Château Canon 2019
AC Saint-Emilion 1er grand cru classé B, 1500 ml
Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate (William Kelley) writes about this vintage: "The 2019 Canon has turned out brilliantly in bottle, wafting from the glass with complex aromas of raspberries and red plums mingled with notions of raw cocoa, dark chocolate, pencil shavings and rose petals. Medium to full-bodied, seamless and multidimensional, it's one of the most refined, elegant right bank wines of the vintage, with a deep core of fruit, beautifully refined tannins, lively acids and a long, perfumed finish. This is a superb achievement for Nicolas Audebert and his team. In the last few years, this sleeping giant has well and truly reawakened, and the 2019 seems to me the finest Canon that Nicolas Audebert and his team have yet produced. Extensive replanting between 1996 and 2003, overseen by Audebert's predecessor, John Kolasa, saw some 50% of the estate's 22 hectares replaced. The fact that these vines are now arriving at full maturity surely goes some way to accounting for Canon's contemporary renaissance. Now, the team is working on restructuring the rest, combining massal selections and clones. Viticulture is thoughtful, with cover crops across the estate, and the terroir itself is relatively homogeneous: solid limestone covered by some 0.25-0.7 meters of clay, with a more or less uniform exposition on Saint-Émilion's plateau. There's also one small parcel in the town itself and another by Berliquet. Today, the vineyard is planted with about 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Franc, and there are no plans to radically alter that. Winemaking privileges finesse over power, though a certain richness and texture can be taken for granted with a site like this, and maturation is in 50% new oak (mostly from Taransaud, Emptos, Sylvain and Quintessence)."
Forefather of the Bordeaux varieties
The Cabernet Franc is one of the oldest varieties of Bordelais and a parent of three other red grapes in the Bordeaux assortment: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Carmenère. It is distinguished by its complex, flavourful bouquet of raspberry, graphite, violet, liquorice and white pepper. In addition, it presents round, crisp tannins which turn out less strongly than those of Cabernet Sauvignon. While the Cabernet Franc always appears as part of a blend in Bordeaux, it is pressed alone on the Loire. The most renowned appellations are Chinon and Bourgueil. Incidentally, the Cabernet originates not in Bordeaux but in the Spanish Basque Country. Cabernet owes its name to the Latin “carbon”, meaning black.
Merlot is the most charming member of the Bordeaux family. It shines with rich colour, fragrant fullness, velvety tannins and sweet, plummy fruit. It even makes itself easy for the vintner, as it matures without issue in cool years as well. This is in contrast to the stricter Cabernet Sauvignon, which it complements as a blending partner. Its good qualities have made the Merlot famous worldwide. At over 100,000 hectares, it is the most-planted grape in France. It also covers large areas in California, Italy, Australia and recently in Eastern Europe. The only catch is that pure Merlot varieties rarely turn out well. Its charm is often associated with a lack of substance. Only the best specimens improve with maturity. They then develop complex notes of leather and truffles. This succeeds in the top wines from the Bordeaux appellation of Pomerol and those from Ticino, among others.
Saint-Emilion: unique Bordeaux idyll
A unique terroir, unique assemblage formula and a unique classification: Saint-Emilion occupies an exclusive position in Bordeaux. The wines are not as angular as in the Médoc, but not quite as opulent as in Pomerol. In terms of maturity, the wines fall between the early-maturing Pomerols and the Médoc growths, which require plenty of time. In assemblages, Merlot often plays the formative role. But Cabernet Franc also contributes greatly to the unique Saint-Emilion feel.
Bordeaux: high prestige, high quality
With a total area of around 115,000 hectares, Bordeaux may not be France’s largest wine-growing region, but it is certainly its most prestigious. The range of wines produced here today is enormous: ranging from red everyday wines with a great relationship between price and quality to exclusive, and accordingly expensive, premier crus. Elegant white wines and noble sweet specialties round out the spectrum.
France – Philosophy in a bottle
According to French philosophy, wine should be an expression of the soil and climate. They use the word “terroir” to describe this. Terroir makes every wine different, and many especially good. French wine is regarded worldwide as an expression of cultural perfection. The French believe that humans are responsible for the quality of the berries, the vine variety for their character, and nature for the quantity. This philosophy can be expressed succinctly as: “the truth is the vineyard, not the man.”