Out of a magnum. Decanted for 45 minutes. Ruby red with very slight bricking. Fruity nose of raspberries, and piums with a whiff of coffee and even some toasted walnuts. A surprisingly fruity and rich bottle, with mild smoky notes underneath the fruit. The last bottle was not nearly this good.
Based on CT notes and my experience of this case there seems to be a significant problem of bottle variance. This one was totally different from my previously noted 87pt bottle. 2.5hr decant. Good colour, smokey bramble fruit aromas. Ripe cooked hedge fruit flavours coming through a dusty charred oak frame. Full, surprisingly elegant and with good length. Hope my remaining 10 bottles take after this one. Excellent. Now and for the next 3-4yrs.
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(Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe Châteauneuf du Pape) A surprisingly mature hue here, with quite a mahogany red tone to it, and not the depth of pigment I was expecting, but I don't think this is anything out of the ordinary for aging Grenache. It still predominantly has fruit on the nose, with an aged, maturing, slightly cooked feel to it, along with scents of leather and tar. If I were to try and encapsulate the scents in as few words as possible I would suggest baked cherries that have lost their sweetness, mixed with dried autumn leaves, sprinkled with cloves and cumin seed. At least it does not have the volatility of the bottle I tasted last year. A good substance to it on the palate, rich and full but not with the broad and creamy sweetness I find in some examples of Châteauneuf du Pape, wines which tend to appeal to my palate less than this one does. The fruit here has an autumnal feel, an emerging 'brown' edge to it like those leaves, along with a pile of spicy, peppery sensations which I think reflect the wine's 14% alcohol as much as any other component. It has a rather straight-sided structure which is welcome, but more peppery spice and a touch of heat in the finish too.
(Domaine Vieux Télégraphe Châteauneuf du Pape) This wine starts off in a very awkward fashion, lean and medicinal, but also rather volatile and disjointed. Fortunately I have experienced wines like this before - 2001 Suduiraut and, perhaps more pertinently, 1995 Beaucastel - where such phases are fleeting and short-lived. Indeed, even here, with some time in the glass the volatility subsides, and the fruit rounds out. It never shows too much, always clearly a wine closed down, but it shows structure and determination. The nose is primary, with smoky- gamey cherry fruit, the palate substantial but with a sense of balance, the moderate texture weighing up nicely against the ripe tannin and plentiful grip. This is a wine for the cellar, for sure. Admittedly a rather speculative score as wines like this are difficult to place with any accuracy. But it should certainly be good given time.
(Vieux Telegraphe) Nose was a medley of dark flowers, granite, dark herbs and redcurrants. Brooding nose that developed wonderful floral aromas after extended aeration. The fruit has a wonderful restrained sweetness but definetly has that extra sweet lift in the mid-palate that makes this a great wine. Tannins are perfectly ripe and the minerality extends nicely on the finish. Great wine with fantastic structure and sure to last 10-15 years.
(Vieux Telegraphe) Nose of stones, red cherries, hay, aromatic herbs and even some lavender. Galet-like stony tannins in the mouth with beautiful pure fruit with a charming rustic edge to it. Ample acidity and fine-tuned grainy tannins with wonderful amplitude in the mouth. Like someone spiked some Pommard with CDP.
(Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe Châteauneuf du Pape) From a magnum. Moderately deep colour. Meaty nose, with herbal, cherry, Grenache-influenced character. Lovely texture and balance, with loads of ripe tannic structure; more so than on last tasting, it seems, perhaps reflecting the format. As with previous tastings, plenty of primary Grenache flavour and character but it needs time, at least seven years where magnums are concerned.
(Vieux Telegraphe) Gorgeous nose of crushed red berry fruit, stones, mint, red flowers, leaves, orange peel and minerals. Wonderful complexity on the nose. A hint of bbq sauce develops after a while. Tons of Christmas spice and berry fruit. Great length, tannins and stony minerality. Tremendous structure. What a showing for this wine. Ideally needs another five years but delicious today.
(Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe Châteauneuf du Pape) A very similar appearance to the preceding wine, with almost matching colour and depth of hue. The nose has classic sweet, intense Grenache fruit aromas. Similarly pure Grenache fruit on the palate, with plenty of texture and weight. Also there is appropriate firm acidity and balanced, ripe tannins. Lovely. Also needs five years plus, but I think this one just has the edge in potential.