Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Domaine Vieux Telegraphe Chateauneuf du Pape, 1979

This wine has been sitting undisturbed in my cellar for many years, but when I had to move some bottles recently, I discovered that it had apparently suffered some leaking and had serious ullage. Low neck of a Cbateauneuf du Pape bottle is serious ullage indeed; probably a fifth of the bottle had been lost. I knew I had to drink it soon but didn't expect much even though I have read accounts of recent positive experiences with the 1979 Vieux Telegraphe. The cork was clearly soaked, but I did manage to get it out (mostly) in one piece . And once the cork was pulled, I was in for a very pleasant surprise.

Light brickish color but not as much loss of color as you might expect. The first sniff confirms that the wine is as old as the label says...but still very alive. Beautiful old Grenache smells with surprising power and intensity. Some at the table mentioned the smell of new-mown hay. Nothing unpleasant or old. Very savory, almost salty, on the mid-palate. Tastes like Vieux Telegraphe should. I haven't had a VT in many years and never one this mature. Smooth texture, long finish. This bottle--or, I should say, this cork--clearly had its flaws, but the wine still retains signs of greatness.

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