Château Canon-la-Gaffelière: Count Stephan von Neipperg

This remained the state of play until the arrival of the next generation, Count Stephan von Neipperg. Although the family acquired a domaine in a very good state, they have not shied away from pushing for perfection, and it is largely Stephan who has been credited with the further transformation of the domaine. This he did after studying agronomy at Montpellier, foregoing a potentially fine diplomatic career in order to do so. He came to Château Canon-la-Gaffelière in 1983, taking control of the domaine, replacing the outgoing Michel Boutet. In doing so he also settled at the domaine, and he has lived there ever since. This, I think, makes a big difference when it comes to wine; an absentee proprietor can never have the same impact on a domaine as one who lives on the property. Writing of Stephan’s commitment to the domaine in St Emilion (Jacques Legrand SA, 1988), Bernard Ginestet had this to say

“When Stephan de Neipperg speaks of the vineyard (in French, vignoble) he makes two words of it, saying ‘vigne noble’, that is ‘noble vine’, and you can feel all the respect that this young man in his thirties has for his family heritage in the world of wine…..Today, they say in the area that he has become more Saint-Emilion-like than all the rest”.

Château Canon-la-Gaffelière

What Count Stephan von Neipperg inherited was a 19.5-hectare vineyard filled with vines which were at the time 30-years old on average.

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