Chateau Canon La Gaffeliere (Futures Pre-Sale) 2018
Blend: 50% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Franc, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
A bright, mineral-driven style in the making, with the chalky aspect leading the way, quickly followed by a racy stream of red currant, raspberry and cherry coulis flavors. Has the grip of the vintage, but this is piercingly focused in feel.
Barrel Sample: 95-98
Barrel Sample: 95-98
One of the most elegant and classy wines in the vintage is the 2018 Canon-La-Gaffelière, which is based on 50% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Franc, and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon brought up in equal parts new and used barrels. This deep ruby/purple-colored effort offers a complex bouquet of kirsch, blueberries, licorice, orange blossom, and spring flowers. It’s medium to full-bodied, beautifully balanced, and focused on the palate, with building tannins that stay polished and sweet, and give plenty of length and cut on the finish. This beautiful Saint-Émilion offers both hedonistic and intellectual pleasure and will drink nicely for 25+ years. Barrel Sample: 94-97.
Barrel Sample: 94-96
Barrel Sample: 94-96
A lovely, fruity and juicy red with mineral and dried-tea character. Full and tightly structured with a long and flavorful finish. Tight at the moment, but shows momentum and depth.
Barrel Sample: 94-95
Owner Stephan von Neipperg always gives a little kick to his wines, a little swirl of oak finesse, a nod in the direction of glamour without going overboard. This gets the balance pretty much perfect, and although you can feel the ripeness of those red fruits, it's balanced by the minerality through the finish that asks you to stop, scrape your way up the limestone walls and rest at the top for the view. Good quality. Harvest ran from 19 September to 4 October, with a yield of 35hl/ha. 50% new oak. Drinking Window 2025 - 2040. Barrel Sample: 94
Located on the famous slope (and the foot of the slope) south of the medieval village of Saint-Emilion, Chateau Canon La Gaffelière has belonged to the Counts von Neipperg since 1971. Representing some eight centuries of family winegrowing tradition, Count Stephan von Neipperg has succeeded in placing Chateau Canon La Gaffelière among the top Grands Crus Classés of Saint-Emilion thanks to a winegrowing philosophy that gives priority not only to quality, but also respect for the environment.
Chateau Canon La Gaffelière is located on the outskirts of the medieval town of Saint-Emilion, at the southern foot of the slope. The 19.5 hectare (48 acres) vineyard has a complex, outstanding terroir of clay-limestone and clay-sand soil. The topsoil is primarily sandy, increasingly so as one moves away from the slope. The unusual proportion of grape varieties (55% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Franc, and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon) at Canon-La-Gaffelière is perfectly suited to the soil.
Marked by its historic fortified village—perhaps the prettiest in all of Bordeaux, the St-Émilion appellation, along with its neighboring village of Pomerol, are leaders in quality on the Right Bank of Bordeaux. These Merlot-dominant red wines (complemented by various amounts of Cabernet Franc and/or Cabernet Sauvignon) remain some of the most admired and collected wines of the world.
St-Émilion has the longest history in wine production in Bordeaux—longer than the Left Bank—dating back to an 8th century monk named Saint Émilion who became a hermit in one of the many limestone caves scattered throughout the area.
Today St-Émilion is made up of hundreds of independent farmers dedicated to the same thing: growing Merlot and Cabernet Franc (and tiny amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon). While always roughly the same blend, the wines of St-Émilion vary considerably depending on the soil upon which they are grown—and the soils do vary considerably throughout the region.
The chateaux with the highest classification (Premier Grand Cru Classés) are on gravel-rich soils or steep, clay-limestone hillsides. There are only four given the highest rank, called Premier Grand Cru Classés A (Chateau Cheval Blanc, Ausone, Angélus, Pavie) and 14 are Premier Grand Cru Classés B. Much of the rest of the vineyards in the appellation are on flatter land where the soils are a mix of gravel, sand and alluvial matter.
Great wines from St-Émilion will be deep in color, and might have characteristics of blackberry liqueur, black raspberry, licorice, chocolate, grilled meat, earth or truffles. They will be bold, layered and lush.
One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World, especially in California, Washington and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde River, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.
In the Glass
Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines modeled after the Right Bank are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure. Wines from Bordeaux lean towards a highly structured and earthy style whereas New World areas (as in the ones named above) tend to produce bold and fruit-forward blends. Either way, Bordeaux red blends generally have aromas and flavors of black currant, cedar, plum, graphite, and violet, with more red fruit flavors when Merlot makes up a high proportion of the blend.
Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb or smoked duck.
While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties in specified percentages, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include equal amounts of Cabernet Franc and Malbec, for example. Occassionally a winemaker might add a small percentage of a non-Bordeaux variety, such as Syrah or Petite Sirah for a desired result.