Wine Spectator 95 points - This is well-cloaked for now in roasted vanilla and espresso notes, but there’s ample, fleshy fig sauce and mulled blackberry fruit in reserve. The finish sports a long melted licorice snap feel. Dense, but beautifully polished and pure. For the cellar. Best from 2015 through 2030.—J.M.
Rated #23 in Wine Spectator’s 2012 Top 100
Wine Advocate 94 points - Proprietor Stephan von Neipperg has made so many terrific wines at this estate since the late 1980s, it’s hard to say that the 2009 is going to turn out to be the finest, but did it show well on the four separate times I tasted it! A final blend of 55% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Franc, and a whopping 10% Cabernet Sauvignon (somewhat unusual for this area of St.-Emilion), the natural alcohol was 14%. Stephane Derenoncourt is the long-time wine consultant at all of Stephan von Neipperg’s estates. Yields were shockingly low here, 28 hectoliters per hectare, and the wine is a beauty of both elegance and power. Dark ruby/purple, with notes of incense, sweet cedar, black cherry jam, cassis, and blackberry as well as licorice and subtle smoke, this wine has superb texture, a full-bodied mouthfeel, stunning concentration, and not a hard edge to be found. It is one of those remarkable 2009s with amazing power and density, but also tremendous finesse, precision, and freshness, an anomaly in itself. This wine should drink well for 15-20 years, based on the fact that the 1990, a vintage far lower in acidity and not nearly as concentrated, is still at the top of its game. Bravo! (Tasted four times.)
#23 – Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2012
>97 PTS – James Suckling
"Porcini mushrooms, with dark and ripe fruits. Turns to licorice and violets. Full body, with round and soft tannins and a long delicious finish. The texture is gorgeous. So much going on in the glass. Try after 2018"
96 PTS – Wine Spectator
"This is well-cloaked for now in roasted vanilla and espresso notes, but there’s ample, fleshy fig sauce and mulled blackberry fruit in reserve. The finish sports a long melted licorice snap feel. Dense, but beautifully polished and pure. For the cellar. Best from 2015 through 2030."
95 PTS – The Wine Advocate
"An intriguing blend of nearly 50% Merlot, a whopping 35% Cabernet Franc and the rest Cabernet Sauvignon (a somewhat unusual combination for this region), the 2009 reminds me of the 1990. A big, inky/purple-tinged wine with just over 14% natural alcohol, it exhibits exotic, flamboyant aromas of espresso roast, incense, sweet black cherries, black currants, licorice, asphalt, barbecue smoke, Christmas fruitcake and herbs. Full-bodied with silky tannins, luscious fruit, a hedonistic yet complex personality, low acidity, noticeable tannin and enviable purity, this head-turning beauty can be enjoyed over the next 15-20 years."
95 PTS – Wine Enthusiast
“One of the peculiarities of St.-Emilion's classification is that Canon la Gaffeliere is not classed in the top rung. Because, as this wine shows, it produces superb wines. This is ripe while so elegant, with great intensity and sweet perfumes. Cellar Selection."
92 PTS – International Wine Cellar
"Bright ruby-red. Jammy, exotic aromas of black raspberry and smoke; wild and slightly high-toned in a syrah way. Dense, sweet and layered, with lovely saline complexity to the ripe black raspberry flavor. Finishes sweet, plush and very long, with smooth tannins and plenty of early sex appeal. "