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Château Canon: The Chanel Era

Château Canon: The Chanel Era

It is at the point in the story of Château Canon that the Wertheimer family, of Chanel, come on the scene. They acquired the estate in 1996, only two years after acquiring Château Rauzan-Ségla. Having already proved his worth as manager at Château Latour for ten years, and then as the driving force behind the revitalisation of Château Rauzan-Ségla, John Kolasa was parachuted in to lead the rescue of Château Canon. The investment by Chanel was considerable; the most significant problem negating the quality of the wine was the state of the disease-ridden vineyard. It required replanting in its entirety, but because of appellation regulations this had to be undertaken in stages, and this work is still ongoing today.

Such extensive replanting reduces the supply of fruit of course, as it will be at least three years before newly established vines bear any grapes, and only a certain percentage of young vine fruit is permitted in the wine. The solution was the acquisition of the nearby Curé-Bon vineyard in 2000, with INAO approval for the incorporation of its 3.5 hectares into Château Canon (from that vintage onwards), a purchase which ensures a continued supply of fruit as the diseased vineyards are replanted. More recently, in 2011, neighbouring Château Matras was acquired at a cost of €8 million, adding another 12 hectares to the mix. As is often the case the sale of this property was forced by France’s laws of inheritance; coming into the possession of three sisters of whom one, Véronique Gaboriaud-Bernard, had run the property for much of her life. Sadly she could not raise the money needed to buy out her two siblings who wanted to sell, and the estate was lost. Ultimately, once the vineyards of Château Canon are mature, the Matras vineyards are likely to be channelled into the second wine.

Château Canon

Other investments by Chanel included gutting the cellars in order to rid Château Canon of its reputation for tainted wines, a project completed before the 1997 vintage, and the subsequent installation of a gravity feed system and new stainless steel fermentation vessels.

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