit.

This Châteaneuf is one of pure elegance, and classic character.  It’s built to age beautifully for decades, and also very approachable in its youth.  A delicious blend of 65% Grenache Noir, 15% Mourvèdre, 15% Syrah, and 5% Cinsault, Clairette, and “sundry others.”  I would recommend decanting this bottle for at least 30 minutes.  It has aromas of rich dense fruit, black pepper, pipe tobacco and strikes your palate with concentrated blackberries, minerality, smoke, and currant notes.  The finish lasts all night long.  Be prepared to take your precious time with this wine.  Save it for a special occasion.  Open it alongside a bold and hearty dish, like a short-rib, or a beef stew.  It could even work well with game meats.  Whatever dish you choose, it should be fit for a king, and a royal wine. –JT

DOMAINE DU VIEUX TÉLÉGRAPHE Châteauneuf-du-Pape “La Crau” 2005

SCORE: 94

Related scores: WS-95 (#5 on Top 100 list of 2008)

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Market price: $80

Other exceptional vintages:

1995, 2001, 2004, 2007, 2009, 2010

Recommended food pairing:

Red Wine Braised Short Ribs (courtesy of Hubert Keller)

http://www.hubertkeller.com/recipes/pdf/Hubert-Keller-Chef-Recipes-202-A.pdf

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Related Links:

www.vieuxtelegraphe.com

www.chateauneuf.com

www.gigondas-vin.com

www.vins-rhone.com

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