Château Calon Ségur is one of my favourite properties in Bordeaux. This is exceptional terroir in St Estèphe produces some of the finest and most classical claret. Regularly the château pulls a rabbit out of the hat in tricky vintages – it made a good fist of things in 2011 and in 2013. In good vintages like 2012 and 2014 it really excelled. For me 2009 and 2010 show the heights this property can command, two stand-out wines, easily of first growth quality. So what of Calon in 2015? It is not as immediately powerful as the 2014, but shows attractive texture and balance. It is defined by beautiful Cabernet fruit tones and should fill out further during elévage.
If there is one great growth that you should start collecting [and one you can still afford to collect] it is Château Calon-Ségur. Despite market shifts upwards, the wines are still affordable for the quality here. This quality comes down largely to the vineyards’ position. This is a truly impressive walled terroir in northern St Estèphe with a variety of different aspects. The property also benefits from a talented team, headed up by winemaker Vincent Millet, consultant Eric Bossenot and general manager Laurent Dufau. Despite the smart new tasting room and other investments evident here since the change of ownership in 2012, you can still sense the guiding spirit of the late Madame Gasqueton in the harmony and balance of the wines [even if her name has since been removed from the labels].
Regarding the specifics of 2015 at Calon, the estate reports a fast and even flowering period in June. This was followed by exceptionally hot and dry weather which lasted until rain arrived in August. This rain helped veraison and the tannin ripening. September was cool and in St Estèphe there were more rain showers than elsewhere in Bordeaux. The harvest was still an early one – 18-25 September for the Merlot and 25 September to 5 October for the Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.
The resulting wines are balanced and harmonious with good freshness. Overall they lack the concentration of 2014, which I believe was a potentially great vintage in St Estèphe. At this preliminary stage then I’d put 2009, 2010 and 2014 ahead of 2015 at Calon-Ségur, though we will have a clearer idea of the overall quality of the wine after bottling.
Château Capbern is usually a good buy. This is a separate property and was knockout for me in 2014. The 2015 lacks the scale of that wine, but this is slow burn St Estèphe and will not disappoint.
The following wines were tasted on Monday 4th April, 2016 at Château Calon-Ségur.
Château Capbern, St Estèphe
Mid depth; purple at edge; ripe and pure fruit aromatics; pretty; some spice; lovely purity; ripe, elegant and nicely judged. Soft finish. [68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot, 13.7% alc, TA 3.3, pH 3.8, 47 hl/ha, 60% new oak]. Drink 2023-2030. 89-91+
Le Marquis de Calon Ségur, St Estèphe
Mid depth; purple at edge; attractive fruit; some spice; elegant; nice soft and supple entry on the palate; very easy fruit here this year; less concentration apparent than in ’14 but a harmony and roundness; fresh and pure; nice extract – very Bordeaux in feel. Good acidity. [57% Merlot, 33% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc, 13.7% alc, TA 3.5, PH3.7, 47hl/ha, 50% new oak]. Drink 2024-2030. 90-92
Château Calon-Ségur, Grand Cru Classé, St Estèphe
Mid depth; not huge colour; nice purity on the nose; elegant vintage; again very Bordeaux; lovely Cabernet here; elegant and mid weight; this has nice texture and harmony; good acidity and freshness. Round. Will fill out further. Classical. [82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot, 13.3% alc, TA 3.4, pH 3.75, 47hl/ha, 100% new oak]. Drink 2025-2040. 92-94+