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2017 : no risk, no fun.

2017 is living proof that it is still Mother Nature who holds the reins, for better or worse.

2017 was a vintage which is almost synonymous with the great late frost which swept much of Europe, though the damage it caused varied greatly in different regions.

So, to look back on this atypical, 2-in-1 vintage…

The winter and early spring were extremely mild and dry, in fact one of the driest of the century so far. This naturally led to quite uniform early budding, from the 26th of March in some of our plots, and an initial phase of rapid growth.

In the second half of April, however, the weather changed with the arrival of an anticyclone marked by clear skies and a north-easterly wind. The air mass therefore cooled and temperatures fell fast.

The nights of the 27th and 28th of April were devastating, not only because of the intensity of the cold but also the vast area where it struck.
No region was spared: the only difference was the scale of the damage.

65% of the production at Château Canon La Gaffelière was affected, while at Clos de l’Oratoire it was 70%, Château Peyreau over 90%, and Château d’Aiguilhe 60%. Only La Mondotte was spared.

After the initial shock and despondency that an event like this causes, it was time to set to work. It was time to seriously take stock of the situation. What should we do? Prune? Rush to work without a plan? No. It was essential instead to take time, to wait, to watch and keep watching, and to weigh up the life force still present in the wood of the vines… and only then intervene and fight…

Marking the vines, taking action to prevent disease, analysing the petioles, applying liquid compost, etc. There was a great deal of work to be done - painstaking, but necessary for the future, working in the short term for a second generation of grapes.

Yes, that was what it was about… betting on the second generation of this 2-in-1 vintage.

After the frost, the weather in spring was radiant and almost summerlike. Temperatures above the seasonal norms, combined with a dry spell that lasted until the end of June, led to a quick and consistent flowering, starting on the 15th of May in the earliest plots!

While late June was very wet, summer was amazingly dry, exacerbating the water shortage of the winter, even in clay soils.

Rain at the beginning of September brought the grape skins to full maturity, and the ripening process was very uniform.

Painstaking work that marked the whole vintage reached its culmination during the harvest, with the combination of first and second-generation bunches: picking of the first-generation grapes began on the 14th of September, finishing on the 29th, while the second generation was harvested between the 3rd and the 10th of October.

At this stage of development, our different crus are all fresh and elegant, displaying rich aromas, and tannins.


2016 was a year with many twists and turns!

Winter was rather gloomy, as well as exceptionally mild and rainy. This led to early bud break from the 24th to the 28th of March (variable depending on the estate).

Beautiful, dry weather in the first week of June was accompanied by markedly above-average temperatures. This changed things considerably at the beginning of flowering, which was quick and even (starting on the 2nd of June in the most early-maturing plots).

However, the profile of the vintage changed radically as of the 20th of June.

Temperatures returned to the seasonal average, although there were a few peaks above 35°C in mid-July. Fruit set and bunch closure took place under very favourable conditions. The very dry weather brought about moderate water stress conducive to even véraison (colour change), which ended on the 15th of August in late-maturing plots.

Nevertheless, excessive water stress did not occur because reserves had been reconstituted thanks to rainfall in the early part of the year. Furthermore, the von Neipperg vineyards have deeply-rooted vines and excellent soil covering management.

The diurnal temperature difference in August and the first two weeks in September accounted for the very harmonious development of aromas and tannins. It rained on the 13th and 30th of September, giving a boost to ripening. The grapes already had an attractive freshness and fruitiness at this time!

The month of October was cooler, but still very sunny, which enabled our Cabernet Franc and (rare) Cabernet Sauvignon grapes to ripen perfectly.

The harvest began on the 26th of September at Canon La Gaffelière and finished on the 18th of October at Château d'Aiguilhe.

At the present time, i.e. at this stage of ageing, all the wines from our estates are showing beautiful aromatic complexity. The new wines are fresh, well-focused, and fruity with good body and tannin.

We will be delighted for you to taste them, because this is a truly great vintage!

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Château 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 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.

The average amount of Merlot is approximately 70% in Saint-Emilion. This variety contributes roundness and opulence. However, the high percentage of Cabernet Franc at Canon-La-Gaffelière is unquestionably well-adapted to the estate's warm soil. This variety accounts for an exquisite bouquet with spicy, floral overtones, as well as power and aromatic complexity. The old Cabernet Franc vines do especially well on soil with a high clay content. Seeing as the Cabernets are usually late-ripening, they take full advantage of the estate's warm soil. This means they mature much earlier than in most other parts of the appellation.

The vines, an average of 45 years old, are deeply rooted in the soil and absorb all the goodness in the terroir. They are mostly replaced individually rather than plot by plot (which maintains the average age). The last major replanting dates back to 1986. Mass selection is practised. This is especially useful in order to perpetuate the precious old Cabernet Franc vines. It not only maintains the vineyard's genetic heritage, but also its unique balance.

Remarkably well-structured, always elegant, and unfailingly long on the palate, Château Canon La Gaffelière eloquently illustrates Stephan von Neipperg's new orientation.

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Terroir: clay-limestone, clay-sand at the foot of the slope

Vineyard area currently in production: 19.5 hectares

Grape varieties: 55% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Franc, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon

Average age of the vines: 45 years

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Count Joseph-Hubert von Neipperg acquired Château Canon La Gaffelière in 1971. Starting in 1984, all the winery buildings were entirely renovated and new offices were constructed. The château itself, in a rather poor state, was also extensively refurbished. Furthermore, a new winemaking team was formed to reflect the estate's changed philosophy.

A new approach starting in 1985

Stephan von Neipperg totally redefined viticulture and winemaking at Canon La Gaffelière, succeeding in reflecting the very best of what the estate has to offer. The present richness and concentration of its wines place Canon La Gaffelière among the top crus classés of Saint Emilion - which was exactly its position in the 1940s.

For quite some time, this siliceous terroir suffered from a fairly mediocre image.

However, clay and sand soil is by no means bad! Everything depends on how you grow the grapes. A common error is to over-fertilise such well-filtered soil. In the early 60s, the use of chemical fertilisers was widespread, largely with a view to increasing production. The prevalent winemaking philosophy at the time found this perfectly acceptable.

Unfortunately, though, wines from this period were lacking in structure. In addition, excess nitrogen created a serious, long-lasting imbalance in the relationship between the vines and the soil. Firmly packed, and deprived of oxygen and micro-organisms, the soil lacked the necessary health and dynamism for deep rooting and quality wine production. This explains why Canon La Gaffelière was so lacklustre after 1964. The wines were weak and lacked complexity.

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Inside information

Château Canon La Gaffelière is one of the oldest estates in Saint-Emilion and has had a fine reputation for over 150 years. In the 19th century, the estate was called La Gaffelière-Boitard (or Canon-Boitard), after its owner, Monsieur Boitard de la Poterie. It was later purchased by Doctor Peyraud, but there are few documents to describe his time as owner. The estate was acquired by Pierre Meyrat, the Mayor of Saint-Emilion, in 1953. After his death 1969, the château was sold once again and finally acquired by the Neipperg family in 1971

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  • Stephan von Neipperg

    « A rather "intellectual" wine with a great deal of finesse that is relatively open even in its youth... There is always a floral side to enhance its fruitiness, with hints of forest floor. A great pleasure on both the nose and the palate. Fine and delicate. »


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Wine Moments

Here you can see wine moments from tastingbook users.    or    to see wine moments from your world.

 Markus Del Monego MW / Best Sommelier in the World 1998, MW (Germany)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Canon-La-Gaffelière . In a tasting of  88 wines 

2017 is a vintage bringing back Bordeaux to its roots, offering a very classic wine style with lower alcohol levels than in the previous years but with often excellent aromatic expression. 2015 and 2016 have surely been better vintages than last year, but based on a first impression 2017 seems to be better than 2014. The evolution will show, that 2017 is far from becoming a "forgotten vintage". Some nice surprises will be waiting for us.

3d 20h ago

 Achim Becker / Wineterminator.com, Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Canon-La-Gaffelière . In a tasting of  12 wines 

Vintage 1949-tasting - Best wine was superb Mouton-Rothschild - 100 points

5m 12d ago

 Christer Byklum / Leading Scandinavian wine blogger, Wine Writer (Norway)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Canon-La-Gaffelière . In a tasting of  100 wines 

1928 Château d'Yquem; Huge expectations, the best wine I've had, 28 Suduiraut, if there is a wine to beat it..... Difficult to read label, cork states quite clearly Yquem, Lur-Saluces, 1928. B/C level fill, above mid shoulders. Pale amber with broad green yellow rim. Nuts, apricots, apple, lemon, raisins, minerals and even schistes. A glorious, layered and transparent in the best sence of the word mix of mature and more youthfull flavours. Perfect balance in a different league, great acidity, such finesse, pineapples comming to join the elegant party, even coconut and papaya, acidity is tender, doing its job gracefully like the queen greeting her guests. Gorgeous length. Minutes again. But this bottle do not beat the Suduiraut, and that is mainly because of the Suduirauts length and even better freshness. The 28's seems to be marvels! 99

5m 13d ago

 Izak Litwar / The most important Scandinavian Bordeaux Critic, Pro (Denmark)  tasted  2 wines  from  Château Canon-La-Gaffelière . In a tasting of  30 wines 

Château La Conseillante 1945-2015 / La Conseillante 2005 95p. Tasted four times. Consistent notes. Yield - 38 hl/ha. Great stuff coming from this outstanding vintage. Truffles, seductive nose. elegant and incredibly classy wine, red meat, very sophisticated and with excellent length and structure, incredibly long aftertaste. Fantastic wine and I wonder if 2010 will turn out to be better.

10m 17d ago

 Izak Litwar / The most important Scandinavian Bordeaux Critic, Pro (Denmark)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Canon-La-Gaffelière . In a tasting of  161 wines 

Bordeaux 2016 vintage!

11m 26d ago

 Christer Byklum / Leading Scandinavian wine blogger, Wine Writer (Norway)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Canon-La-Gaffelière . In a tasting of  75 wines 

In 2016 Pauillac has made some excellent wines and on the top, Mouton has made something very special and might be wine of the vintage competing with Petrus. Lots of estate has made excellent wines from Pauillac this year. Saint-Estephe has also made stunning wines and Cos d'Estournel has made one of the greatest wines I have ever tasted from them. Northern Médoc is far better in 2016 than in 2015, but for me, 2016 on a whole delivers more. 2015 for me eas a bit hyped even if the wines were very good indeed. 2016 probably has the edge over 2011 as well that is seriously undervalued in the market, but will give many some surprises for the future.

1y 4d ago

 Markus Del Monego MW / Best Sommelier in the World 1998, MW (Germany)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Canon-La-Gaffelière . In a tasting of  272 wines 

BORDEAUX VINTAGE 2016 / Tasting "en primeur" is a challenge every year. The wines tasted are showing a tendency only and it is still the beginning of a longer process of evolution and maturation in the barrels. There might be some changes during the next year and a half until the wines will be bottled, but already today the tendency is quite clear. For most of the red wines it will be an outstanding vintage, a vintage for Cabernet, old vines, limestone and clay soil. It was a challenging year for the vintners. An incredibly wet spring was worrying the winegrowers and at the beginning of June, the spirits were down. However warm and dry weather between June 3 and June 11 creating an close to ideal situation for the flowering and good weather conditions starting in mid June changed the nature of the vintage. The fine weather continued into July and August. The month of August was featuring hot weather and a remarkable amount of sunshine but the absence of rain let to water stress. Heavy rain in mid September set an end to water stress and when the sun returned on September 20 the vintage was saved as there was excellent weather till to the end of the harvest. The effects were various. the white wines are on a good quality level and display fruit and flavour but the acidity is lower than in previous vintages and the white wines show an opulent and rather soft style. The noble sweet wines are extremely pure and are more on the rich and powerful side than on the freshness. For the red wines originating from the right terroirs and old vines, the vintage an be called outstanding. Water stress was managed well on limestone and clay terroirs, Cabernet varieties did extremely well and old vines found water even during the stressful dry periods of summer. In some few red wines the tannins are slightly harsh, almost bitter, a result of water stress and/or intense extraction. In general the red wines are on an excellent level with an advantage for the left bank, mainly the Médoc area, and the classic great terroirs of Saint-Emilion and Pomerol. 

1y 8d ago

 Björnstierne Antonson / sommelier, Pro (Sweden)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Canon-La-Gaffelière . In a tasting of  31 wines 

Bordeaux notes from vintages 1995 -2011 

1y 1m ago

 Li Yong Liú, Wine Dealer (China)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Canon-La-Gaffelière . In a tasting of  23 wines 

Château Ausone 2007 / Dark ripe nose with leather, plum, mint, strawberry jam. Beautifully textured on palate with juicy sweet fruit, velvety tannins, a certain note of drier fruit like prunes and some woody notes. Classical and aristocratic texture with great complexity and length. Warm, ripe and big, but very finely balanced and precise. 

1y 6m ago

 Pekka Nuikki / Founder of the Fine Wine Magazines, Pro (Finland)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Canon-La-Gaffelière . In a tasting of  22 wines 

“The Vine Club's 1961 tasting: The two rarest and most expensive wines from '61 both come from Pomerol. Pétrus and Latour-á-Pomerol. Both are tremendously impressive - Latour-á-Pomerol with great sweetness, richness and concentration. Pétrus with similar richness but with even more power and structure. I have had the pleasure of drinking these two giants next to one another already few times, - I expect Pétrus to have the longer life expectancy. Vieux Château Certan is a wonderful mature wine as is Lafleur. A wine I also have found very good over the years is Château Gazin. It did then include grapes from a parcel of the best part of Pomerol, now belonging to Château Pétrus. Also the L'Evangile have a great reputation, and for good reason.”

1y 9m ago

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