There is excitement about the quality of the 2017 vintage at Château Canon. They reckon the vintage is a combination of the 2015 and the 2016 and a notch up from 2014. They argue this is partly the good fortune of Canon’s great terroir atop the St Emilion plateau next to the town itself. The estate was not affected by the frost and in a precocious harvest on a precocious terroir, much of the Merlot on the St Emilion plateau was picked before the September rain. Certainly there is a perfumed and mineral note to Canon this year with the emphasis on the purity of the fruit and elegance. The recently acquired Château Berliquet also shows floral tones and refinement in the first vintage here under Nicolas Audebert.
2017 was certainly an early vintage for Château Canon. Without suffering from the frost, flowering occurred in homogenous conditions and summer was good, being neither too hot nor too dry, and the vines did not get blocked. With an early start to the growing season, given the season’s conditions, Canon had one of its earliest ever harvests starting on 4 September. Much of the main harvest on the plateau had occurred before the September rain arrived. After a break the vintage continued with the Cabernet Franc, completing the harvest on 27 September. The 2017 Château Canon is the third vintage under the Nicolas Audebert regime, following the retirement of the legendary John Kolasa here. There is attractive purity to the wine and there is freshness and good texture on the palate. My score is above the 2014, but below the magnificent 2015. Time will tell as I imagine the 2017 will fill out further in barrel. This wine represents 33% of the harvest. Croix Canon, the second wine, is certainly no slouch and shows clean, fresh and vibrant fruit. It is very ‘Bordeaux’ and appealing.
I was fascinated to taste the first vintage of Château Berliquet under the new ownership. I’d previously been a big fan of the wine which had been made by Nicolas Thienpont and his team before the property was sold to Chanel last summer. Berliquet has great terroir, close to Canon and Angélus. There are 10 hectares in total with 7.5 in production. I thought there seemed a little more restraint in the wine this year but that might be the vintage speaking. Again there is attractive perfume on the nose, leading to a very precise palate with round fruit and nice acidity. An interesting start to the new tenure at Berliquet.
The following wines were tasted at Château Canon on Saturday 7th April, 2018.
Croix Canon, St Emilion Grand Cru, 2017
Deep and healthy looking; fresh and clean; very Bordeaux; nicely pure; vibrant fruit; nice entry; good depth; clean – crystal clear; very fresh and precise; nicely integrated tannins; good finish – little short on the finish but will fill out during elévage. [66% of production, 80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc 14% alc, pH 3.66, 30% new oak, 42hl/ha]. Tasted 7/4/18. Drink 2022-2027. 89-91+
Château Canon, St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé, 2017
Nice healthy colour; earthy purple at the edge; very attractive; perfumed; nice freshness; floral; nice supple fruit on the entry; elegant; with schist notes plus the pure fruit; nice freshness and texture; very good length; very good wine. [33% of production, 56% new oak, 77% Merlot, 23% Cabernet Franc, 14% pH 3.66, 42hl/ha]. Tasted 7/4/18. Drink 2024-2037. 93-95+
Château Berliquet, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé, 2017
Mid depth; dark at core; lovely perfume; purity; and precise; attractive; nice acidity and tension on the palate; will age well; nice acidity; supple fruit; tannin; [50% new oak, 70% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc, 14% alc, pH 3.59, 30hl/ha]. 91-92+