2023 Château La Gaffelière, St Emilion, Bordeaux

2023 Château La Gaffelière, St Emilion, Bordeaux

Product: 20238124315
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2023 Château La Gaffelière, St Emilion, Bordeaux

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Description

The 500cl jeroboam case is available exclusively at Berry Bros. & Rudd.

Blend: 58% Merlot; 42% Cabernet Franc. 

This is another bull’s-eye from La Gaffelière. This year, 6% of the harvest is aged in new 500-litre barrels (44% in new, traditional Bordeaux barriques, the rest in second fill and 2% amphorae). This reduces the impact of oxygen and preserves freshness, but it also makes the wine harder for youth to read. Sitting at the bottom of the limestone slope below Ausone, La Gaffelière’s charm shows chalky freshness from the rock with the lower location's silky textures. The palate is like velour yet threaded with a whisper of gritty minerality. It is lovely and really very fine indeed, again. 

Drink 2029 - 2050

Our score: 18/20

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Critics reviews

Jane Anson94/100

Love the depth and the vibrant fruit character here, and the vivid reflections to the colour. Chalky, fresh, extremely vibrant, real mineral pumice stone textire, and a clear reminder of its limestone soils. Aged in barrels and large oak casks. Tasted twice. Now withdrawn from the St Emilion classification. Alexandre de Malet-Roquefort owner.

Drink 2030 - 2048

Jane Anson, Inside Bordeaux (April 2024)

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Neal Martin, Vinous94-96/100

The 2023 La Gaffelière is very pure and floral on the nose, with black cherries intermingling with violet and iris flower scents. The new oak is neatly integrated here. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannins and layers of lightly spiced black fruit. Cedar and graphite furnish the poised but persistent finish. This is another in a succession of impressive wines from this estate that just oozes sensuality. Superb.

Drink 2029 - 2055

Neal Martin, Vinous.com (April 2024)

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Antonio Galloni, Vinous93-96/100

The 2023 La Gaffelière is a dense, powerful wine. As has been the case since 2018, La Gaffelière has a strong Franc component—40% in 2023. Usually, the aromatics are quite lifted, but this wine is rather dense. Nothing in particular stands out, as all the elements are impeccably balanced. This will need time to be at its best, but it shows promise. The introduction of 500-litre barrels and a reduction of new oak closes the wine a bit, but there's a ton of raw energy here and a good bit of tannin, too.

Drink 2030 - 2048

Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com (April 2024)

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Jancis Robinson MW16.5+/20

58% Merlot, 42% Cabernet Franc. Cask sample.

Elegant and floral. Terroir-driven on the palate. Tight and firmly structured. It's a touch reticent and austere at the moment but with clear potential. Worth waiting.

Drink 2030 - 2042

James Lawther MW, JancisRobinson.com (May 2024)

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James Suckling94-95/100

The centre palate reflects excellent terroir, with blackberry, black olive and walnut aromas and flavours—a tight centre palate with firm but creamy tannins and a flavourful, classy finish.

James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com (May 2024)

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Decanter95/100

A deep nose, floral, so perfumed, lots of ripe black bramble fruit. Concentrated and so full, there’s density on the palatethere’s so much ripe red fruit that fills the mouth with a soft grip to the tannins that support the fruit but doesn't overwhelm. This feels instantly classy, layered and complex with a gentle confidence. It’s round and slightly fleshy, although feels sculpted and muscular with volume, a lovely juiciness and a touch of dark chocolate, cedar and liquorice on the finish. Sophisticated.

Drink 2029 - 2050

Georgina Hindle, Decanter.com (April 2024)

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Jeb Dunnuck94-97/100

One of the stars of the vintage, the 2023 Château La Gaffelière, checks in as 60% Merlot and 40% Cabernet Franc, resting in 50% new barrels. Cassis, smoked black fruits, graphite, and crushed stone all define the aromatics, and it hits the palate with medium to full-bodied richness, a pure, layered, concentrated mouthfeel, plenty of tannins, and a great finish. It has a lot of oak but more than enough fruit and texture. It’s serious stuff.

Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com (May 2024)

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About this WINE

Chateau La Gaffeliere

Chateau La Gaffeliere

Château La Gaffelière is owned by Léo de Malet Roquefort, and the 22 hectare property produces on average 10,000 cases per year. Located in the centre of the St. Emilion appellation, due south of St. Emilion town, the property shares a similar climate to that enjoyed by both St.Emilion and Pomerol: more continental than the maritime Médoc, with generally more spring rainfall, though less in summer and winter.

La Gaffeliere's vineyards (Cabernet Sauvignon 5%, Merlot 65%, Cabernet Franc 30%) lie on a sloped sandy/clay-limestone topsoil and limestone subsoil (a mix of Côtes and Pieds de Côtes). Fermentation takes place in stainless steel followed by extended wood maturation, with 33% of the barells being renewed annually.

La Gaffeliere is classified as a 1er grand cru classé(B).

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St Émilion

St Émilion

St Émilion is one of Bordeaux's largest producing appellations, producing more wine than Listrac, Moulis, St Estèphe, Pauillac, St Julien and Margaux put together. St Emilion has been producing wine for longer than the Médoc but its lack of accessibility to Bordeaux's port and market-restricted exports to mainland Europe meant the region initially did not enjoy the commercial success that funded the great châteaux of the Left Bank. 

St Émilion itself is the prettiest of Bordeaux's wine towns, perched on top of the steep limestone slopes upon which many of the region's finest vineyards are situated. However, more than half of the appellation's vineyards lie on the plain between the town and the Dordogne River on sandy, alluvial soils with a sprinkling of gravel. 

Further diversity is added by a small, complex gravel bed to the north-east of the region on the border with Pomerol.  Atypically for St Émilion, this allows Cabernet Franc and, to a lesser extent, Cabernet Sauvignon to prosper and defines the personality of the great wines such as Ch. Cheval Blanc.  

In the early 1990s there was an explosion of experimentation and evolution, leading to the rise of the garagistes, producers of deeply-concentrated wines made in very small quantities and offered at high prices.  The appellation is also surrounded by four satellite appellations, Montagne, Lussac, Puisseguin and St. Georges, which enjoy a family similarity but not the complexity of the best wines.

St Émilion was first officially classified in 1954, and is the most meritocratic classification system in Bordeaux, as it is regularly amended. The most recent revision of the classification was in 2012

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Merlot/Cabernet Franc

Merlot/Cabernet Franc

Merlot and Cabernet Franc are grape varieties commonly used in Bordeaux-style blends, particularly in the Bordeaux region of France. When these two grapes are blended, they can create a wine that combines the best characteristics of each variety.

Merlot is known for its smoothness, soft tannins, and ripe fruit flavours. It often contributes black cherry, plum, and chocolate flavours to the blend. The grapes are relatively easy to grow and ripen earlier than other Bordeaux varieties, making them versatile for blending.

Cabernet Franc, on the other hand, adds structure, depth, and complexity to the blend. It typically brings aromas of red fruits such as raspberry and strawberry, along with herbal notes like bell pepper and tobacco. These grapes have thinner skins and can be more challenging to cultivate, requiring specific growing conditions to reach their full potential.

When Merlot and Cabernet Franc are combined, the result is a well-balanced wine with various flavours and aromas. The blend often exhibits a Bordeaux wine's medium to full body, along with a smooth texture and moderate tannins. The specific flavour profile can vary depending on the proportions of each grape in the blend and the terroir and winemaking techniques employed.

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