Wine Words & Video Tape

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Bordeaux Primeurs 2013: Château Canon

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

161Château Canon has made refined and voluptuous wine in 2013. It always relies on purity and balance rather than exotic dances to entice. I’m intrigued by these parades just as much as anyone, of course, [there’s room for all!] but it has to be said there is something about the class and the finesse that stands out like a beacon at Canon pretty much year in, year out. On the mid palate this wine is very nicely done indeed and in that respect it reminds me of Clos Fourtet. What’s more Canon has been released at a sensible price [around £370/$620 per dozen], fractionally lower than the current cost of a case of the 2007 [2013 is clearly superior]. So is this top-notch Bordeaux to seriously consider this year?

Château Canon’s terroir confers advantages in difficult vintages. The walled Clos that surrounds the vineyard atop the limestone plateau adjacent to the town of St Emilion, is a natural heat trap. Following the difficult flowering period caused by the cold and wet weather, as elsewhere coulure and millerandage caused a reduction in yield [though not as severe as some]. The hot weather in July, allied to the warm terroir, meant that by veraison they were only a few weeks behind the normal growing season, as opposed to three weeks elsewhere. A final leaf-thinning pass at the end of the growing cycle was used to help speed up the phenolic ripening of the grapes.

Harvest began at the start of October in constantly changing conditions, sunny spells followed by showers and rain. The threat of rot meant that the only way to get the harvest in and preserve quality in the fruit was to employ more pickers. It was an expensive equation but Château Canon’s owners have got deep pockets. The harvest was completed by 10, October.

The resulting effort is impressive, both in general but especially so for the vintage. There’s a lot of things that have contributed, perhaps the terroir most importantly, also the financial wherewithal, but importantly too, the human skills of the team in the vineyard and the cellar under the experienced John Kolasa.

The wine was tasted on Friday, April 4, 2014.

Château Canon, St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé

Mid depth; pure, clean; plummy tones; pretty; palate full and voluptuous; attractive and nicely done on the middle palate; some chew on the finish but there is plenty of extract and material here; good length. Excellent effort. For me one of the top St Emilions of 2013. [65% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Franc, 35 hl/ha]. Drink 2018-2030. 91-93+

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