Explaining why you should buy famous and sought after iconic wines is actually very hard.

Afterall, there are so many compelling and delicious reasons to consider great wines, like the one we’re featuring today, makes it difficult to narrow down my rationale to a few, succinct words.

If you plan on treating yourself to just one spectacular and indulgent bottle of red wine this year, I think you’d be hard pressed to find greater pleasure than what you’ll discover in today’s bottle.

World-famous wine critic and expert Robert Parker might have summed it up the best, writing:

“Although Châteauneuf-du-Pape, from France’s Rhône valley, may never possess the elegance and longevity of a great Bordeaux, the mystique and prestige of a wine from the famous vineyards of Burgundy or the perfume or rarity of a top-notch Barolo or Barbaresco, what it does offer is immediate gratification both intellectual and hedonistic in nature. Its wide array of aromas and flavors are reminiscent of a Provençal marketplace while its texture-rich and round, sumptuous and opulent-is virtually unmatched by most of the wines of the world.”

Today I am thrilled to present the 2008 Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe Chateauneuf du Pape, widely recognized as the leading iconic producer of this storied wine region.

Tune into the video edition of our Wine of the Week:

This wine is available now at LCBO Vintages shops across Ontario. To find this wine at a shop near you, simply click here.

Three things to know about how the grapes for this wine were grown: 

#1:  Two words: “La Crau”. This is the “Grand Cru” of Chateauneuf du Pape, where the best most ageworthy grapes of the appellation are grown.

#2:  Grapes for this wine are harvested by hand, followed by a double selection process, to get rid of any grapes that don’t meet the highest standards of quality and ripeness.

#3:  The vineyards at Vieux Telegraphe are an average of about 60 years old. Old vines produce less grapes than younger vines, but the resulting wines are richer, more concentrated and exceedinly complex.

Three things to know about how this wine was made:

#1:  This wine is comprised of 65% Grenache. This grape brings structure and freshness that allows the wine to age for a long time, and exhibits the minerality and “terroir” of this magical place.

#2:  This wine is aged in barrel for 22 months before being bottled, unfiltered.

#3:  Fine Chateauneuf du Papes, such as this, have the potential to age for up to 25 years.

Tasting Notes:

“Production for the grand vin in 2008 was down by 20-25%, and the 2008 Vieux Telegraphe Chateauneuf du Pape appears to be a soft, richly fruity wine revealing lots of raspberry and black cherry fruit intermixed with notions of nori (the seaweed wrapper found in sushi restaurants), roasted Provencal herbs, and garrigue. This lovely front end-loaded effort will be unusually precocious, so it should be drinkable upon release, and will evolve for 7-10 years.” 

89-91/100 Points


“Still tight, with the core of cherry and red currant fruit held in check by a mix of lightly firm sandalwood, spice, licorice root and warm stone flavors. Mulled fig and cocoa notes check in on the grippy finish. A rare backward style 2008 that will need some cellaring to round into form. Best from 2013 through 2020.”  

92/100 Points


“Bright ruby. Lively, musky aromas of red berries, cherry, anise, earth and spices, augmented by hints of lavender and resin. Energetic, focused redcurrant and bitter cherry flavors show good definition and pick up minerality with air. Taut on the back end, finishing with solid grip and very good, tangy persistence. I like this wine’s vivacity and balance.”

90/100 Points

Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar

Food Pairings:

When drunk young, Chateauneuf du Pape is wonderful pairing with an array of red meats, but perhaps best with rosemary crusted rack of lamb. With some bottle age, this wine will be a natural pairing for fuller flavoured cheeses, pan seared duck breast, or mushroom risotto.

Andrew Hanna is a third generation wine importer and Director of Sales & Marketing at John Hanna & Sons Ltd., one of Canada’s oldest independent wine merchants. He spends his days scouring the earth for handcrafted wines that tell a story about the people and places in each bottle, while sharing these delicious discoveries with wine lovers across Canada.


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