Chateau Calon Ségur 

Retrospective 1995-2011, plus 1982

 

Vertical Calon Ségur, Wednesday November 6, 2013

Tasted in Paris, at restaurant Carré des Feuillants, near Place Vendome, at lunch organised by new owners Suravenir.

 

SECOND WINE
Marquis de Calon AOC Saint Estephe 2011

A lighter vintage, where careful selection was necessary to ensure the first wine was of high quality. This is elegant, will be far easier to drink in the next few years than either the 2009 or 2010. Delicately placed red fruits, the merlot character is more obvious than in the other two years tasted. Lovely aromas, the most developed also of the other two vintages, but this doesn’t have the same persistency or complexity. Lacks their regality, much more a juicy drinking wine. 87. Recommended. Drink 2013-2020.

 

Marquis de Calon AOC Saint Estephe 2010

Wow, this is richer, deeper, more serious and solid than even the 2009 vintage. The flavours are well fleshed out, feel instantly that this has a huge life ahead of it, and once again proof of just how good this vintage is at all levels in Bordeaux. Juicy on the palate, both tannins and acidity higher than the 2009, but liquorice, black cherry, dark coffee also apparent. Hugely persistent, this does not taste like a second wine. Very impressive, and a value choice, as you can buy this wine for £20-£25 in the UK. Still need to give this some time to unfurl. 92+. Highly recommended. Drink 2016-2026

 

Marquis de Calon AOC Saint Estephe 2009

Bright, vibrant blackcurrant fruit on the nose, some oak character evident (a little too much in fact), this is still very young, not fully rounded out by any means. But juicy, with a clear mouth-watering effect. Blend is 80% merlot, 20% cabernet sauvignon, but even with this much merlot, there are largely black fruits on the flavour spectrum, very tightly knit. The edges are apparent, meaning that the finish is not entirely smooth, but this is a pleasurable wine, and one that should start drinking well in a year or two. 89. Recommended. Drink 2014-2021.

 

 

FIRST WINE

Chateau Calon Segur AOC Saint Estephe 2011

More gently fruited nose than the 2010 by a long chalk, but a clear step up from the Marquis de Calon in this vintage. Here you have proof of good winemaking, and I remember how effortlessly impressive this felt during the en primeurs tasting at the estate. The tannins are velvety, the fruit bright (if more redcurrant and crushed raspberries than dark bilberries), everything is very precise, a little staccato, but good. Blend 78% cabernet sauvignon, 20% merlot, 2% petit verdot. 91. Highly recommended. Drink 2015-2028.

 

Chateau Calon Segur AOC Saint Estephe 2010

The blend in this vintage reached a full 86% of cabernet sauvignon. In the glass, the colour remains a bright bright en primeur purple, barely budged in two and a half years. Gorgeous! I love this vintage, but taste-wise also this is still very much in its primeur stage of primary fruit, with rich texture and vigorous tannins. Monumental, as we say so often of 2010 wines, and it’s worth remembering that the three years since this have been significantly lower in quality. This is a reminder that nature is a game of give and take. However, it wasn’t all fun for Calon Ségur in 2010; they had severe hail storms, and made just 50% of the crop of 2009. A classic. 95+/100. Excellent. Drink 2019-2040.

 

Chateau Calon Segur AOC Saint Estephe 2009

The words that spring to mind here are generous, luscious, ripe… and plenty more of the same. This is turbo-powered compared to the Marquis de Calon in this vintage, but with the same generosity of fruit. Blend is 90% cabernet sauvignon, 10% merlot – figures which speaks for themselves in terms of fruit ripeness. Tight, tingling, a long way to go but the shape is starting to appear. Very very pleasurable. 94/100. Highly recommended. Drink 2017-2035.

 

Chateau Calon Segur AOC Saint Estephe 2008

As with the 2007, this has an oak-dominated nose with traces of coffee. But it is less intrusive here, with more fruit character. This is a beautiful wine, precise and elegant and very enjoyable. 76% cabernet sauvignon, 24% merlot. Good persistency, with subtle warming spicing. This vintage had an Indian summer, good for cabernets – and Calon was also benefitting from two years of changes brought by Vincent Millet. 93/100. Highly recommended. Drink 2015-2030.

 

Chateau Calon Segur AOC Saint Estephe 2007

A difficult year, as we know (or thought until 2013). Already slight pinking of the colour around the rim of the glass. Very different on the nose from the other vintages tried in this vertical, much more coffee (cappucino, milled coffee beans). Must be the use of oak barrels to compensate for the fruit. Less année de vigneron, more année de viticulteur. For me, it is too obviously compensated for in the cellar - but still offers pleasure. Blend 76% cabernet, 24% merlot. 89. Recommended. Drink 2013-2023.

 

Chateau Calon Segur AOC Saint Estephe 2006

Blend is 64% cabernet, 33% merlot, 3% petit verdot. A year that saw a mixed bag of results in estates across Saint Estephe, but this is showing great appellation character. Quite different in personality from the 2005, some excellent deep coloured fruit, right through to black cherry and blueberry - a real cabernet and petit verdot year. Not the persistency of 2005, this will be ready to drink sooner, has slightly out of balance acidity and doesn’t make you break into cheer like the 2005, but still plenty to admire, classic good quality claret. 91. Highly recommended. Drink 2014-2028.

 

Chateau Calon Segur AOC Saint Estephe 2005

Ah, here the colour seems to retract, darken, deepen, even though it is now approaching its 9th birthday. The anthocyanes are barely giving an inch. Cloves, cassis, liquorice again coming through, and percolating coffee, this is a burly wine, wonderful tannins, so present and yet so reassuring, cradling the fruit like Rudolph Valentino. Just gorgeous, and just getting going. Love it, 96/100. Excellent. Drink 2013-2035.

 

Chateau Calon Segur AOC Saint Estephe 2003

The heatwave year, and usually the Saint Estephe clay meant a touch more freshness for many of its wines. But even with that advantage, the fruit here has spread out a little too much right from the first nose, get gourmet notes of caramel and brioche, a patisserie spread of characters. No need to wait to drink this. It is a little underwhelming for the estate, certainly out of character in terms of personality of the lineup. Doesn’t have the length of the others, and wonder if phenolic ripeness was fully reached. For me, the big disappointment so far (but way better than many 2003s that I have tasted recently, so don’t discount it entirely). 87/100. Recommended. Drink 2013-2020.

 

Chateau Calon Segur AOC Saint Estephe 2001

This tastes so much fresher and younger than the 2000, amazing the difference one year can make. Excellent vivacity and youth here. Really an excellent wine, with the poise and precision that you start to see coming into Calon at this time. Where the 2000 is all about generosity, this one is about precision and poise. We are back to the cassis flavours of a younger wine. Only complaint is that it has perhaps a touch of geosmin, an earthy character that suggests perhaps 100% of the fruit was not entirely ripe? A very very classic Medoc wine however. 93/100. Hightly recommended. Drink 2013-2035.

 

Chateau Calon Segur AOC Saint Estephe 2000

We are getting close to 15 years for this wine, and as you would expect, the colour is just starting to soften. It is still a beautifully dark red, but with amber reflections beginning to appear around the edge. Oh, this is gorgeous, the fruit almost explodes in your mouth. Often I am a little underwhelmed with 2000s, at least in terms of their reputation, but not this one. Full of life and vivacity, fruit is still in fine form, but tannins have stayed firm and protective. An excellent wine that you would be super happy to drink now. Get a touch of animal aroma on the end of play, some gibier going on, worry that may become more obvious as fruit loses its power. 92/100. Highly recommended. Drink 2013-2035.

 

Chateau Calon Segur AOC Saint Estephe 1998

A vintage that is seen as being one of the strongest of the 1990s, but more typically on the Right Bank than the Left, so maybe the clays of Saint Estephe helped. The nose holds promise of still poised, crispy fruit, and indeed it tastes much younger, but without the nuances of the 1995. This is a fine wine, with great race and precision, firm bilberry, fig and prune, no truffle notes appearing yet here. Has appearance of ripe but not over ripe fruit, but for me not as majestic as the 1995. To drink now but can easily wait a few years more before opening, and no rush. 92/100. Highly recommended. Drink 2013-2024.

 

Chateau Calon Segur AOC Saint Estephe 1995

This is nearly 20 years old now, incredibly, and made when Madame de Gasqueton was grieving for her husband, who died during the harvesting of this wine. It was a late harvest year, with beautiful weather in September, offering ripe tannins that are of course by now fully smudged and softened into a gossamer covering over the fruit. On the nose get faint blue cheese, that wonderfully foodie ageing claret smell, very soft black truffles, acidity is climbing up a little higher than I would like for it to be perfect. But this is a beautiful wine, and who wouldn't be happy to pull a cork on it? Very soft tannins, spreading autumnal fruits, stewed prunes with classic liquorice and truffle, touches of eugenol (cloves), can still see oak influence after all these years, but beautifully integrated. Just touch out of balance from the acidity levels. We had this at lunch also, and the blue cheese was pronounced again, as was the lusciously comforting fruit. 95/100. Highly recommended. Drink 2013-2023.

 

Chateau Calon Ségur AOC Saint Estephe 1982

As ever, the presentation of 1982 vintage brought a sense of excitement to the table (we only drank this at lunch, with Pauillac lamb and cepe macaroni, not in the vertical). It doesn’t match the power of some of its neighbours such as Montrose 82 today, but it has a wonderful blue cheese and black truffle aroma that you can slip effortlessly into. I drank every drop of this, while all other vintages mentioned in this vintage I tasted, noted, left at least half the glass. So soft, have caramel, creme caramel to be more specific on both the nose and palate,  and the fruit has slid into a compote, prune compote, not jammy but soft and relaxed, with still subtle persistency. If you have this wine, don’t wait forever, but be prepared for a very special experience. 93/100. Highly recommended. Drink 2013-2020.