Recent Tasting, 3 Wines Vintage 1998


Chateau Canon St. MichelIn

The 1950’s, Mr Jean Garnier purchased several parcels of vines located on the lands of the villages of Fronsac and Saint Michel de Fronsac.In 1979 the property was leased to a friend of the family for 18 years. In 1998, Jean-Yves Millaire, Jean Garnier’s grandson, took over the family property after studying oenology and working on several different properties from 1992 to 1997. In 1999, Christian joined Jean-Yves on the property and the vineyard and storehouse were reorganised, renovated and the property extended with the lease of several very well-exposed neighbouring parcels.

The property today covers 17.50ha divided into 7ha of AOC Canon Fronsac, 3.5 ha of Fronsac, 0.5ha of AOC white Bordeaux and 6.50ha of AOC red Bordeaux.During the first few years, the vineyard was cultivated using "integrated" farming methods, but we very quickly turned towards organic and biodynamic farming.

The 1998 vintage you have purchased was probably a product of 2 generations, vinification by Jean-Yves and looked after by Christian

A terroir…

The AOC Fronsac and Canon Fronsac parcels are located on argilo-calcareous type soils. Chalk tends to predominate on the hills and plateaus whilst the slopes and combes are more marked by Fronsadais molasse. These characteristics of the terroir are accentuated by the diversity of the very uneven terrain. The two rivers protect the vineyard from spring frosts and the green oaks which grow here are proof of this privileged climate.

A method of farming…

Chateau Canon St. Michel focussed on quality and environmental respect naturally led us towards organic farming and biodynamics. Indeed, thanks to farming techniques using no weed-killer, fungicide, insecticide or other synthetic pesticides, we can offer natural wines which are a perfect reflection of their terroir. Chateau Canon St. Michel attached great importance to tillage, cover planting, leaf removal and most especially, very close monitoring of each parcel, as organic farming is entirely based on anticipation and prevention. The vinification process takes place naturally with no artificial aid, solely based on the winegrower’s skill. This rediscovered symbiosis between man and his vines brings out the quintessence of our wines.

Château Canon Saint Michel and vintage 1998

Château Canon Saint Michel is located in the Canon Fronsac appellation, one of the oldest and smallest AOC in the Bordelais region, and borders on Saint- Emilion and Pomerol. Château Canon Saint Michel covers 7 hectares, divided between several small parcels with different grape varieties and exposures, giving this vintage an excellent aromatic complexity.

The Château Canon Saint Michel 1998 is composed of 70% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc and 5% de Malbec. The density of the vines is quite high, between 5,500 and 8,000 vines/ha. The average age of the vines is 40 years and they are located on argilo-calcareous slopes with Fronsadais molasse and sandy clay.

Chateau Canon St. Michel grows the vines according to organic and biodynamic methods of farming certified by AGROCERT and ECOCERT. All grapes are harvested by hand and our wine storehouse is also FNIVAB-certified. We do not add any oenological products to our wines apart from very small but essential amounts of sulphur carry out cold pre-fermentation followed by 3 to 4 weeks of fermentation depending on the vintages, with cap-punching and occasional rack and return “délestages”. The wine is then matured for 12 to 14 months in 225-litre French oak casks. Over the years, we have selected a number of coopers with very high quality woods. Chateau Canon St. Michel considered the cask to be a container allowing the micro-oxygenation of the wine over several months and not as a means of flavouring the wine. For this reason, Chateau Canon St. Michel only use 20% of new casks each year, plus casks which have contained one, two or three wines. After 12 to 14 months maturing in casks, we blend the wines which then remain in the vat for another 6 months to refine. The wine is then bottled without being clarified and often without being filtered either, this having already been achieved by time and the maturing process.

The Château Canon Saint Michel 1998 is a deep ruby-red colour with a red fruit nose and a delicious intensity in the mouth. It also gives notes of tobacco and vanilla on a strong tannic structure. When young, the vintage reveals aromas of bitter cherries with a pleasant minerality, then with more than 14 years, notes of truffles and undergrowth appear, characteristic of great wines grown on argilo-calcareous soils.

General Background of the Appellation Fronsac

Canon Fronsac has been renowned for its wines for centuries – the very first Bordeaux wine to appear in a Christie’s catalogue in 1780 refers to “a hogshead of Canon Claret” and the wines were popular at the Court of Versailles. In 1783 the entire output of the Château Canon was reserved for the court of the Dauphin at Versailles. However wine making in this little appellation stretches back much further.

There are some who claim that Fronsac was the first vineyard in Bordeaux. The vineyards descend down from the limestone bluff, the Tertre de Fronsac and from prehistoric times the region was inhabited. T