Chateau Canon la Gaffelière 2016

St Emilion Grand Cru Classe, 1Er Grand Cru Classé B, Bordeaux

The Chateau
Located on the pied de côte (foot of the slope) south of the medieval village of Saint-Émilion, Château Canon La Gaffelière’s terroir consists of clay-limestone and clay-sand soil that is very permeable and particularly efficient at retaining heat. The choice of grape varieties is rather atypical for the appellation in light of the soil: almost a perfect 50/50 divide between Merlot and Cabernet. The Cabernets ripen early and remarkably well on Canon La Gaffelière’s warm soil, adding power and aromatic complexity to Merlot’s opulence to create wines of natural elegance and finesse. In keeping with vineyard management adapted to each plot, the vat room was designed to be able to ferment and house wine made from each one in order to fine tune the final blend. Fermentation takes place slowly and temperatures are kept under close control to bring out the best the grapes have to offer. The wine is aged on the lees to enhance its intrinsic qualities and each barrel is treated individually. Non-interventionist winemaking is practised and in such a way as to make the most of vintage character.The history sanctioned Château Canon La Gaffeliére as one of the most famous Saint-Emilion wines. In 1971, the Earl Joseph-Hubert Von Neipperg, loyal to eight centuries of viticultural traditions in the family, acquired this property, the administration of which will be given in 1985 to his son Stephan. During a few years, heavy investments combined with a perfect knowledge of the Saint-Emilion soil led to the rebirth of Château Canon La Gaffelière. Thanks to the terroir specificity, the almost perfect balance of the grapes planted makes this wine very special. It is composed of 55% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, while the average Saint-Emilion is more around 70% Merlot. The aging process is made on fine lees to express better the true quality of the wine. Wines are elaborated in an ultra-modern cellar within oak barrels. The overall wine-making process makes a generous and elegant cru that age really well. The vineyard is managed in the respect of the environment and that is how Château Canon La Gaffelière has been  certified organic by FR-BIO-10. When tasting, Château Canon La Gaffelière offers a strong wine, very well structured, complex, pure and always elegant.
The Vintage
[x] Wine Spectator – April 2017
95 – 98 (Blind tasted)
This pulls a lot of red and black currant, fig and boysenberry pâte de fruit notes together, wraps them with a brambly thread and then drives them through an anise- and apple wood-edged finish. It’s all tightly wound, but it’s all there for the long haul. Really, really solid. (James Molesworth)

[x] Vinous – April 2017
93 – 96
The 2016 Canon La Gaffelière is a huge, voluptuous wine with no hard edges and exceptional balance. Often in the early going, the Merlot and Cabernet Franc elements are easily discernible, but in 2016 all the elements are wonderfully fused together. It will be interesting to see if this powerful wine finds a bit more finesse over time. The 2016 was even more impressive when I tasted separate components from barrel in January 2017. In 2016, the wine spent 30-32 days on the skins and will see approximately 60% new oak.
Tasted three times. (Antonio Galloni)
[x] James Suckling – April 2017
95 – 96
Lovely silky texture and dark fruit to this wine underlining richness and decadence. Medium to full body and a long finish.

[x] Bettane & Desseauve – Avril 2017
Entrée en bouche douce et suave se développant sur un corps charmeur. Belle finale toujours caressante et pleine de vie aromatique, dans des nuances florales et épicées. La complexité est apportée par les 35 % de cabernet franc et les 10 % de cabernet sauvignon.
[x] Neil Martin – – April 2017
93 – 95
The 2016 Canon la Gaffeliere is a blend of 55% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Franc and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon (vines organically certified) picked from 26 September to 15 October and matured in 60% new oak. The yield is 42 hectoliters per hectare. This offers one of the most cerebral aromatics that I have encountered from this Saint Emilion estate: mineral-rich red and black fruit, quite edgy, almost flinty in style. I adore the focus of these aromas that are wired directly into the olfactory senses. The palate is very well balanced and governed by the Cabernet component. The black fruit is lifted by some lovely graphite notes that lend it a very Left Bank-like personality. It is fresh, taut and linear with a very persistent finish. Unlike other vintages of Canon la Gaffelière, I feel that this will require four to five years in bottle. As good as the 2015 last year, it might even surpass it.
The Sommelier notes:
[x] Terroir: Clay-limestone, clay-sand at the foot of the slope. Vineyard area currently in production: 19.5 hectares (48 acres)
[x] Grape varieties: 50% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Franc, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon,. Average age of the vines: 50 years
[x] Harvesting: By hand, into small crates to avoid bruising.
[x] Sorting before and after destemming.
[x] No crushing. The grapes arrive on a conveyor belt.
[x] Fermentation: In temperature-controlled wooden vats for 28-35 days depending on the vintage.
[x] Extraction by pneumatic pigeage (punching down the cap).
[x] Malolactic fermentation and ageing: In new oak barrels (up to 80%) on fine lees.
[x] Fining and filtering as necessary, depending on the vintage.
[x] Duration of barrel ageing: 15-18 months depending on the vintage