Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A Morning at Château Canon La Gaffeliere in Saint Emilion with Owner Count Stefan von Neipperg, Bordeaux

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller with Count Stefan von Neipperg in St. Emilion at Château Canon La Gaffelière

One of the highlights of a recent tour of Bordeaux was a morning with Count Stefan von Neipperg in St. Emilion at Château Canon La Gaffelière. Count Stefan was in a very good mood this morning and had plenty of reasons to be so: Château Canon La Gaffelière and La Mondotte were promoted to the extremely closed circle of Premiers Grand Crus Classés in the new St. Emilion classification on that day.

See for the past year' s and this year's upcoming tours:
Bordeaux Trip September 2012, France
Ombiasy Wine Tours: Bordeaux Trip Coming up in September 2013 

Picture: The Grand Vin

The von Neipperg family not only owns these two estates in France, but also owns/co-owns 6 other estates as well as a property in Bulgaria. Furthermore, in Germany, the brother of Count Stefan von Neipperg runs the family winery in Wuerttemberg.

See more:
The Wine Empire of the von Neipperg Family in France, Bulgaria and Germany

Count Stefan von Neipperg

Stephan Graf von Neipperg was borne at the family estate in Schwaigern. As a young man, he had no intention of getting involved in wine. He studied politics and business administration in Paris. Later, after having decided to change course, he also studied winemaking in Montpelier.

Pictures: Château Canon La Gaffelière

In 1983, Stephan Graf von Neipperg Neipperg moved with his German wife Sigweis to St. Emilion and at Château Canon La Gaffelière. At that point, the French holdings of the von Neipperg family consisted of the four estates his father had bought in 1971. Since then Stephan Graf von Neipperg he expanded the family’s French holdings further and also entered into a joint venture in Bulgaria. He has become one of the Right Bank's most successful winemakers.

Pictures: Annette Schiller, Ombiasy Wine Tours, with Count Stefan von Neipperg in St. Emilion at Château Canon La Gaffelière

For more on Annette Schiller's upcoming wine tours to Bordeaux and Germany, see:
Ombiasy Wine Tours: Wine and Culture Tour to Germany Coming up in August 2013
Ombiasy Wine Tours: Bordeaux Trip Coming up in September 2013 
Bordeaux Trip September 2012, France

On that very successful route, Stephan Graf von Neipperg linked his fortunes to Stéphane Derenoncourt, a Normandy millworker's son who had never seen a grapevine before hitchhiking to Bordeaux in 1982, but taught himself enology and has since confounded traditionalists with his winemaking.

Pictures: In the Cellar with Stephan Graf von Neipperg and Patrick Honnef, Managing Director, Château d'Aiguilhe

In 1988, he instituted a green harvest, dropping fruit in June to gain depth and ripeness in September. He stopped using chemical fertilizers and insecticides in 1993 as he edged toward a more biodynamic approach. "Just like 70 years ago," he says. "The insects eat each other." He harvested later than his neighbors and aged his cuvées entirely in new oak.

Pictures: Count Stefan von Neipperg's wife Sigweis and Annette Schiller

Château Canon La Gaffelière

AOC Saint-Émilion Grand Cru
Premier Grand Cru Classé

Château Canon La Gaffelière is located on the outskirts of the medieval town of Saint-Emilion, at the southern foot of the slope. The 19.5 hectare vineyard has a complex, outstanding terroir of clay-limestone and clay-sand soil. The topsoil is primarily sandy, increasingly so as one moves away from the slope. The vines, an average of 45 years old, are deeply rooted in the soil and absorb all the goodness in the terroir. They are mostly replaced individually rather than plot by plot (which maintains the average age). The last major replanting dates back to 1986.

Pictures: In the Cellar

The mixture of grape varities cultivated on the wine estate (55% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon) is rather untypical in comparison to the rest of the appellation. This identity, strongly influenced by Cabernet, gives the Canon La Gaffelière wines an outright complex character.

The appreciation of the Château Canon La Gaffelière in the classification of the Saint-Emilion appellation as Premier Grand Cru Classé was not really surprising, yet an overdue acknowledgement for Mr. Neipperg. Château Canon La Gaffelière has been being said by the market for two decades to be of Premier Grand Cru Classé quality; now the estate has gained the official status of its terroir’s intrinsic qualities and of the viticultural philosophy that has been being applied there for 25 years.

The Château Canon La Gaffelière estate, as well as La Mondotte, has begun with the 2011 vintage to change to ecological viticulture.

Picture: Ready for Delivery

Average Prices According to Wine Searcher (in US$)

2011 56
2010 106
2009 116
2008 74
2007 74
2006 91
2005 121
2004 83
2002 62

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Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux (UGCB) on North America Tour in Washington DC - Schiller’s Favorites

The Saint Emilion 2012–2022 Classification, Bordeaux

Bordeaux Wines and their Classifications: The Basics

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A Glass of Bordeaux – What Else? – With Wine Journalist Panos Kakaviatos

Bordeaux Trip September 2012, France

Tour de France de Vin: 6 Days, 7 Regions, 3500 km - In 6 Days through 7 Wine Regions of France

The Wine Empire of the von Neipperg Family in France, Bulgaria and Germany

Saint Emilion Wines and their Classification, Bordeaux, France

Owner Jean-Bernard Grenié and Wine Journalist Panos Kakaviatos Presented the Wines of Chateau Angélus and Chateau Daugay at Black Salt Restaurant in Washington DC, USA

An Afternoon with François Mitjavile at his Tertre Rôtebeouf - A Saint Emilion Cult Wine Producer

Drinking the Wines of Stephane Derenoncourt at Chateau Canon la Gaffeliere in St. Emilion, Bordeaux, and at Boxwood Vineyard in Virginia, USA

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