Owner Stephan von Neipperg, of German nobility yet a rebel in Bordeaux, has elevated quality by focusing on terroir and thinking outside the box. His approach is very different for this GCC St. Emilion. First of all, Canon la Gaffeliere lies in the South lower slope; its taste is consistently riper and broader to some extent. With lots of manifestations of a modern wine, vintage 2012 is from 55% Merlot, 38% Cabernet Franc, 7% Cabernet Sauvignon. Inky black colour with a herbal and sweet black cherry nose. The palate is juicy, almost sweet, with black cherry. Very concentrated with firm tannins and a hit of wood smoke from new oak, this is a balanced wine with ripeness, sweet vanilla oak and a sappy, smoky finish. Mid palate is very strong and very much an excellent accompany wine to foods. Stephan uses Stéphane Derenoncourt as consultant, have used an array of means such as malolactic fermentation in the barrel, malolactic fermentation, and barrel aging on the lees with bâtonnage (stirring of the lees).
Tasting Team has cultivated in through these years a special kind of likings for the unique stylistics of Canon-La-Gaffelière, as well as Stephan von Neipperg’s other Saint-Emilion properties including Clos de l’Oratoire and La Mondotte, and Château d’Aiguilhe in the Côtes de Castillon.
Scores are very consistent and quite impressive.
94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Exotic notes of Christmas fruitcake, cedar wood, cassis, espresso roast and chocolate soar from the glass of this sensual, impressively well-endowed 2012. Full-bodied with silky tannin and well-integrated wood, this beauty is a tribute to the impeccable viticulture and fermentation techniques of Neipperg and his head consultant, Stephane Derenoncourt. This wine will be drinkable upon release and should evolve for 15 years. (RP) (4/2013)
93 points James Suckling
This is very intense with beautiful dried flowers and dark fruits and lovely finish. Lovely depth too. Goes on for minutes. Medium-to-full body. (4/2013)
93 points Wine Spectator
Bright and pure, with mingling notes of plum pit, black cherry preserves and steeped currant fruit, all lined with red licorice and well-integrated spice. Shows ample grip, but the tannins are well-buried. Not big, this relies more on accessibility and balance overall. (4/2013)
92 points Wine Enthusiast
*Best Buy* Barrel sample. This tannic wine is very dry and extracted. It doesn't have the weight to sustain this intense dryness, however, suggesting potential for a fine fruitiness with age. Dark on the palate, it finishes quite dry. (4/2013)