Canon 2016

St Emilion, Premier Grand Cru Classé B

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Tasting Notes

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.

Score: 97

Neal Martin, Vinous.com Maturity: 2021-2050 01 January 2019

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.

Score: 97 - 99

Neal Martin, Wine Advocate Maturity: 2026-2060 28 April 2017

with lovely depth to match its mid-weight personality. Sweet tobacco, mint, dried flowers and blood orange add freshness to a core of sweet red cherry fruit. A wine of subtlety and class, the 2016 has quite a bit to say, but speaks in hushed tones. The 2016 is bright and focused. It will also need a number of years to come together, as it is quite reticent today. In some tastings, Canon has been a bit austere, while in other moments it has been a bit juicier and forward. But what I have not seen in any of my three tastings so far is that extra dimension of energy that lifts the finest vintages into the realm of the truly exciting.

Score: 94

Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com Maturity: 2026-2056 01 January 2019

The 2016 Canon is a wine of pure sophistication and polish. A rush of red cherry, plum, mint, rose petal and blood orange gives the 2016 its sexy, racy personality. Underlying veins of minerality and salinity provide finesse and persistence. In 2016, Canon is pure class. It doesn't reach the stratospheric level of the 2015, but that is too much to ask in a vintage that presented significant challenges in the vineyard. Tasted four times.

Score: 91 - 94

Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com 25 April 2017

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!

Score: 98

Lisa Perotti-Brown MW, Wine Advocate Maturity: 2022-2055 30 November 2018

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.

Score: 98

Decanter Maturity: 2027-2050 21 April 2017

Beautifully ripe and fragrant black plums, damson, with cocoa notes. Densely packed fruit but very moreish with invigorating acidity and impressive structure. Sumptuous and fresh at the same time. Delicious.

Score: 96 - 98

Albany Vintners 19 April 2017

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.

Score: 18 - 19

Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com Maturity: 2025-2048 13 April 2017

Vivacious and integrated already, with plum, raspberry and cassis notes matched by a bright floral hint and a flash of rooibos tea. Refined minerality through the finish. Ample depth, but it is defined by its purity and drive.

Score: 95 - 98

James Molesworth, Wine Spectator 06 April 2017

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.

Score: 96 - 97

James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com 24 March 2017