Dynamically and minerally young wine with blackberry and blueberry character. Full body. Firm tannins and a fresh finish. Shows structure and intensity. Focused and classy. Love the finish.
The 2016 La Gaffelière is not a huge Saint-Émilion, but rather a wine of total finesse and class. I loved it. The blend is 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Franc, with the Franc very much in evidence in the perfumed, bright notes it contributes to the wine. Stéphane Derenoncourt and Simon Blanchard consult.
The 2016 La Gaffeliere has a reserved bouquet at first, one that gradually unfurls with quite intense black cherry and sloes, yet there seems to be a welcome restraint, a Saint-Emilion that knows how important it was to not "push" the fruit too much. The palate is medium-bodied with very smooth and rounded tannin. The acidity here is nicely judged, and it feels very cohesive, with dark berry fruit mixed with a little cola and plenty of black pepper towards the satisfying finish. Maybe it would benefit from more on the aftertaste, but otherwise this is an excellent La Gaffelière, a château that is now beginning to deliver the goods.
"The 2016 La Gaffeliere is a wine that I was only able to taste at the UGC in London. Two bottles were tasted, both showing more VA than I would have liked. I’ll refrain from scoring this now and seek to revisit the wine at a later date, since it showed so well from cask."
(Not scored, Vinous)
"This is really decadent and rich with great aromas of earth, spice, frost flowers and fresh mushrooms that follow through to a full body, firm and chewy tannins and a flavorful finish. Very, very serious from here. A blend of 70 per cent merlot and 30 per cent cabernet franc. Try after 2025."
96 Points, JamesSuckling.com
St.-Émilion is the star of Bordeaux’s Right Bank, north of the Dordogne River. The rich red wines produced in St.-Émilion, based on Merlot and Cabernet Franc, are less tannic and generally more fruit-driven in flavour than the Cabernet-based wines of Left Bank. Merlot thrives on the plateaus high above the Dordogne, where the soil is filled with sand and clay, a perfect medium for creating opulent, fruit-forward wines. With a typically savoury character, St.-Émilion wines are sometimes called the “Burgundies of Bordeaux.” These refined reds, with loads of finesse, are elegant companions to beef, chicken, pork and duck.
The wines of St.-Émilion were not included in the famous 1855 classification of Bordeaux, which ranked wines of the Left Bank. In 1955, St.-Émilion published its own classification, based on soil analysis, wine quality and reputation of the properties. Unlike the 1855 classification, St.-Emilion’s system requires properties to continuously prove themselves. The list is revised regularly, most recently in 2012. There are two tiers within the classification, Premier Grand Cru Classé and Grand Cru Classé. There are currently just 18 Premier Grand Cru properties and 64 Grand Cru Classé properties.
The St.-Émilion appellation is home to hundreds of individual producers, enhancing the variety of wines made there. Many of the properties remain small, family-run enterprises, unlike the large châteaux of the Left Bank. The area is also the base of France’s controversial micro-châteaux or garagiste wine movement; these innovative winemakers operate outside the traditional classification system, making very high quality (and very expensive) highly extracted wines.