Owner: Wertheimer Family (owners of luxury brand Chanel)
Appellation: Saint Emilion
Classification: Premier Grand Cru Classe B
Vineyard area: 34 hectares
Average annual production: 7,500 cases (Grand vin Chateau Canon), 6,000 cases (Croix Canon)
Standard blend: 72% Merlot / 28% Cabernet Franc (2015)
Second wine: Croix Canon (known as Clos Canon until 2011)
Canon started out as part of the Clos St Martin vineyard in the eighteenth century. It was purchased in 1720 by Jacques Kanon who expanded the vineyard and built the original chateau. Kanon sold the estate in 1770 to Raymond Fontemoing, a leading Libournais negociant who improved and established the wine. In 1853 the estate was given the name Chateau Canon. It was sold by the Fontemoing family in 1857.
In 1919 the property was purchased by Gabriel Supau as a gift for his daughter and her husband Andre Fournier. The Fournier family invested in modernising the estate and vineyard. It remained under their ownership until 1996 when the Wertheimer Family (owners of luxury brand Chanel) bought the property.
Chateau Canon was managed by John Kolasa until 2015 and his team are responsible for much of the recent progress in wine production. In 2014, Nicolas Audebert – former winemaker at Cheval des Andes (an LVMH owned property in Argentina) – was hired to replace John Kolasa on retirement.
There is some contention over the origin of the Chateau Canon name. One theory is that “Canon” is the phonetic spelling of Jacques Kanon’s surname. The Fontemoing family, however, owned a second property in Fronsac named Chateau Canon. There is also speculation that the name was adopted by the Fontemoing’s to sell both wines under one brand name.
Canon did not receive significant attention until the release of the highly rated 2015 vintage. Neal Martin awarded the wine 98-100 points and James Suckling gave it a straight 100 points. It is the first Canon vintage to achieve a perfect score. Suckling said it was the greatest red ever produced by the chateau, adding that it was “even better than the great wines of the 1950s and 1960s.” Martin said that after a bad run of vintages in the 1990s, the 2015 “marks the opening of a new chapter for the revitalized estate”. He sees Canon as a potential Premier Grand Cru Classe A wine.
The 2015 sold through on release and is now offered at a Market Price of £1,274 per 12×75, up 70% on its original UK merchant offer price. Liv-ex members ranked it as their joint third favourite ‘value’ wine in the Liv-ex Bordeaux 2015 Members’ Survey.
The last ten physical vintages have risen by 20.3% on average over the last 12 months and buyers have tended to focus on value. The 90-point 2007 has risen the most over the period, up 56.7%. It was the cheapest physical vintage available one year ago, 16% less than its identically scored 90-point 2008 sibling. The 94-point 2009 vintage is the worst performing physical vintage, having fallen 1.2% over the past year. It was the most expensive vintage in August 2015.
High scoring vintages
Before the release of the 2015 vintage, the 1959 had received the highest score from the Wine Advocate. It was rated 95 points by Robert Parker who said the wine had “superb richness” and was “a magnificent example of Canon”. The 2011 and 2009 are the joint third highest scoring physical vintages, while the 2014 – still in barrel – was awarded a range of 93-95 points by Neal Martin. He said it was an “outstanding” example of the Bordeaux 2014 vintage with a “pure and ‘classic’ finish.” Its Market Price is £497.