I’m a great fan of Château Calon Ségur. The property produces wines of genuine delicacy and harmony. In a way it always feels the least St Estèphe of top properties here, its balance and elegance suggesting more the finest growths of Pauillac, St Julien or even Margaux. Calon has produced excellent wine in 2008, 2009 [really exciting], 2010, 2011 and 2012. This run of good form continues in 2013. It’s a surprisingly full effort of real character and purity. It tops the appellation for me and was one of the standouts on the left bank this year.
There’s an unfussy, practical air at the Château when you visit, though things are a shade less stoic than they used to be. The new tasting area [well, new to me] is surprisingly flash for Calon, complete with electric sun-roof, a quite a marked change from the old-fashioned, sometimes chilly, stone floored tasting room I’ve been invited into on other visits. Hopefully this will be sum total of the changes here. The property was sold in July 2012 following the death of Denise Capbern-Gasqueton. As the old adage goes, ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’
Certainly that seems to be the case on tasting the wines. Vincent Millet, the estate’s long term technical director, still remains in charge of the winemaking here. He compares their 2013 with the 2008, a late harvest but with good quality Cabernet Sauvignon.
The vintage statistics here make for interesting reading. There is no doubt 2013 was, overall, a very, very wet year indeed. It rained on a whopping 230 days, compared with the 124 day thirty-year average. This resulted [as elsewhere] with a delayed growing season and tricky flowering for some of the older Merlots. July [as we know] was nevertheless hot and dry, August stormy and the humid September, perfect for the development of rot. Still conditions and terroir at Calon appear to have allowed them to steal five days or so further ripening on other districts. This perhaps explains the greater richness found in the wine this year by comparison. I also thought Château Capbern Gasqueton looked very attractive in the vintage context. The wines continue to be priced reasonably for the quality. The 2013 Calon-Ségur can be had for around £400/$700 a case.
The following wines were tasted at Calon on April 1, 2014.
Château Calon-Ségur, Grand Cru Classé, St Estèphe
Deep and healthy colour; purple at edge; clean and pure blackcurrant aromas; elegant but fullish; real purity; great palate; layered with extract and sweet fruit; real character and surprising depth for the vintage; attractive sap and purity on the finish. Very good effort. [92% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot, 13.1% alc, 3.7TA, 3.65 pH, IPT 62 36hl/ha, 20 day cuvaison, 100% new oak]. Drink 2018-2030+. 91-93
Marquis de Calon, St Estèphe
Mid depth; vivid at the edge; clean and correct; berry fruits; quite clean; palate fresh with elegance but nice tension; no puckering notes; reasonable density and nice chew. [60% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13.2 % alc, 3.70 TA, 3.6 pH, IPT 63, 36 hl/ha, 30% new oak]. Drink 2018-2025. 86-88
Château Capbern Gasqueton, St Estèphe
Mid depth; some purple at edge; charming aromatics; pretty fruit; very jolly; charming fruit; fresh and vibrant with good depth; very pure. Attractive. Gentle extraction and handled with real finesse. [91% Cabernets, 6% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot, 13% alc, 3.60 TA, 3.75 pH, 59 IPT, 65% new oak]. Drink 2018-2025. 86-88+