Everything about Chateau La Gaffeliere St. Emilion, Premier Grand Cru Classe B, Bordeaux wine producer profile, with wine tasting notes, wine and food pairing tips, best vintages, wine ratings, a history of the property, information on wine making and terroir, along with wine tasting reviews. If you want to read about other important, Bordeaux Chateaux: Links to all Bordeaux Wine Producer Profiles
Chateau La Gaffeliere History, Overview
Before the modern era for Chateau La Gaffeliere took hold, from all the ruins left behind by the ancient Romans, it is clear they were planted vines here thousands of years ago. Chateau La Gaffeliere has the unique distinction of being one of the oldest, family owned vineyards in the St. Emilion appellation of Bordeaux. The family can trace their roots in the Right Bank all the way back to the 1400’s!
The fifteenth century Bordeaux chateau of La Gaffeliere might not have always been a winery. In fact, the chateau could of been used for a completely different purpose. It is possible that the chateau might have been a gaffeliere. A gaffeliere is translated from ancient French to a leper colony.
While parts of the estate date back to the 11th century, the beginnings of La Gaffeliere start with arrival of the Comte de Malet-Roquefort in the 17th century. They are responsible for the unique, Gothic styled chateau, that is easily visible from the main road leading to the Saint Emilion village. By the 18th century, Chateau La Gaffeliere had earned a reputation for producing high quality, St. Emilion wine. At some point in time, the vineyard was split with some of the land shifting to what became Canon La Gaffeliere, located just down the road.
Under the Malet-Roquefort family, for a period of time, the estate was known as La Gaffeliere Naudes. Until 1961, the wines of La Gaffeliere Naudes were outstanding. For consumers seeking older Bordeaux, they can often be found at low prices in the marketplace. Eventually, the name of the estate changed and was shortened to just Chateau La Gaffeliere.
The wines of Chateau La Gaffeliere during the 1980’s were moderate at best. It was not their best period, even though at some point during that decade, that is where a young Alexandre Thienpont learned his trade. Alexandre Thienpont is better known for the chateau he owns in Pomerol, Vieux Chateau Certan.
After 1961 the quality of the wines being produced at this Right Bank estate slipped and did not fully recover until Stephane Derenoncourt teamed with the Malet-Roquefort family. In late 2014, Count Alexandre de Malet Roquefort purchased 13 hectares from the Cassatt family that included Chateau Mauvezin, Domaine de Peyrelongue and Chateau Haut Badon. From those 13 hectares of vines, it is thought that 3 – 4 hectares of vines are of Classified Growth quality. Also in 2014, Chateau La Gaffeliere removed three hectares of their vines for replanting.
Chateau La Gaffeliere Vineyards, Terroir, Grapes, Winemaking
The 18 hectare Saint Emilion vineyard of Chateau La Gaffeliere is planted to 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc. This is quite different than what you find as recently as the mid 1990’s. In those days, the Merlot was only 65% and there was also 10% of the vines devoted to Cabernet Sauvignon. Those vines have since been ripped out and replaced. The vineyard has a terroir of clay, limestone, chalk and sandy soils. Underneath that, you find more clay and limestone on the hillsides. In the flats, you have more sand in the vineyard.
You can easily divide the vineyard of La Gaffeliere into 3 main sections. The best terroir is the 7 hectares of vines close to Chateau Ausone and not far from Chateau Belair-Monange. There is a smaller parcel on flatter land next to Moulin Saint Georges. They have one more parcel, which is their largest holding. It is located across the road from Chateau Pavie at the bottom of the slopes, where you find more gravel, rocks and sand. One of these days, I am going to have to ask if they ever make a parcel selection as an experimental wine. The vines are old at an average age of 40 years. The vineyard is planted to a vine density of 6,000 vines per hectare. During the early part of the 1980’s, the owners experimented with machine harvesting. That practice has been discontinued.
To produce the wine of Chateau La Gaffeliere, vinification of the wine takes place in temperature controlled, stainless steel tanks. The grapes are whole berry fermented. Malolactic fermentation takes place in French oak barrels. The wine of Chateau La Gaffeliere is aged in an average of 70% to 80% new, French oak barrels, where the wine remains on its lees for about 12 months. In total, the wine spends between 18 to 20 months in barrel, depending on the character and quality of the vintage. On average, slightly more than 4,000 cases of Chateau La Gaffeliere are produced every vintage. There is a second wine, Clos La Gaffeliere. Since 1995, the Malet-Roquefort family also produces Les Hauts de la Gaffeliere, which is sold as both a Saint Emilion and AOC Bordeaux wine through their Maison Malet Roquefort. negociant company.
The Best Vintages of Chateau La Gaffeliere are: 2016, 2015, 2010, 2009 and 2005. I have also enjoyed enjoyed truly older vintages from 1961, 1955 and even earlier. If you find old vintages, if they are in good shape, they could be worth taking a chance on.
Serving and Decanting Chateau La Gaffeliere with Wine, Food, Pairing Tips
Chateau La Gaffeliere is best served at 15.5 degrees Celsius, 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The cool, almost cellar temperature gives the wine more freshness and lift. Young vintages can be decanted for 2 hours, give or take. This allows the wine to soften and open its perfume. Older vintages might need very little decanting, just enough to remove the sediment. Chateau La Gaffeliere is best paired with all types of classic meat dishes, veal, pork, beef, lamb, duck, game, roast chicken, roasted braised and grilled dishes. Chateau La Gaffeliere is also good when matched with Asian dishes, hearty fish courses like tuna, mushrooms and pasta.
Château la Gaffelière Wine Tasting Notes
19 Vintages 50144 Views Sort Vintage Rating
2015 Château La Gaffelière ( St. Émilion Grand Cru)
Softly-textured, with polished, tannins and a spicy core of dark red fruits, flowers, licorice, earth, juicy, fresh plums and minerality.
Apr 29, 2016points - Tasted 1729 Views
2014 Château La Gaffelière ( St. Émilion Grand Cru)
Licorice, earth and dark, fresh plums, this wine is silky, limber and sweet with freshness and finesse in the finish. 91-93 pts
Apr 27, 2015points - Tasted 2162 Views
2013 Château La Gaffelière ( St. Émilion Grand Cru)
Fresh blackberry, boysenberry, licorice and oak kick off the wine. Improved by the soft palate presence, the finish remains in the mocha and cherry mode. From a blend of 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc, the wine is aging in 50% new French oak. 88-90 Pts
Apr 28, 2014points - Tasted 1966 Views
2012 Château La Gaffelière ( St. Émilion Grand Cru)
Blending 80% Merlot with 20% Cabernet Franc, the wine reached 13.8% alcohol. On the palate, the mineral driven, oaky, blackberry filled wine is well made, but it lacks excitement. 89-91 Pts
Apr 26, 2013points - Tasted 3357 Views
2011 Château La Gaffelière ( St. Émilion Grand Cru)
From 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc, the wine reached 13% alcohol. Stone, coffee, black cherry and earthy scents are found in the perfume, while round tannins and a ripe, sweet and long cherry personality are the hallmarks of this wine. 90-93 Pts
Apr 24, 2012points - Tasted 2195 Views
2010 Château La Gaffelière ( St. Émilion Grand Cru)
2010 La Gaffeliere From an assemblage of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc, with its deep ruby color, licorice, smoke, jammy dark berry and coffee aromas is a treat. Rich, polished, tannic, black and red fruits are found in the finish. 93-95 Pts
Apr 22, 2011points - Tasted 2223 Views
2009 Château La Gaffelière ( St. Émilion Grand Cru)
2009 La Gaffeliere opens with limestone, dark berries, spice, and smoke aromatics. Silky in texture, this merlot based wine ends with boysenberries and licorice. 92-94 Pts
Jun 28, 2010points - Tasted 4389 Views
2008 Château La Gaffelière ( St. Émilion Grand Cru)
Juicy plums, spice, minerality, earth and espresso notes are found in this medium bodied Bordeaux wine. Elegant and refined, the wine ends with a blend of soft, polished red and black fruits.
Jan 25, 2011points - Tasted 3176 Views
2006 Château La Gaffelière ( St. Émilion Grand Cru)
Much better on the earthy, red fruit, licorice and espresso bean nose than on the medium bodied, crisp, bright, crunchy, red fruit palate.
Aug 26, 2015points - Tasted 2300 Views
2005 Château La Gaffelière ( St. Émilion Grand Cru)
Tight, but with air and extensive swirling, notes of boysenberry, blackberry and blue fruit, along with licorice, spice and minerals begin to show. Fat,concentrated and filled with juicy ripe, fruit, this plush, powerful wine ends with a blast of spicy, chocolate covered black raspberries.This wine needs at least another 5-7 years before everything comes together.
Aug 22, 2010points - Tasted 6726 Views
2004 Château La Gaffelière ( St. Émilion Grand Cru)
Medium bodied, elegant, open and showing secondary notes of earth, truffle, tobacco, stone, herbs and cherries, this is ready for prime time drinking.
Nov 30, 2014points - Tasted 2503 Views
2003 Château La Gaffelière ( St. Émilion Grand Cru)
At close to full maturity, the wine displays a nose with tobacco, truffle, flowers, fennel and black cherry notes. Medium bodied, soft, round and ready to go, the finish leaves you with plums, spice and cherries. The wine was made from a blend of 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Franc.
Aug 26, 2015points - Tasted 2506 Views
2001 Château La Gaffelière ( St. Émilion Grand Cru)
Beautiful nose of licorice, cassis, tobacco, mint, smoke spice earth. Medium bodied, fully mature, soft and focused on the red berry side of the style range. There is a touch of herb and olive in the end note, along with some dryness in the red cherries. This is at full peak, or slightly past and should be consumed over the next 3-5 years.
Sep 25, 2014points - Tasted 2051 Views
2000 Château La Gaffelière ( St. Émilion Grand Cru)
Fully mature, medium bodied, soft, and fresh, the wine offers a pleasant, black raspberry, earth, smoke and spicy profile. There is no reason to age this much longer.
Dec 10, 2014points - Tasted 3079 Views
1982 Château La Gaffelière ( St. Émilion Grand Cru)
Already starting its slow decline into senility. I know, who isn't? Much more interesting on the completely tertiary nose, with its forest, floor, truffle, thyme, coffee bean and plummy nose, than on the medium bodied, soft, silky, polished, spicy, earthy, plum filled palate. I bet this was a much better wine 10 years ago.
Nov 15, 2016points - Tasted 1641 Views
1964 Château La Gaffelière ( St. Émilion Grand Cru)
Smoky dark cherries, licorice, earth, tobacco and plum characteristics, medium/full bodied, soft, and gently fading, the wine shows the charm of its age, while still providing pleasure. No decanting needed, just pop and pour. This is not a wine for further aging.
Mar 26, 2017points - Tasted 1615 Views
1961 Château La Gaffelière Naudes ( St. Émilion Grand Cru)
Explosive nose of flowers, black raspberry, thyme, sweet cherry, tobacco and fresh herbs. Silky, soft and smooth, with a sweet, fresh, sensuous red berry finish.
Dec 9, 2014points - Tasted 1825 Views
1961 Château La Gaffelière ( St. Émilion Grand Cru)
1961 La Gaffeliere is filled with 5 spice, minerality, smoke, crushed stone, ash, dark berry and plum scents. With silky, fleshy textures, complicated by the patina of age, the wine finishes with coffee, spice, olive, black cherry and cocoa.
Oct 7, 2011points - Tasted 2694 Views
1928 Château La Gaffelière ( St. Émilion Grand Cru)
Complex aromatics made from intense scents of smoke, tobacco, cassis, cedar chest, black cherry, coffee, cigar leaf, spice, earth and truffle. Concentrated with flavor, with sweet patina of age that comes from decades of cellaring, the wine ends with bitter chocolate, sweet, red plums and spice.
Mar 29, 2012points - Tasted 2007 Views