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#2 Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2013
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.
Blend: 50% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Franc, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon
95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
This wine shows wonderfully exotic tapenade, licorice, Christmas fruitcake, cedar wood, blackberry and sweet cherry notes in its strikingly provocative aromatics. On the palate, the wine is dense and full-bodied, with stunning concentration, purity, texture and length. It is full-bodied, silky smooth and seems to have more in common with the 2009 than one might expect, although the freshness and tannin levels are slightly more elevated. Drink it over the next 20+ years. (RP)
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.
05/10 to 20/10/2010
in wooden vats for 32 days. Extraction by pneumatic pigeage (punching down the cap)
in new oak barrels (70%) on the lees for 17 months. No fining or filtering
Château-bottled in April 2012
55% Merlot 35% Cabernet Franc 10% Cabernet Sauvignon
Drought and cool temperatures contribute to optimal ripeness
The sum of summer temperatures in 2010 was close to that of summer 2009 (962°C compared to 982°C), but decidedly chillier than those of 2005, which totalled 1052°C. These cool temperatures had a substantial influence on the balance of our wines, preserving a good level of acidity and attractive aromatic freshness.
Very little rainfall (only 267 mm) from March to August 2010 generating a drought of similar intensity to that of 2005, when only 227mm of rain fell.
Another feature of the 2010 vintage is the low temperatures above all in the first three weeks of August, which made for the preservation of good levels of acidity in the grapes while also maintaining attractive aromatic freshness.