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2006 Ch. Canon, St Emilion
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Located in the centre of the St.Emilion appellation, to the south-west of St-Emilion town, Canon has 18 hectares of vineyards split between the limestone plateau and the clay/loam côtes. They are planted with 55% Merlot and 45% Cabernet Franc. Vinification is traditional: up to 20 days in temperature-controlled wooden vats followed by 18 months' maturation in oak barrels (70% new).
This wine needs cellaring to show at its best and mature Canon reeks of the soft, buttery Merlot grape as only the very top St-Emilions and Pomerols can. It is classified as a 1er Grand Cru Classé (B).
The most widely planted grape in Bordeaux and a grape that has been on a relentless expansion drive throughout the world in the last decade. Merlot is adaptable to most soils and is relatively simple to cultivate. It is a vigorous naturally high yielding grape that requires savage pruning - over-cropped Merlot-based wines are dilute and bland. It is also vital to pick at optimum ripeness as Merlot can quickly lose its varietal characteristics if harvested overripe.
In St.Emilion and Pomerol it withstands the moist clay rich soils far better than Cabernet grapes, and at it best produces opulently rich, plummy clarets with succulent fruitcake-like nuances. Le Pin, Pétrus and Clinet are examples of hedonistically rich Merlot wines at their very best. It also plays a key supporting role in filling out the middle palate of the Cabernet-dominated wines of the Médoc and Graves.