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The Rhone Valley

The Rhone Valley

One cannot think of Chateauneuf-du-Pape, the most celebrated cru of the Southern Rhone, without thinking of Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe. Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe has been run by our family, the Brunier family, for five generations - since 1891.
The 45 hectares estate’s vineyards, 60 years old on average, are planted on the celebrated Plateau of La Crau, a site renowned for grape-growing in Chateauneuf-du-Pape. This terroir imparts to wines a highly distinctive minerality, as if they have been filtered through the thick layer of large pebbles left behind when the Alpine glaciers melted, long before the Rhone Valley formed. 
Vieux Telegraphe's blend is a typical one, with Grenache accounting for around two thirds, the rest being made up of Syrah and Mourvedre in roughly equal proportions, and a tiny bit of Cinsault. The wines of Vieux Telegraphe evoke the concept of terroir in its purest form: they reflect their dramatic climate, the rough terrain that defines the soil, their full sun exposure at a higher altitude, the typicity of the varietals with an emphasis on Grenache, and of course, the influence of their caretakers, the Brunier family.

In September 1986, Rene Laugier wanted to retire but had no successors to take over La Roquette (as it was then known), his domaine in Chateauneuf-du-Pape. When Daniel and Frederic Brunier bought the domaine, it was a logical choice. The brothers had been proving their worth as rising young stars of the appellation, and the Brunier family, proprietor of Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe, had a long history of working tough soils - they farm the La Crau plateau, which boasts some of the most challenging vineyard terrain and most pedigreed soils of Chateauneuf.
The 27 hectares of vineyards are located on a rocky plateau north of the village. They are planted with Grenache, Syrah,and Mourvedre and the average age of the vines is over 40 years old. A new winery was built in the mid 1990s and was first used for the 1998 vintage. The grapes are hand picked and are then fermented for 15-20 days in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks. The wine remains in tanks for a further year before being transferred into oak casks where it is aged for a further 8 months. It is bottle unfined and unfiltered.

Domaine Les Pallieres is one of the most beautiful properties in the Rhone Valley, nestled between the villages of Sablet and Gigondas in a natural, woody amphitheatre. The older vines nearer the property go into Les Racines, those higher up make up Les Terrasses du Diable.

The domain with 45 hectares of vines outside the village of Gigondas was purchased by the Brunier brothers, of Vieux Telegraphe, together with their American importer Kermit Lynch in 1998. Since then the cellars at the domain have been renovated and the Bruniers have succeeded in giving the wines from the property some reputation. A new winery was built to receive the harvested parcels individually in gravity-fed tanks. The many lieux-dits (parcels), once blended into one cuvee of Gigondas, have been separated into two, starting with the 2007 vintage, in an effort to best express two remarkable personalities.

A focus on the terroir and its potential soon led to a clear, new direction. The vineyards range from 250-400 meters in altitude, with varying proportions of sand and clay interwoven with limestone scree descending from the Dentelles.

The Maison Paul Jaboulet Aine was created in 1834 through the magical conjunction of a fertile land on a hillside by the Rhone and a family with a passion for winemaking. Over the years, the Domaines Paul Jaboulet Aine took ownership of the finest appellations of the northern Rhone Valley, including Hermitage and Crozes Hermitage, of course, but also Saint-Joseph, Cornas and Saint-Peray, and later, Cote Rotie and Condrieu.

In 2006, the Freys, a family of long standing in the Champagne region and owners of Chateau La Lagune in Bordeaux, took over the Maison Paul Jaboulet Aine. Caroline, the eldest daughter of the family, who has a degree in oenology from Bordeaux, works with her teams using biodynamic methods in a single-minded quest for perfection. Today Paul Jaboulet Aine is one of the Rhone’s most recognizable wineries. The reputation of Jaboulet wines rests on the quality of the well-situated and well-tended vineyards, on low yields, careful vinification, and diligent aging in oak casks. The Jaboulet family prefers carefully integrated oak aging, in which the influence of wood is never allowed to become excessive.