This property's current high reputation dates from 1985, when it was purchased by its current owner, Stephan von Niepperg, a trained viticulturist whose family has eight centuries of winemaking experience.
Much had to be done to the vineyard, which had been devastated by the 1956 frosts and then badly managed to overproduce, and which also doesn't boast an especially remarkable location. Rather than sitting atop the limestone plateau, like many of the premier cru properties, the vines are instead planted towards the foot of a slope to the south of the village of Saint-Emilion, on clay-limestone and clay-sand soils.
Fortunately, Stephan has a wealth of experience, owning both La Mondotte and Clos de l'Oratoire in Saint-Emilion, the leading Castillon property, d'Aiguilhe and a quarter share of Guiraud in Sauternes. His years of experience and respect for the terroir produced a turnaround which had already made itself felt in the nineties, and a superb 2001 showed the owner that he had achieved his aim of making wines worthy of the vineyards' potential.
Canon la Gaffelière is a blend of 55% merlot, 40% cabernet franc and 5% cabernet sauvignon, which ages in oak - 80-100% of it new - for 20 months. The result is a full, rich-flavoured, generous Saint-Emilion which deserves to be kept for between eight and 25 years.