An impromptu cork-popping session at my apartment this weekend, when I was not sufficiently stocked up, had me down to my “save for later” stash. Luckily, we didn’t have to go too far into that stockpile, but I decided to open a bottle of Vieux Télégraphe’s 2003 Châteauneuf-du-Pape La Crau.
Of the eight bottles I purchased back in 2005 (for only $41 a bottle at that time), this was the second I opened. The first was a few years ago—and I clearly jumped the gun at the time because the wine was still big and brawny. Now this red clearly still has a long life ahead of it, but it’s starting to hint at the integration that fine Châteauneuf can achieve. It displayed fruit flavors of crème de cassis, plum preserves and raspberry coulis, mixed with lots of spice box, pipe smoke and stony mineral notes. But it was the silky tannins and fine integration of the wine’s juicy acidity that won me over. I gave it 94 points, non-blind, and I’ll probably drink my remaining bottles in the 2012 to 2025 range. It was definitely the highlight of Saturday’s bottle parade.
WineSpectator.com members: Read the original blind-tasting review for Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe Châteauneuf-du-Pape La Crau 2003 (93, $45).