Sunday, January 31, 2010

Vieux Telegraphe "La Crau" Chateauneuf du Pape 2006

Recently, I've had Italy on the brain because I'm so excited about going to Rome for 2 weeks March and April. However, when it's wine-related thoughts I'm having, for some reason I lean a lot more French. Nothing wrong with Italy, but there is a certain something going on in a lot of French wines  that is decidedly different from a lot of the Italian wines. I've had the second wine of this estate, Telegramme, a few times, it's excellent (and I have both 07 and 05 still in my cellar), but I've been wanting to try this wine for ages--it's what I would describe as an iconic wine. Daniel Brunier makes this wine, Kermit Lynch imports it, and I get to drink it on my birthday. I picked this up for 40$ at K&L, which is crazy cheap. (If you're my neighbor, you apparently used to buy this wine for 15$. I don't know how long ago that was, and I don't know how much inflation there's been, but that's cheap.) That isn't the cheapest that I've seen this vintage though--if you wanted to buy a magnum, you could have gotten one at Wine Exchange in Orange County for 70$--the equivalent of 35$ a bottle. Normally, this is either 60$ or 70$ at good wine merchants. I purchased a couple of bottles of the 07 for 60$ at K&L (70$ now). If you want to give your money to someone else, you can buy it at Wally's for the unscrupulous price of 90$. Anyways...this was probably heavily discounted because of all the 05/07 hype AND the economic downturn, but it was a great deal for me.

Since it was my birthday, I decided to cook. (Yeah, probably not what most people would think of.) Went to Whole Foods, wanted to get some duck breasts, they didn't have them, so I just bought a whole duck. Cheaper that way anyways, and now I get enough duck fat to completely block my arteries, two legs to confit, the liver, and enough scraps and bones to make a kick ass pasta sauce or soup. Also went to the Farmer's Market on the way to the Getty Villa (Sarah and I had a picnic lunch there. I'm telling you, Italy on the brain.), and picked up some hedgehog mushrooms and assorted odds and ends. So for dinner, we had a green salad (I'm half-way to rabbit, I eat so many greens), pan-roasted duck breasts, and quinoa with caramelized onions, thyme, and hedgehog mushrooms.  No dessert. I am not that kind of person. Truth be told, I don't think this was the best match for Vieux Telegraphe--lamb or some roast would probably have been better--but it worked fine. The wine itself is a knockout. A seamless blend of power and balance--and this is from a merely good vintage. Can't wait to taste the 07. Figs, candied raspberry, black cherry, coffee, lavender, stones, chalk, apricot (yeah, that's really right), and a dozen other scents leap out of the glass. There is an intriguing interplay betwen the acidity, fruit, and tannin that ultimately leads you to ascertain that there is a lot of depth and balance to this wine. It can clearly come together more. For a brief instance, I think perhaps I have committed infanticide, but I haven't. This wine is awesome tonight. (The next bottle is not getting opened anytime soon.) Absurdly long finish by my standards, and I realize that this is probably straying into hyperbole territory, or gushing moron, but fuck it. This wine made me really happy. A+
For what it's worth, Sarah wanted an aperitivo, so I opened this Sauvignon Blanc too. In retrospect, a bad idea, because that means that we drank the rest of this bottle after the Vieux Telegraphe. We are turning into boring late 20 somethings, and a whole bottle of wine each is a recipe for a sluggish morning. Regardless, about 15$ at Costco. No denying that this is a Sauvignon Blanc--lots of grassy jalapeno leaping out, along with rocks, melon, and tropical fruit. An intriguing grapefruit accent shows up on the finish. The acidity of this wine is moderate and kept in check rather nicely. Most New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc I've had in recent memory has been really sharp (not a bad thing); this is much more balanced. A very nice wine. Googling it, apparently it made the Wine Spectator top 100 for 2009. #28 A-

4 comments:

Matt Mauldin said...

Happy Birthday! Man that sounds like an awesome meal as well as the great bottle of wine. I'd love to try Vieux Telegraphe sometime... never have before. On my to do list.

Jeff said...

Thanks dude. Definitely worth trying. I'm sure that if you look around you can get an older vintage pre-aged for not too much. In the context of iconic wines, Vieux Telegraphe is fairly cheap too, so it's a good value. Most cult cabs are pushing upwards of 100$...this is way less.

Matt Mauldin said...

Good point about CdP's icons being a relative good value...

CabFrancoPhile said...

Nice B-Day wine!

I think VT is made in the 20k case range, so that should help keep the price fairly reasonable.

When I buy a CdP, I'll be looking for one that has a high percentage of Mourvedre. (I have a similar obsessive interest in St. Emilion heavy in Cab Franc). I believe Beaucastel (and it's Paso cousin Tablas Creek) are big on Mourvedre, but maybe I can find another. (With St. Emilion, Cheval Blanc won't even be close to an option in the CF heavy blends).