Yesterday evening, following the Wine Advocate last week, Antonio Galloni released his in-bottle scores for Bordeaux 2015. He leads by saying ‘Two thousand fifteen has turned out to be a fabulous vintage for Bordeaux…So many wines were more convincing than they were from barrel.’ Interestingly he awarded only two 100-point scores, to Chateau Canon and Vieux Chateau Certan. Chateau Margaux, Cheval Blanc and Eglise Clinet were awarded 99 points, along with 11 98 point scoring wines, including Haut Brion. Since February 1st, Neal Martin has joined Vinous Media, as such we do not believe Galloni’s scores, taken in isolation, will be a driver in terms of moving the market for investment. Instead, they add weight and further highlight many of the brilliant wines of the vintage, one of which is where we will focus today.
Canon La Gaffelière was a big winner from all bottle scores, surpassing its barrel scores. Lisa Perrotti-Brown of the Wine Advocate moved the needle up from Neal Martin’s 93-95 points to a stunning 97 points, while Galloni has marked it at the upmost end of his 95-97 points, awarding it 97 points last night. This is confirmation from two stringent markers, that this wine is a staggering proposition. Staggering most of all due to the price, priced at £350 per case of six, it offers remarkable value for a doubly confirmed 97 scoring wine. This gives it a Price Over Points Ratio of 41, extremely low for a leading St.Emilion wine!
In 2015, Canon La Gaffelière is a blend of 55% Merlot, 38% Cabernet Franc and 7% Cabernet Sauvignon. Of it Galloni states ‘The Cabernet Franc, usually such a strong signature, is nearly buried by the sheer intensity of the Merlot fruit. Espresso, mocha, licorice and plum infuse the racy finish… Seamless and captivating in the glass, it possesses magnificent richness, volume and intensity in every dimension.’ Perrotti-Brown describes it as having a ‘deep garnet-purple color and a cedar-laced nose to begin, giving way to fragrant underlying scents of roses and violets with a core of crushed black currants, blackberries and Bing cherries plus hints of fallen leaves and dusty earth.’ It is, for the time being, enormously undervalued at £58 a bottle in bond! The 95 point scoring 2009 and 2010 trade at £450 per case of six, the 94 scoring 2000 at £500 and as such, the 2015 today is due a correction.
Chateau Canon la Gaffelière is owned by Comte Stephan von Neipperg. The vineyard is sited just outside the town of St.Emilion, in ‘the Cotes’ just South of Chateau Ausone and West of Pavie. The vineyard predominates in clay, limestone and sandy soils, although the best parcels grow in deep clay, where the vines date back to the 1930s. It is an old Chateau, dating back to the 17th century. However, in 1971 the Estate was bought by Joseph-Hubert von Neipperg, which passed to his son Stephan the Count of the Holy Roman Empire and the current proprietor. Stephan is ascribed with much of the Estate’s current success. He has been exponent of modern winemaking techniques, embracing and experimenting with including micro oxygenation, for a time, but now this moderation is tempered with tradition. It has also benefited from close involvement from oenologist Stéphane Derenoncourt. Vinification goes on for up to four weeks, in temperature controlled wooden vats, which is followed by 18 months maturation in 50% new oak. The results are reflected in the great 2015 and in being reclassified as a St Emilion Grand Cru Classe B in 2012. The triumphs are also reflected in his other properties which include Clos de l’Oratoire and the powerhouse La Mondotte.
As with La Mondotte, which received a perfect score in 2009 and 99 points in 2010 from the Wine Advocate, Canon la Gaffeliere is an Estate on the rise, in terms of quality and price. It is currently under-priced for its quality and status. The average bottle of Chateau La Mondotte has seen a 150% rise in the last five years, off the back of its growing global cachet and critical acclaim. Canon la Gaffeliere is on a similar trajectory. In fact, in the 1990s Stephan tried to merge the two Estate into one, but was not permitted to, based on Canon la Gaffeliere having a Grand Cru Classe status and La Mondotte not. Production is merely 7,500 cases a year and as such, supply is very limited. Taken together, Canon la Gaffeliere is a superb buy for any cellar, it will reward handsomely.
Canon La Gaffelière 2015, 97 Points Lisa Perrotti-Brown
Composed of 55% Merlot, 38% Cabernet Franc and 7% Cabernet Sauvignon and aged in French oak, 55% new, for 17 months, the 2015 Canon la Gaffeliere features a deep garnet-purple color and a cedar-laced nose to begin, giving way to fragrant underlying scents of roses and violets with a core of crushed black currants, blackberries and Bing cherries plus hints of fallen leaves and dusty earth. Medium to full-bodied, the seductively perfumed red and black fruit fills the mouth, framed with plush tannins and plenty of freshness, finishing very long and minerally.
Canon La Gaffelière 2015, 97 Points Antonio Galloni
The 2015 Canon La Gaffelière is deep, powerful and explosive. Seamless and captivating in the glass, it possesses magnificent richness, volume and intensity in every dimension. The Cabernet Franc, usually such a strong signature, is nearly buried by the sheer intensity of the Merlot fruit. Espresso, mocha, licorice and plum infuse the racy finish. The 2015 is going to need the better part of a decade to be expressive. Tasted two times.
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