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Bordeaux 2014: Château Canon-la-Gaffelière, Clos de L’Oratoire and La Mondotte

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

156Very impressive wines have been made at the various estates that Stephan von Neipperg runs in St Emilion in 2014. Premier Grand Cru Classé Château Canon-la-Gaffelière is bold and concentrated with wonderful texture, Grand Cru Classé Clos de l’Oratoire is glossy and full flavoured, saturated with ripe fruit. The tiny Premier Grand Cru Classé La Mondotte vineyard has produced something typically voluptuous and caressing but also with deceptive power and concentration. For sheer value and immediacy, the over-achieving Château d’Aiguilhe in Castillion also delivers the goods in 2014 – a great introduction to the seductive charms common to the Neipperg wines.

Château Canon-la-Gaffelière occupies an interesting position at the foot of the slope south of the town of St Emilion. There is a heterogeneous soil make up from clay-limestone to clay-sand which partially accounts for its blend, fifty-fifty Merlot and Cabernet [primarily Cabernet Franc] on the twenty hectares of vineyard that make up the property. I find this St Emilion seductive and enticing, always the right side of ripe with sweet and glossy fruit tones but not jammy. The unusual growing season in 2014 – the cool and wet summer followed by a dry and sunny September and October – has resulted in a powerful and concentrated Canon-la-Gaffelière but also one with freshness.

Grand Cru Classé Clos de l’Oratoire is a ten hectare property located diametrically opposite on the other side of the town of St Emilion on its north-east slopes. The soil here is more clay subsoil and the vineyard blend here [90% Merlot] reflects this. 2014 has produced a creamy, seductive wine with plenty of extract and matter.

La Mondotte’s 4.5 ha vineyard is located east of St Emilion’s limestone plateau, the soils clay with silt on a rocky subsoil. The power here is deceptive – there is a boatload of fruit and extract – but its all satin and silk.

The wines were tasted at Château Canon-la-Gaffeliere on Wednesday 1st April 2015. Canon-la-Gaffelière was also re-tasted at the UGC event on the same day.

Château d’Aiguilhe, Castillon

Deep and saturated colour; tight to the edge; lovely aromatics; creamy black fruits; some wet rocks; lots of concentration on the nose; some wood but doesn’t mark the fruit; liquorice and plum cake notes to the fruit; open creamy and saturated palate. Plenty of glossy extract here. Excellent. [80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc 30% oak, 35 hl/ha, harvested 3/10-13/10]. Tasted Canon-la-Gaffelière 1st April ’15. Drink 2019-2030. 90-92+

Clos de L’Oratoire, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé

Deep and saturated; lovely violet lift; full and glossy aromatics; lashings of fruit here; saturated but attractive; sweet ripe entry; lots of fruit here and then oak; needs to meld a fraction but the glossy quality of the fruit should easily do that; lots of extract and matter on the end but no sense of dryness. [90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc. 50% new oak. Yield 40hl/ha, harvested 3/10-10/10]. Tasted Canon-la-Gaffelière 1st April ’15. Drink 2019-2028. 91-92+

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

Deep and saturated colour; lovely fat seam of fruit; bold, dense and concentrated; some chocolate; glossy ripe entry once again; this is polished and creamy St Emilion; wonderful texture to the palate; very harmonious; good concentration on the finish. Very good length. Palate very impressive. Very good wine indeed. [55% Merlot, 37% Cabernet Franc, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon. 13.5% alc, 24 hl/ha, 70% new oak, harvested 25/9-09/10]. Tasted Canon-la-Gaffelière 1st April ’15. Drink 2020-2030. 92-94+ [second note at UGC] Deep and saturated look; very deep core; ripe; glossy and polished; voluptuous on the nose; black cherry; some spice; velvety palate; plenty of extract and chew but structured nicely; some grip; nice fruit and texture overall. Mineral and wet rock tones too. Substantial and long St Emilion. [55% Merlot, 37% Cabernet Franc, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13.5%, 24 hl/ha, picked 25/9-9/10]. Drink 2019-2035. 5. Tasted UGC 1st April ’15. 92-94.

La Mondotte, Premier Grand Cru Classé

Deep and saturated; opaque; glossy, satiny nose; substance beneath; minerality too; liquorice and lift; satin fruit on the palate; very elegant and voluptuous; caressing fruit; subtly jam packed with fruit in fact; lots of extract here; takes you by surprise; little oak on the finish to integrate. Excellent length. Prodigious and deceptively powerful. [80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, 13.9% alc, 100% new oak, 4.5ha estate. Yield 18hl/ha, harvested 27/9-10/10]. Tasted Canon-la-Gaffelière 1st April ’15. Drink 2019-2032. 94-96+

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