2011 Canon La Gaffeliere Tasting Notes, Interview with Stephan Neipperg


2011 Canon La Gaffeliere – From 60% Merlot, 32% Cabernet Franc, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2011 Canon La Gaffeliere is aged in 80% new oak, the wine reached 13.4% alcohol. Espresso, plum, floral, truffle, licorice and chocolate mint are found in the aromas. On the palate, the 2011 Canon La Gaffeliere is fresh, sweet, round and lush. 92-93 Pts

2011 La Mondotte comes from a 4.5-hectare vineyard that realized yields of only18 hectoliters per hectare. The wine reached 13.9% alcohol and will aged in 100% new oak. This blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc has intense minerality, smoky black raspberry, truffle, oak, floral, cocoa and fresh black cherry aromatics. This is a concentrated, balanced, polished and forward vintage for La Mondotte. 93-95 Pts

2011 Clos de l’Oratoire From 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc, the wine will be aged in 60% new oak. Black raspberry, cocoa and earthy aromas open to a fresh, black cherry and chocolate, round textured, sweet wine. 90-92 Pts

Jeff Leve What was the difficult part of the 2011 growing season in St. Emilion?

Stephan von Neipperg “The early work in the vineyards and the sorting took the most effort.  We needed to do it on a plot-by-plot basis for all our wines.”

Jeff Leve What did you do earlier in the 2011 Bordeaux growing season at Canon La Gaffeliere?

Stephan von Neipperg “We were very busy. We removed side shoots, but not the leaves. We removed the leaves in September. Leaving the leaves helped protect the fruit from the sunburn that took place at the end of June.”

Jeff Leve You avoided the sunburn, but what about the drought?

Stephan von Neipperg “Because our roots are deep, 7-8 meters, there is ample moisture for the vines to develop.”

Jeff Leve I’d like to ask you about a different property for a moment, La Mondotte. Do you practice Biodynamic farming at La Mondotte?

 Stephan von Neipperg “For all our properties it’s the same. We strive for healthy soils. The most important thing you can do is create a healthy, living vineyard.”

Jeff Leve What are you doing to accomplish that?

Stephan von Neipperg “We practice sustainable agriculture. We never use any chemicals, herbicides or insecticides of any kind.”

Jeff Leve “You’re known at La Mondotte for producing wine with some of the lowest yields in the St. Emilion appellation. What did you end up with for the 2011 vintage?”

Stephan von Neipperg “We only got 18 hectoliters per hectare at La Mondotte.  It was different at our other estates.  At Canon La Gaffeliere we are at 33 hectoliters per hectare and at Clos l’Oratoire, it was 42 hectoliters per hectare.”

Jeff Leve What is the terroir like at La Mondotte?

 Stephan von Neipperg “We have old vines planted on a clay and limestone plateau. Because the vines are old, with the type of limestone we have, they are able to burrow deep into the soil, which gives the wine the  intense minerality sensation you noticed. You can see how deep the roots go when you’re in the quarries.”

Underground in the limestone caves of La Mondotte

Jeff Leve What techniques did you employ during the vinification of your 2011 Bordeaux wines?

Stephan von Neipperg “We avoided over-extraction to obtain sweet fruit and as much ripe tannins as possible. For 2 – 3 days, we punch down two or three times a day at higher 2 – 3 times temperatures. Next, during fermentation, we pump over 3 x 4 times a day to make sure the cap is moist. This continues for 25 – 30 days. Each wine also receives a different level of oak treatment.  Clos l’Oratoire is aged in 60% new oak, Canon La Gaffeliere is aged in 80% new oak and La Mondotte is aged in 100% new oak. ”

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