Greetings from Néac, where it's been an incredibly warm and sunny for the last few weeks, and up to 41 degrees this weekend.. The major critics have released their tasting notes and scores on our 2021s, and we are extremely pleased with the results!
As you are most likely aware, it was an extremely difficult year. Mother Nature threw the book at the whole of France, vines, fruit trees.
Early flowering, and a mid April frosts lasting three nights, down to minus 4, reduced potential quantity by around 10%, but also made the vines little less hardy & more prone to disease.
This was followed by one of the wettest and coldest June’s on record creating optimal conditions for rot & mildew to enter and devastate the vineyard, which by a relatively cool July was littered with clusters of dried out bunches of grapes, of course not included in the harvest. Things were somewhat saved by a warmer August & a very warm September, but quantities were down by over 50% for us, and we fared better than most, some producers apparently not even bothering to harvest and others down by 70-90% on a regular year. We finally harvested at the beginning of October. Tough times indeed, and especially for our first full vintage in charge.
2021- The Wines
The wines however are fascinating, especially in the context of the three pervious vintages. Cool climate vintages look to be the new ‘millesimes d’exception’, and on the back of the warm, concentrated and opulent 18/19/20s, I can’t see how any winelover would want to leave this vintage out of their cellars, to compare and contrast just how the climatic conditions can influence the feel and flavour of their favorite wines. They have a lovely mineral freshness and precision, wonderful notes of blueberry and red fruits, a black tea infused freshness, with a splendid tingling length. We’ll are selling ‘en primeur’ on our website, and to some trade clients, but if you are not yet familiar with our wines, we’d suggest you start with some of the older vintages that we have available.
Otherwise, 2022 continues to look in good health, May was extremely warm with just enough water, and June looks as though it’s continuing in the same vein. The grape bunches are precocious, very large, and things are on track, and hopefully we'll get some more rain in the coming days…
2021 Château Canon Chaigneau
‘Marqué par des notes de mûres, d’iris et de fèves de cacao, le bouquet de Canon Chaigneau est invitant. De caractère élancé en bouche, le vin me semble déjà bien accessible. Ses tannins lui offrent de la densité et la structure acide soutient l’expression fruitée en finale. Un vin expressif qui mérite un peu d’épanouissement.’ Yves Beck 90-91
‘Quite floral in nature, the wine is fresh, easy drinking and plummy, with loads of sweet, ripe, fruity, chocolate and cherry overtones. Drink from 2023-2029’ Jeff Leve, 90
‘Another wine that has outstanding potential is the 2021 Château Canon Chaigneau, a blend of 93% Merlot and the rest Cabernet Franc and Malbec. Pulled from just 40% of the production and resting in 72% new barrels, it has a pretty bouquet of mulberries, spring flowers, and lavender. Medium-bodied and fruit-forward on the palate, it's balanced, has ripe tannins, and a great finish.’ Jeb Dunnuck, 88-90
'We have the same sense of purity and focussed precision, though the wood tannins bring just the slightest hint of dryness to the otherwise impressive, long and tapering finish. The ferrous minerality that is very evident in the Beton cuvee is more restrained and better incorporated here, allowing the crunchy red berry and stone fruit to take the spotlight. This should age graciously.' Colin Hay, 89-91. (featured in his article 'Where to find value')
2021 Cuve 8a
‘The 2021 Canon Chaigneau Cuve 8a was cropped at just 8hL/ha and aged in tank rather than wood. It has a well-defined bouquet of blackberry and tertiary scents and a touch of iris petal. The medium-bodied palate offers marine-influenced, crunchy black fruit and gentle grip on the finely proportioned finish. This Lalande-de-Pomerol is well worth seeking out.’ Neal Martin, 90-92
‘The 2021 Château Canon Chaigneau Cuve 8A, which is made by the former maître de chai of Cheval Blanc, Thierry Garnaud, is a forward, pretty, incredibly attractive Lalande de Pomerol offering lots of red fruits, some floral, spicy nuances, medium-bodied richness, and wonderful purity, as well as a great finish. It has outstanding potential. This cuvée, which was formerly known as Beton, sees no wood. The blend is 95% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc.’ Jeb Dunnuck, 89-91