Wine Words & Video Tape

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Château La Gaffelière


Address: 33330 St Emilion

Telephone: +33 (0)5 57 24 72 15



Château La Gaffelière is a well regarded Premier Grand Cru Classé St Emilion. For me it is strong and healthy. For a while there was something I wasn’t quite ‘getting’ with this wine. Perhaps it is simply not as flashy as some of its neighbours and it does improve well in bottle.


Vineyard/Terroir: 22 hectares on clay-limestone planted with 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc. Hand-picked and sorted. Estate classified a Premier Grand Cru.

Winemaking/Elévage: MLF and 12 months in 100% new oak.

Tasting notes:

  • 2015 Deep and saturated colour; ripe plums and black fruits; certain purity; with some coffee at the back; quite pent-up; intense and tight on the palate; lots of extract; bit drying currenty but will settle. Long term La Gaffeliere and will probably be very good down the track. Lots of chewy fruit but some freshness to the fruit. [70% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc, 14.5% alc]. Drink 2022-2035. 91-93+
  • 2014 Deep and saturated look; elegant and supple fruit on the nose; vibrancy; little wet rock; mineral note; fine palate; substance; wet rock; little dryness but La Gaffeliere always seems to fill out well; good purity; some spice and freshness on the finish. Length. [80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc]. Drink 2020-2030. 5. Tasted UGC 1st April ’15. 89-91+
  • 2013 Deep and saturated look; wet rocks and mineral notes; inky and quite deep; nicely handled on the palate; cool fruit with plummy tones; there is extract and material here but the wine hasn’t been pushed. Good effort for the vintage. [70% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc]. Tasted April 2, 2014 UGC. Drink 2018-2030. 89-91+
  • 2012 Mid depth; wet rocks and minerals on the nose; more plumpness than expected on the palate; full-ish; good structure; not especially showy at this stage; more longer term prospect here. Classic La Gaffeliere in that respect. Drink 2017-2027. 90+ UGC Oct ’14 [Earlier note] Deep and dense but healthy looking; mineral and wet rock nose; some liquorice beneath; pretty solid palate but there is plumpness here too; nice chew and good length. La Gaffeliere is always pretty firm and masculine to me, not flamboyant. Dense. 90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc 90-92 UGC Wednesday April 10, 2013
  • 2011 Deep looking; stones and wet rocks; serious and dense; lots of fruit on the palate and extract too; not too dry on the finish. Nice length. Good effort from La Gaffelière. Drink 2016-2026. 90+ UGC Oct ’13 [Earlier note] Deep and saturated; lots of primary fruit; ripe and warm notes; some mealy hints; feels relatively simple; palate more gentle, fruit driven and nicely balanced; some spices and red fruits but overall straightforward. Good grip at the end. Good effort. 90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, 50% new oak. 89-91+ [Second] Deep and saturated colour; little redder than purple at rim; more olives and slightly heavier nose; thicker, more chocolate and mocha notes; more earth; palate quite chunky, monolithic; some wet rock and a little dryness; not that bad but not the best. Chew and bite and a dry finish. Tasted blind at Groupement de Premiers Grands Crus Classes de Saint-Emilion at Chateau Canon 6/4/12. 87-89+
  • 2010 Deep and saturated colour; chunky fruit nose; red fruits; depth; chunky, chewy wine on the palate; lots of extract; some red fruits again; ink, wet rocks and a slightly dry finish. So so effort for such a good terroir. Am I always missing something here at La Gaffelière? 88/100 [Earlier] Deep and saturated; some density to the nose; some chalk, some plum and spices; good fruit here, chew and extract; tannins maybe a bit chunky. Pretty good effort. 89-91/100 6 April 2011 UGC [Second tasting] Deep arterial black; even tighter to the rim; nicely done; meaty quality here; feels big and brooding; strong aroma, powerful; very glossy palate, lots of material; quite lush and pretty well done; some warmth at the end. Very big and lots of [ripe] tannin. Lacks sophistication but has power. 91-93+/100 Tasted April 6 Groupement de Premiers Grands Crus Classes de Saint-Emilion
  • 2009 Red, deep; too much jam here on the nose; very figgy molasses style; more Amarone than St Emilion. Think they’ve got this wrong to my palate; too rasiny in feel. Not one of my picks. 2010 a much better bet here with more freshness. 88?/100 UGC Oct ’11 [Earlier] Dense purple at edge; attractive and pretty fruit driven nose; red fruits; some oak beneath but nice; palate sweet ripe fruit, strawberry and red fruits plus a kiss of oak; later oak tannins come through and palate quite hard. [Later] Lighter toned and fresher; more attractive nose; palate still hard and tannins hard. Again difficult to judge I’m overwhelmed with tannin so potentially better than this score suggests. 86-88?/100
  • 2008 Earthy red; some tar, quite rich and figgy; concentrated palate, chewy and dense with lots of tannin; bit of leafy Cabernet Franc if I’m not mistaken; some warmth here. Not bad and a big chewy slightly old fashioned style. 87/100 UGC Oct ‘11
  • 2007 Deep and dark at centre; red fruits and some leaf; some stony, mineral notes with coffee at edge; stalky blackcurrant palate; chewy and a little foursquare; bit compact and tannin very dry on the finish. Tricky to judge. 84-86?/100 [Earlier] Mid red; bit dull; tarry element; more figs; less of the perfume and balance; bit tough at the end and hollow in the middle. Disappointing. 84/100 UGC tasting Oct ‘09

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