In 2015 the St Emilion’s from the von Neipperg stables were glossy and lush. 2016 appears to be of similar quality but has quite different characteristics. The wines feel more textured on the mid-palate and show even more freshness. As a vintage, while not as immediately seductive as 2015, it seems to have more evident ‘matter’. I’m a great fan of Clos de l’Oratoire and the 2016 doesn’t disappoint. It has wonderful fruit and polish. Château Canon-la-Gaffelière has quite a bit of zap and verve this year. There is concentration but it also feels very fleet-of-foot. The cabernets in 2016 were clearly wonderful. La Mondotte is its usual glossy, layered, decadent self. It is a real beauty.
The winter and spring at Château Canon-la-Gaffelière was exceptionally wet and mild. The weather, thankfully, shifted at the beginning of June and allowed flowering to take place in dry and warm conditions which allowed for quick and even fruit set. By the end of the month the dry and sunny weather established itself, weather that would characterise the rest of the summer. Water stress was ameliorated by the replenished ground water reserves. Nights remained cool during August and early September which allowed the grapes to retain aromatic complexity and freshness.
Rain on 13 and 30 September helped final ripening with the harvest beginning on the 26 September for the merlots. The vintage finished with the cabernets on the 15 at Château Canon-la-Gaffelière and at La Mondotte. Clos de l’Oratoire finished picking on 17 October. Yields were good.
The following wines were tasted on 1st April, 2017 at Château Canon-la-Gaffelière:
Château Soleil, Puisseguin St Emilion, 2016
Deep colour; earthy purple at edge; sturdy St Emilion; some cream and cherry; nice entry; some chew; sinew and texture. Will fill out. Little chew on the finish. [90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc]. Tasted 1/4/17. Drink 2019-2025. 87-89
Le Rival, Lussac St Emilion, 2016
Deep and saturated look; legs; ripe and some gloss; lots of glossy fruit on the nose; fat; lots of extract and fruit but nicely handled; wood needs to integrate but plenty of fruit. Extract and wood on the finish. Pretty good depth and length. [90% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc]. Tasted 1/4/17. Drink 2019-2026. 88-90
Clos de l’Oratoire, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé, 2016
Deep and saturated; tight to edge; lovely glossy aromatics; plums, some spices; seductive; some mineral tones too; very nice entry; lovely fruit; really sense of beauty here; chew and depth; good matter; extract matter; very polished; comes together nicely at end. Some bite and minerality here. Great stuff. [90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc. 45% new oak, 30 days cuvaison]. Tasted 1/4/17. Drink 2021-2030. 92-94+
Château Canon-la-Gaffelière, St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé, 2016
Deep colour; usual gloss; nice attractive colour; minerality; fresh but with pure fruit; plums; spices; minerality; quite zappy on the palate; plums, spices; nice acidity; nicely balanced; real tension here; elegance; almost feel it needs to fill out; quite zappy. Good length. Good length. Will be moreish and well balanced. [55% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Franc, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 60% new oak. 32 days cuvaison. Certified organic.]. Tasted 1/4/17. Drink 2023-2035. 93-95+
La Mondotte, St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé, 2016.
Deep and attractive looking; dark and arterial; lovely glossy purity; really silky; ripe plum, satin spices; very nicely layered; gorgeous purity; lovely entry; very focused; attractive fruit and extract; seemingly more tannic and firmer than ’15 but with that freshness and minerality on the finish; nice on the end. Moreish again. Lots of texture on this one. A beauty. Has the structure and scale. [80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc Certified organic]. Tasted 1/4/17. Drink 2023-2035. 96-98+
Tags: Bdx16, Bordeaux, Chateau Canon La Gaffelière, Château Soleil, Clos de L’Oratoire, La Mondotte, Le Rival, Lussac St Emilion, Puisseguin St Emilion, St Emilion, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé, St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé, Stephan Von Neipperg