|France > Bordeaux > Right Bank > St Emilion
There have been huge improvements and investment here recently in the vineyard (which is planted 75% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc) and chai by former manager John Kolasa and owners Chanel. The Chateau itself has recently enjoyed a substantial make-over. This is a great property that made fabulous wines in the past but dipped in form during the 1990's until the new regime took over. It is now right back up there as one of the very best of all the Saint Emilion Chateaux. New director Nicolas Audebert has come in from Krug via South America and had an amazing start to his career at Canon, conjuring up the near-perfect 2015 vintage.
The 2016 Canon has the unenviable task of following the astonishing 2015, and it does a damn good job, even if it doesn’t reach the same ethereal heights. There is a pleasing strictness and poise on the nose; this is less immediate than the 2015, yet intellectual, a Canon that expresses its terroir rather than tons of fruit. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannin, a fine bead of acidity, a smooth texture and a slightly savory but persistent finish, which feels a little plusher than the 2015, implying that this might drink a little earlier. But there is unquestionably immense breeding locked into this rejuvenated Saint-Émilion, which is now firmly ensconced among the top-flight Right Banks. Drink 2021-2050
Complex aromas of blackberries, iodine, oyster shell and wet earth. Ever so perfumed. Full-bodied, yet reserved and tight with very silky tannins that are energized and minerally. Takes off at the end. The freshness lifts it. Try after 2024.
The 2016 Canon is deep garnet colored. It pirouettes out of the glass with energetic scents of Morello cherries, black raspberries, and fresh blueberries, plus wafts of lilacs, star anise, fallen leaves, and fragrant soil. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is exquisitely balanced with beautifully ripe, fine-grained tannins and seamless freshness supporting the perfumed, multi-layered fruits, leading to a very long and minerally finish on this beautiful wine.
This vintage delivers a beautiful, classic style of Canon that is right at the top of what St-Émilion can offer. Compact and dense without being hard, it is finely structured both in terms of the texture of the cassis and blackberry fruits and in the shape of the tannins. It demonstrates a clear minerality and a feather-brushing of violet notes. This is less obviously sexy than 2015, but is a wine that offers a masterclass in what limestone terroir can convey - salinity, succulence, hints of austerity and reserves of power. I retasted it a few times, and the main take away of what to expect is layers of flavour and huge persistency. The details of how they worked the vintage are an added bonus to understanding how they achieved this result. When it started getting hot and dry, they left all green cover on the vines, and did no green harvesting except tidying up in September. The result was loading the vines to avoid over-concentration. 72% Merlot and 28% Cabernet Franc, with the final blend aged in 70% new oak. 3.6pH.
Drinking Window 2027 - 2050
Mid concentration of crimson. Rather reticent but sophisticated nose. Not powerful but nicely judged. Dry finish and no excess sweetness. Very long. Pretty impressive. Subtle and appetising.
Tasted as part of a Canon vertical. Deep, rich ruby-purple in colour. The nose is more lithe and floral than the 2015. Deep, brambly fruits, cherry blossom and finely etched blackcurrant come through with subtle, savoury spices. The palate is driven and pure, with slick, fine cassis fruit and more succulent, mouthfilling cherry. The tannins are polished and fine, but there is more grip and tension than the 2015 that will need more time to integrate. Sweet vanilla and subtle smokiness come through. Vertical and very refined, this will be a superb Canon and makes a perfect companion to the previous vintage. Very long, subtle and complex.
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. 2023 - 2053.
The nose has a fragrant charm spring violets the palate has a balance of fresh fruits bramble and richer sweeter cassis and black cherry. The tannins are ripe silky integrated the back palate has depth rich fruit the finish is lighter with fresh fruit long and stylish. 2025-38
“A real terroir wine that I prefer to the 2015 is how maître de chai, Stéphane Bonnasse, describes his majestic 2016. You’d expect a wine owned by Chanel to be perfumed and that’s the case here on this scented, refined, beautifully balanced cuvée, showing refined oak, velvety tannins and flavours and texture that are as close as St Emilion gets to great Burgundy. 2024-36
Composed of 74% Merlot and 26% Cabernet Franc and aged for 18 months in 70% new French barriques, the 2016 Canon is medium to deep garnet-purple in color, and—WOW—it opens with the most stunning perfume of violets, red roses and kirsch, giving way to a core of black cherry preserves, chocolate box, licorice, warm plums and Chinese five spice plus an earthy waft of underbrush. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is completely filled with expressive, perfumed black berry layers accented by lively red fruits and exotic spices, supported by impressively fine-grained tannins and fantastic tension, finishing very long with jaw-dropping energy. Tasted three times, I had one opportunity to taste the 2015 and 2016 Canon side by side. While I love the bold, rich, seductive nature of the 2015, this 2016 kicks it up a notch in terms of polish, precision, depth and persistence. Most notably, the superbly ripe, exquisitely fine-grained tannins on this 2016 bring to the table a whole other level of sophistication. Bravo! 2022 - 2055
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. Drink 2026 - 2060
Very intense aromas already of pure berry, mineral and spice. Full body yet refined and tight with gorgeous linear and refined character. Beautiful and classic beauty.
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.
There have been huge improvements and investment here recently in the vineyard (which is planted 75% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc) and chai by former manager John Kolasa and owners Chanel. The Chateau itself has recently enjoyed a substantial make-over. This is a great property that made fabulous wines in the past but dipped in form during the 1990's until the new regime took over. It is now right back up there as one of the very best of all the Saint Emilion Chateaux. New director Nicolas Audebert has come in from Krug via South America and had an amazing start to his career at Canon, conjuring up the near-perfect 2015 vintage. 74% Merlot and 26% Cabernet Franc in 2016, with 65% new oak for 18 months. The nose here is all about purity. Cherries, plums, light vanilla and spice with a little incense. The palate is silky and extremely refined - the precision of the fine-grained, ripe, yet persistent tannins is second to none and should give both approachability and ageability to the wine. Sweet and savoury in equal measure, the cherries, savoury spices, smoke and cedar are all layered wonderfully through to a creamy, yet floral and lifted finish. Another fantastic performance from this Chateau that is the very definition of the fresh and harmonious style of St Emilion that has become rare in the race for extraction and power over balance.