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Bordeaux 2015: Clos de l’Oratoire, Canon-la-Gaffelière & La Mondotte

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

156There is usually a silky quality to Count Stephan von Neipperg’s St Emilions. This quality is really underscored in the 2015 vintage. These are beautiful wines, deceptively easy but with wonderful beauty. Clos de L’Oratoire is seductive and ripe; Château Canon-la-Gaffelière more substantial [45% Cabernets] but with remarkably supple, glossy fruit. La Mondotte is heavenly. Again these are amongst some of the finest wines I have yet tried from these Neipperg-owned properties. There is a delicacy in 2015 not found in either the powerful 2010s or the opulent 2009s here.

Clos de l’Oratoire’s ten hectares of vines are located on the north-eastern slopes of St Emilion, on sand with a clay subsoil. The property lies near Château Dassault and Château Faurie de Souchard. It is predominately Merlot [90%]. Practices are conducted on an organic basis, though only Canon-la-Gaffelière and La Mondotte are full certified at present. L’Oratoire is voluptuous and opulent.

Geographically Château Canon-la-Gaffelière is on foot of the south western slopes beneath the town of St Emilion on well-drained clay-limestone and clay-sand soils. There is a high percentage of Cabernet in the vineyard [40% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon] and this contributes greater structure.

La Mondotte is from a different part of St Emilion entirely, a 4.5ha plot, that produces ravishing wine on the St Emilion plateau close to Château Bellevue-Mondotte and Château Tertre Rôteboeuf. The soils here are rocky, overlain with clay and silt on steep, sunny slopes. Yields are correspondingly low. The first vintage of La Mondotte was in 1996 and the wine is made in very limited quantities.

The following wines were tasted on Wednesday 6th April, 2016 at Château Canon-la-Gaffelière.

Clos de L’Oratoire, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé

Deep and saturated colour; creamy sweet plums; very seductive; lovely beautiful quality to the fruit once again; pure on the nose; a little trace of oak on the palate; but this has lovely fruit tones; cream and sweet, ripe plums again; very easy without a hard edge. Soft finish. [90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45hl/ha, 40% new oak, 30 day cuvaison, 13.5% alc]. Drink 2019-2027. 91-93+

Château Canon-la-Gaffelière, St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé

Deep colour; more solid and substantive than L’Oratoire; layers; ripe black fruits; very nicely judged; some Cab influence here on the palate with the spicy characters; very supple and approachable; nice depth; soft finish. Excellent length. [55% Merlot, 38% Cabernet Franc, 7% Cabernet Sauvignon, Certified organic, 39hl/ha, 55% new oak, 30 day cuvasion, 13.7% alc]. Drink 2020-2030. 93-95+ [Second tasting at UGCB 6/4/16]: Deep colour; substantial aromas; quite a lot of fruit here; lush; sweet ripe plums; spicy note from the Cab Franc; satin fruit to begin with but plenty of guts in the middle and a little chew on the finish; very nicely textured; structure here under the satin fruit canopy. Depth. Drink 2020-2035. 93-95+

La Mondotte, St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé

Deep and saturated look; opaque at core; seductive; all velvet and satin; black fruits but difficult to define – more a sense of overall seduction – little dark chocolate and kirsh notes; satin again fruit; lovely palate; like ample Grand Cru Burgundy [except it’s not often this good]; lovely texture and depth – very intense but you just don’t notice it. Lovely length too. [85% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc, 34hl/ha, 80% new oak, 14.2%, 33 days cuvasion]. Drink 2020-2030. 96-98+

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