For me Château Calon Ségur is one of the wines of the vintage in 2014. This is enthralling St Estèphe and it is not far off the quality of the legendary 2009 and 2010. Calon’s technical director Vincent Millet described 2014 as ‘very exciting.’ The technical analysis is similar to that of 2010 and 2012, and in terms of flowering and picking conditions, similar to 2009. The purity here in 2014 is exceptional. The grace and delicacy is difficult to match, but there is also considerable concentration in 2014 too. Château Capbern, the ‘Gasqueston’ now dropped from the name, is vivacious and enticing in this vintage, a year in which St Estèphe reigns supreme.
The property reported very high alcohol, anthocyanin and tannin in the grapes at harvest, ripeness a result of very low rainfall of 30mm in July and August [far less than some other districts] and consistently high temperatures throughout September and the first week or so of October. Dry winds also led to some evaporation, further concentrating the vintage. The clay in the soil at Calon did help water retention, preserving freshness. The Merlot was harvested between 17 and 30 September, Cabernet Sauvignon from the 2 to 10 October, and Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot between 7 – 8 October.
Some of the Merlot was coming very ripe [some from younger vines up to 16.5% potential alcohol], and the majority of this made its way into the Marquis de Calon [64% Merlot]. This also sees less new oak [50%] than the grand vin [100%]. It is the overall quality of the Cabernets here that is so exciting in 2014, forming 79% of the blend in Calon Ségur and 78% of the blend in Capbern.
En primeur pricing has been very successful. Château Calon Ségur was released in the UK at £420 [$680] per twelve. It is the cheapest Calon available on the market except for the 2013. Liv-Ex analysis can be found here. Château Capbern can be had at a very thrifty £120 [$190] per twelve. It represents excellent value – a ‘must buy’ for the price surely?
The following wines were tasted at Château Calon-Segur on Monday 30th March, 2015.
Château Capbern, St Estèphe, 2014
Deep colour; very saturated look; colour tight to the rim; lots of ripe fruit here; real joy; black fruits; some cherry but nicely fresh; composed too; pretty and voluptuous even; lovely fruit tones continue on the palate; plenty of extract and ripe fruit tones; perfumed and caressing; great palate really; concentrated and glossy. Great effort. Drink 2019-2030. [78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot, 14.2% alc, TA 3.50, pH 3.80, IPT 76, 41hl/ha yield, 60% new oak]. 91-93+
Marquis de Calon, St Estèphe, 2014
Deep and saturated colour; tight to the rim; purple at edge; saturated and opaque; black cherry; ripe and real sweetness; pretty palate; perfume; cherry and plum tones; soft feel to the fruit on entry; tannins very enveloping; plenty of fruit but some sense of modesty at the same time; supple; some chew and trace of alcohol on the finish. [64% Merlot, 36% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14.7% alc, TA 3.6, pH 3.60, PIT 70, 41hl/ha, 50% new oak]. Drink 2019-2028. 91-92+
Château Calon Ségur, Grand Cru Classé, St Estèphe, 2014.
Deeply coloured; arterial at centre; legs; opaque; very seductive blackcurrant fruit; power but very evident refinement; very complete even at this stage; pure and focused; fruit compelling; natural and unadorned [even despite 100% new oak]; lovely flavour; beautiful Cabernet tones; perfumed fruit; layered and textured; simply fantastic effort in my book; caressing fruit and elegance despite the obvious power and concentration. Excellent length. [66% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot, 13.8% alc, TA 3.6, pH 3.70, IPT 78, 41hl/ha, 100% new oak]. Drink 2020-2035. 95-97+