I am very fortunate for the places I have been able to travel. My Aunt bought a home (or several) in Provence over 10 years ago and I finally was able to make the trip in 2008. The one year wedding anniversary is paper, and our gift to each other were tickets to France! We were joined with my parents and my brother and sis-in-law.
My Aunt and Uncle's property is in Les Gros which is a tiny town near Avignon. I wish I had taken more pictures of "Maison Cowart" because her taste is truly unbelievable and she has decorated the houses in authentic Provencal fashion.
Each day we would head into a town (or several) and explore. Being wine enthusiasts we decided to make one of these day trips to Châteauneuf-du-Pape. We have had several amazing wines from this region and wanted to experience it sulfite free and in all its original glory.
Excerpt from Wiki:
Châteauneuf-du-Pape translates as "New Castle of the Pope," and indeed, the history of this commune and its wine is firmly entwined with papal history. In 1308, Pope Clement V, former Archbishop of Bordeaux, relocated the papacy to the city of Avignon. Clement V and subsequent "Avignon Popes" were said to be great lovers of wine and did much to promote it during the seventy-year duration of the Avignon Papacy. At the time, winegrowing around the town of Avignon was anything but illustrious. While the Avignon Papacy did much to advance the reputation of wines from Burgundy, the papacy also promoted viticulture in the surrounding area, more specifically the area 5–10 km north of Avignon, close to the banks of the Rhône River. Prior to the Avignon Papacy, viticulture of the area had been initiated and maintained by the Bishops of Avignon, largely for local consumption.
Clement V was succeeded by John XXII, who regularly drank the wines from the vineyards to the north, as well as Burgundy wine, and did much to improve viticultural practices there. Under John XXII, the wines of this area came to be known as "Vin du Pape"; this term later became Châteauneuf-du-Pape. John XXII is also responsible for erecting the famous castle that stands as a symbol for the appellation.
After viewing the Castle we drove into town where numerous Cave, or Degustations, lined the street. Pronounced "Cav" they were exactly that, small caves you walked down into to sample old and fabulous wines.
The Sommelier warming the wine over candlelight. Those "cavs" are chilly!
We wanted to experience an actual Winery but had no idea how to pick one from all the choices. One of us remembered seeing the label for Vieux Telegraphe and we pointed our French accented GPS to the coordinates.
Vieux Telegraphe derives its name from an old telegraph station and now lies on 70 hectares on the La Crau Plateau. Brothers Frederic and Daniel Brunier run VT along with La Roquète which is located in the center of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. When you pull up to the property it almost feels like you are being invited into someone's home with a beautiful winery attached.
WINE ADVOCATE - OCT 2009
30 octobre 2009
The 2007 Vieux Telegraphe may be the greatest wine made at this property since the 2005 and 1998. Dense ruby/purple-tinged with an exquisite nose of salty sea breezes, licorice, ground pepper, jammy black cherries, black currants, figs, and plums, this is a full-bodied, rich, Provencal-styled offering with lots of sweet, ripe tannin. It is surprisingly accessible for a Vieux Telegraphe (this wine normally shuts down several years after bottling), but it should have great longevity (25+ years) given its power, full-bodied mouthfeel, and enormous length and richness. This is a brilliant effort from brothers Frederic and Daniel Brunier.
The staff at Vieux Telegraphe was incredibly accodomating. They let us sample a few bottles, gave us a tour, and sent us on our way all the more wiser about red wine. If you are ever in Provence this is a stop you must put on your itinerary!
Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe
GPS: 44°02'34 N 4°53'06 E
Opening hours : 8-12am / 1:30-6 pm
closed on weekends and public holidays
Annual closure from Aug. 7 to 23.
3, Route de Châteauneuf du Pape
Tel. +33 (0)4 90 33 00 31 Fax +33 (0)4 90 33 18 47
From Danile Brunier at VT,
WS: What is your favorite food pairing with red Châteauneuf-du-Pape? And with white Châteauneuf-du-Pape?
DB: It's well-known that with our reds the best food is lamb. But of course it depends on the age of the wine; a very young red matches very well also with red meat, an older one can be superb with game. Olive oil and Provençal vegetables match very well with our reds. Some cheeses, but not all, are also very good with red Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
There it is from the expert!
A few selections from our Pantry
Hope you enjoy some this fall as the temperatures drop!