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CHÂTEAU CANON

2016 1er Grand Cru Classé Saint Emilion

Grapes Merlot, Cab Sauv
Colour Red
Origin France, Bordeaux
Sub-district Saint Emilion & Satellites
Village Saint Emilion
Classification 1er Grand Cru Classé

74% Merlot 26% Cabernet Sauvignon. Riper and bigger but otherwise incredibly similar feel of total silk to the Croix Canon (second wine). The fruit is also darker and deeper in expression, and not quite so open, but the class and elegance here is extremely striking and it really is one of the top wines of the vintage. I asked what had made such a striking uplift in quality here over the last two or three vintages, and was told 'the new general manager', Nicolas Audebert. Asked what in particular he had changed, and the answer was less definite, it seems that it is all a result of many little changes rather than one big thing. There's no doubt too that Nicolas is capitalising on the restructuring of the vineyard undertaken by John Kolasa during he tenure 'standing on the shoulders of a giant', but equally no doubt that in him Chanel have found a complete superstar. Tasted again at the Chateau from barrel, this has a glorious nose, focused fruit and is all in lacy delicacy, subtle, graceful and pure with raspberry and earthy notes - it is just a magnificent balance of freshness, acidity and fruit. Drinking range: 2028 - 2045 Rating: 95-97 L&S (Apr 2017)

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The 2016 Château Canon is another beautiful wine from this estate, made in a more streamlined, elegant style compared to the richer, sexier 2015. Checking in as a blend of 74% Merlot and 26% Cabernet Franc all from a magical terroir situated on the upper plateau just outside of the village of Saint-Emilion, it saw a small percentage of the blend go through malolactic fermentation in barrel, and the wine spent 18 months in 70% new French oak, with the balance in once-used. Gorgeous notes of blueberries, cassis, spring flowers, white truffle, and crushed rock nuances all come soaring from the glass and it has notable intensity as well as complexity. Medium to full-bodied, with vibrant acidity, ultra-fine tannins, and a straight, silky texture, I don’t think it matches the 2015 on concentration, but it’s perfectly balanced and has a texture to die for. It needs a good 4-5 years of bottle age (or more) and it’s going to be long-lived. Tasted three times. Drinking range: 2023 - 2053 Rating: 96 Jeb Dunnuck, www.jebdunnuck.com(Feb 2019)

The 2016 Canon makes it a double slam-dunk for head winemaker Nicolas Audebert and his team, as it is the second of two ethereal wines that will put the estate right at the top of the Saint Emilion tree. This year is a blend of 74% Merlot and 26% Cabernet Franc picked from 22 September until 10 October at 45 hectoliters per hectare. It delivers 14.02% alcohol and an IPT of 65. Matured in 65% new oak, it has a compelling bouquet with intense black cherry and blueberry fruit, a tincture of oyster shell, all with exquisite definition. The palate is medium-bodied with filigree tannin, and again, there is stunning, almost ineffable precision. It is attired in a seamless texture with real density yet weightlessness on the finish. The persistence on the aftertaste is extraordinary. I composed this entire tasting note after spitting out the wine, but I can still feel my mouth tingling now. The 2015 was magnificent, but could this 2016 surpass that? "The 2016 is more Canon in style, more classic," commented Nicolas, and he could be right, although intuition tells me that the 2015 might be a hair's breadth better. I would not refuse either if they were opened before me. Drinking range: 2026 - 2060 Rating: 97-99 Neal Martin, www.vinous.com(Apr 2017)

Lively dark crimson. Very smart and complex on the nose - distinctively different. Really focused and rich but not sweet. Real lift and drive. So complete! Opulent on the nose but nothing remotely simple and sweet. Throbs with excitement. Drinking range: 2025 - 2048 Rating: 18.5 Jancis Robinson OBE MW - www.JancisRobinson.com(Apr 2017)

Château Canon

Atop the limestone plateau of St Emilion, and just west of the village, is Château Canon. Originally named Clos St Martin, the vineyard was bought by privateer and naval man Jacques Kanon in 1760. He expanded the vineyard beyond the original clos walls and built the château, but sold up after 10 years of tenure to the Fontémoing family. At some point, they also owned Château Canon in Fronsac which may account for the current name for the St Emilion estate, but it is more likely named for the dashing Jacques Kanon – either way, the owners of the Fronsac estate were not best pleased when Clos St Martin morphed into Château Canon in 1853. For most of the 20th Century, Château Canon was owned by the Fournier family but their tenure was one of gradual and sad decline. In 1996, they sold up to Alain and Gerard Wertheimer who had not long purchased Rauzan-Ségla in Margaux. Fortunately, the Wertheimers, owners of Chanel, had the wherewithal to attend to Canon’s many problems. A long term programme of complete replanting of the vineyards was started and the winery was completely renewed. The vineyard area has been expanded by the purchase of a couple of near-by plots. The, now, 34ha are planted with 65% Merlot and 35% Cabernet Franc. Opinions on Château Canon’s wines can be mixed, although tasters views may be tainted by memories of disappointing wines from the recent past. There is little denying that quality has improved considerably under the Wertheimers. In the 1996 St Emilion classification, Château Canon was granted Premier Grand Cru Classé (B) status, something re-affirmed by the 2006 and 2012 revisions. The second wine of Château Canon, first produced in 2000, was Clos Canon but will be known as Croix Canon from the 2011 vintage.

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