DFWE 2011: Chateau Canon Masterclass

Lovers of elegance in Bordeaux found their pleasure tasting 10 vintages of Chateau Canon, one of only 15 Premier Grand Cru Classes B from St Emilion known especially for its elegance.

dfwe, dfwe 2011

Most participants agreed that the common element in Canon was its fresh minerality, coming from 22 hectares of cold limestone on the famous St Emilion plateau. "A body building woman is not the greatest thing to look at," director John Kolasa quipped.

Kolasa told participants that global warming is a cause for concern in St Emilion, because Merlot, the dominant variety there, has been reaching very high degrees of alcohol in recent vintages. He said that he uses less new oak in such vintages, to avoid extracting too much oak tannin, and he tends to pick earlier than some neighbours, to retain greater freshness in the wines.

Kolasa found the 2009 and especially the 2003 to be "atypical", because of low acidities. One wine, the 2005, stood out as "completely made by nature," Kolasa said. “You had to be a fool to make a bad wine in 2005."

Considered particularly successful in the Right Bank, the 2001 was given high praise by Kolasa, who favoured it over the 2000 for its superior elegance. “The 2000 seems to have some rugged tannins,” he said.

He encouraged participants to seek out the 2002 as an underrated vintage, but praised the 2004 as the most drinkable today: "It makes you want to go out and get some food.”

Also in the audience was veteran wine taster Stephen Spurrier, who particularly enjoyed the 2006 for its potential and balance, with the 2004 close behind.

Kolasa expressed concerns about Bordeaux pricing in the last few months: many wines are "30% cheaper" than they were just a few months ago in the Asian market, he said.

"It is not really respectful to a punter if a wine cost £1,200 per case, but later dropped to £800. He was concerned about relying too much on China, inviting master class participants to visit the chateau for lunch. “You are all ambassadors now... I need you; I need people who appreciate the wine.”

Panos Kakaviatos