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Château Canon

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le terroir

Vines have been grown on the same plots at Château Canon for the last 500 years. On the upper reaches of the plateau the depth of this ochre-coloured, sometimes slightly bluish soil varies from 30 centimetres to 1 metre. The vines’ roots mostly develop and draw their energy from this first layer of soil made up of clay and limestone particles. This soil does not provide the wines with a fundamental hallmark in terms of flavour; it just adds some subtle undertones.

The first stratum

Clay and limestone soil

- 1 m

Formed several million years ago, Château Canon’s land is extremely consistent. The vines thrive, slowly and harmoniously, on a limestone bed with veins of clay. Their roots plunge down into sediment from the depths of time and flourish particularly well in the combination of clay and limestone.

Nourishment for the vines

Root development

Saint-Emilion is located on a limestone plateau which gently slopes towards the Dordogne River. A sedimentary tertiary rock of marine origin, starfish limestone arose from decaying organisms similar to starfish. A mineral paradise for vines, this underwater landscape eroded by the sea and the wind bears witness to the forces which formed and sculpted Saint-Emilion’s subsoil millions of years ago.

The second stratum

Starfish limestone subsoil

- 4 m

The bedrock gives wine its characteristic hallmark by a process of transfer to the vines. It acts as a sponge and provides the roots with water as required. Like a buffer, the subsoil allows the plant to develop more slowly and harmoniously. Limestone rock compensates for adverse weather conditions, whether excessive dryness or heavy rainfall. The natural slope of the land improves the soil's drainage. Limestone is a very porous rock containing 30 to 40% water, allowing water to flow through it and also to be stored. It therefore provides vines with a moderate and regular water supply, ensuring constant, gradual and continuous growth. This produces complex, fresh and elegant wines with a vivid colour and delicate nose. They are also distinctive for their precise tannins, persistence and freshness on the palate and remarkable aging potential.

Nourishment for the vines

Storing water

Underneath Château Canon’s vineyard lies a hidden maze of over 30 kilometres of subterranean passages. This unique phenomenon is a well-kept secret. Some roots grow as deep as through clay-filled cracks in the bedrock. Tectonic movement caused these fissures to slowly fill up. The vines’ rootlets fight their way downwards, laden with drops of water, they hang from the ceilings of limestone passageways dug by man over the centuries. To get there, visitors must go down several dozen steps beneath the wine cellar, cross a former vault and descend into the bowels of the earth.

Third stratum

30 kilometres of quarries

- 10 m

At this depth here is very little variation in temperature; it remains constantly at around 13°C throughout the year. Humidity levels are high. Used as quarries to excavate stone for building the village of Saint-Emilion and many of the nearby chateaux, its tunnels resembling limestone cathedrals bear witness to Saint-Emilion’s history.

More about the site

A limestone maze

Croix Canon

The Château

The village

The Merlots

The Cabernets Francs

The vineyard in the village

The Château Canon


The village of Saint-Emilion

The history of Saint-Emilion

A UNESCO World Heritage site

The vineyard in the village

The history of Saint-Emilion

Time here seems to have stood still. Like an island in a sea of vines and low stone walls, the village of Saint-Emilion emerges after a bend in the road which meanders between the rows of Cabernet Franc and Merlot vines. First to be seen is the elegant spire of the monolithic church, built in the 11th century to house the relics of Saint-Emilion. Then the golden contours of the fortified medieval town appear in an impressive accumulation of churches, homes and other buildings. And finally, visitors reach the narrow streets paved in white stone. A shop making and selling the local speciality of macaroons stands beside a former palace. Elsewhere, wine merchants and their walls of bottles offer a never-ending attraction.

The history of Saint-Emilion

A UNESCO World Heritage site

The village of Saint-Emilion, whose name is synonymous the world over with great wines, is a paradise in a class of its own. Its appellation area contains several hundred châteaux. Its landscapes are unspoilt and unchanged, as they have been for centuries. This UNESCO World Heritage site is an ideal place for contemplation and relaxation. Glimpsed through a window or the crumbling walls of a ruin, all around the vines stretch to the horizon. The vineyard dominates the landscape, as it always has.

A UNESCO World Heritage site

The vineyard in the village

Château Canon’s walled vineyard lies at the entrance to Saint-Emilion. It even extends into the village, with the Bourg de Château Canon plot which adjoins the Couvent des Cordeliers in Rue de la Porte Brunet. Surrounded by dwellings, this unique 1,500 square metres parcel is ploughed by horse and is hand harvested in traditional style. Planted to Merlot and with Premier Grand Cru Classé status, its grapes are used in crafting the estate’s
Grand Vin.

The vineyard in the village

Lands of Château Canon

The village of Saint-Emilion