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From its humble beginnings in 1898, Vignobles Brunier has become one of the great family domaines of the Southern Rhône. Fourth generation brothers Daniel and Frédéric Brunier now oversee a very impressive array of properties, including La Roquète (Chateâuneuf-du-Pape), Les Pallières (Gigondas), and Le Pigeoulet (Vin de Pays de Vaucluse) as well as the legendary flagship Le Vieux Télégraphe. They have even expanded their activities to Lebanon, where they are now winegrowers at Massaya in the Bekaa Valley.

The key to understanding the greatness of Vieux Télégraphe is understanding the greatness of La Crau, Chateauneuf's greatest vineyard. A high barren hill with a spectacular view Mount Ventoux, exposed to Mediterranean warmth yet blasted by the Mistral 150 days per year, Le Crau is the quintessential Chateauneuf terroir. It is completely covered in galets roulés, the rugby-ball sized stones that are unique to the region. In some places there are 5m of them piled above the soil: it seems miraculous that the gnarled old bush vines survive here, but they do. Underneath the galets are layers of alluvial sediments, limestone, silica, and red clay, a perfect amalgam that once again seems miraculous. No wonder the wine are so complex.

Hippolyte Brunier, great-grandfather of Daniel and Frédéric, made the first Vieux Télégraphe in 1900, from a single hectare of vines in La Crau. Today the Bruniers produce 24,000 bottles of Vieux Télégraphe, and their total holdings in Chateaneuf, Gigondas, and Ventoux are a very impressive 70ha. The family's philosophy is unchanged: the simple goal is to strive for harmony between aromatic complexity, tannic structure, and richness.

All of the wines are classic Rhône wines, superb expressions of terroir that magically combine earthiness, rusticity, elegance and longevity. They are unquestionably among the very greatest wine values being produced anywhere on the planet.

Reviews for this winery

  • Wine Advocate

    This estate is somewhat unusual in that it has 135 acres of contiguous parcels in the famous La Crau sector of Chateauneuf du Pape. It has one of the most precocious terroirs in the appellation, and is often among the first estate’s to harvest because of La Crau’s microclimate.

    October 2012