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Bordeaux 2016: Château Calon Ségur

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

Château Calon Ségur has produced beautiful St Estèphe in 2016. The finesse and elegance here are always remarkable but there is great depth too in 2016. For me Calon-Ségur is up with the very best wines of the vintage. Certainly it is hot on the heels of the wonderful St Estèphe produced here in 2014, 2010 and 2009. Chateau Capbern also looks a very good bet. Though it was better priced in sterling terms in 2014 [for something of an equivalent vintage in St Estèphe] this 2016 is probably even finer. It is clearly of cru classé quality.

It has been an exciting time at Calon-Ségur over the past few years. While the technical and administrative team have remained under the same leadership [Vincent Millet and Laurent Dufau respectively], there have been a lot of changes to the physical infrastructure of the property and its winemaking [and tasting!] facilities. The new gravity fed vat room is now on-line, with twice the number of vats for the same production. This allows for more specific plot by plot fermentations, and even intra-plot selections. 2016 was the first vintage to benefit from this level of winemaking specificity and the extra finesse that this is allowing, appears to be coming through in the wines.

2016 was a vintage that suited St Estèphe and particularly the vineyards of Calon. A wet spring replenished rainwater reserves and despite the challenges of the early growing season, flowering occurred in ideal conditions. Dry and sunny conditions through the summer months were conducive to great quality and the September rains provided sufficient water supply to help final phenolic ripening. Merlot was picked between 29 September and October 4. The Cabernets were picked between October 5-15. The grand vin represents 40% of production, with 50% going into Marquis de Calon. The remaining 10% goes into a third wine.

The following wines were tasted at Calon-Ségur back in April. Overall I was very excited by the wines here [which were also priced reasonably]. I think Calon-Ségur itself is potentially up there with 2009 and 2010, and I’ve put it in the 96-100 range.

Château Capbern, St Estèphe, 2016

Deep saturated colour; tight to edge; purple; minerally; pure cab; purity; warmth at the edge; lovely violet lift; mineral schist; has body; full in style; that mineral and schist notes; lots of extract; nicely balanced; chew and extract; first use of Cab Franc – good quality and aromatic. [69% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot, 60% new oak, 42hl/ha, pH 3.7, TA 3,5, 14% alc]. Drink 2022-2030. Tasted 3/4/17. 91-93+

Marquis de Calon, St Estèphe, 2016

Deep and saturated; tight to the rim; big lots of fruit but very mannered wine; lots of fruit; terrific nose; schist and mineral tones; but really pure fruit aromas; great palate; had nice depth and tension; freshness here; lots going on; excellent narrative; has sap and life from the younger Cab. Has nice texture. Good length. [55% Merlot, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% new oak, 42hl/ha, pH3.6, TA 3.8, 14.2% alc]. Drink 2022-2030. Tasted 3/4/17. 92-94+

Château Calon-Ségur, Grand Cru Classé, St Estèphe, 2016

Deep and saturated; legs; very pretty; wonderfully integrated oak with very fine blackcurrant aromatics; very focused; blackcurrant cassis; intense and pent up; very mineral this year; tension in the wine too; comes together at the end; will be very good; very fine tannins on the end; good freshness. Exceptional length. Potentially perfect St Estèphe in the making here. [60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot, 100% new oak, 42hl/ha, pH 3.6, TA 3.75, 14% alc]. Drink 2024-2040. Tasted 3/4/17. 96-100+

April fog at Calon-Ségur in 2017

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