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Focus on a player : John Kolasa

John KolasaJohn Kolasa
Château Canon

Photos Jean-Barnard Nadeau – Vidéo Arnaud Fleuri
Traduction Maxine Colas

John Kolasa
John KolasaJohn KOLASA
I was born in Scotland in 1949 and arrived in Bordeaux in 1971, having started my career teaching French and Design. I was in love with France and decided that Bordeaux would be a good place to live!
I was lucky that merchants William Bolter (English) and Steven Schneider (American) had faith in me. So I began working with them on the Bordeaux quayside, meanwhile learning about oenology for 4 years.

ThenI I’ve worked for ten years for the Janoueix family, in their various properties in Saint-Emilion and Pomerol. In 1987, Jean Paul Gardere entrusted me with the position of sales manager at Château Latour. In 1994, the Chanel company acquired Château Rauzan-Ségla and put me in charge of rebuilding the reputation of this estate which had been considered one of the best second growths in the nineteenth century. This mission was a marvelous opportunity for me after 22 years of passionate dedication to Bordeaux fine wines….

Chanel purchased Château Canon, First Classified growth of Saint-Emilion, in 1996. Shortly afterwards, a massive renovation programme was undertaken in order to reveal the finesse and elegance of this ‘terroir’ and to bring this Château back to the center stage.

John KolasaChâteau Canon
Château Canon’s 22 hectare vineyard is located on the limestone plateau of Saint-Emilion.

In 1760 the frigate lieutenant and pirate, Jacques Kanon, acquired the Domaine Saint Martin with the substantial profits he had made from raids ordered by Louis XV on English ships. The successive work done on the estate over the years revealed the potential of Château Canon’s ‘terroir’ and enhanced its reputation.

In 1996, Chanel bought the estate and began major renovation work with the aim to bringing it back to its former glory : re-planting more than half the vineyard, installing a new sorting table, putting in new vats, extending the vat room,.. All this investment is aimed at revealing the elegance of Château Canon’s ‘terroir’.

Today, the character and complexity of the wines can once again be appreciated. The velvety and silky style of Château Canon can be put down to the magic of the soils and grape varieties working together. Merlot and Cabernet Franc benefit from an ideal terroir which favours the full expression of their characteristics. The subtle combination of ‘starfish’ limestone covered by a thin layer of clay lends freshness and finesse to the wines.

2009, a key vintage in the re-birth of the estate

After a magnificent summer, the grapes were harvested under ideal conditions from the 23rd of September until the 5th of October 2009.

Warm days where followed by cool nights, which favoured a natural concentration of the berries. The perfectly healthy state of the grapes made the selection work easy for our team of pickers.

2009 also marks a key stage in the renovation and re-birth of the estate. The reconstruction work in the vineyard, which began after 1996, when the Wertheimer family (Chanel) purchased the property, continues to bear fruit : the plots of Merlot which were re-planted in 1998 are already very promising and have been included in the composition of the ‘Grand Vin’ (premium wine) this year!

Finally, the vatroom’s extension has made it easier for us to be more precise during the vinifcation process : the 6 new stainless steel, small volume vats, which were added at the beginning of the Summer, have enabled us to follow our plot-by-plot management in more detail, and to preserve the rich and fresh quality of this 2009 vintage.

Robert Parker : « This is the best Canon since 1982 » – James Suckling : « This reminds me in beauty and elegance of the great Canons from the 1960s and 1950s, such as 1964, 1959 and 1955. Need I say more?  » – James Lawther : « Has to be the best Canon for a number of years. » – Jacques Dupont : « The best Canon in a long while. »

John Kolasa



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