Château Calon Ségur 2014
On the label of every bottle of Château Calon Ségur is a heart -- a symbol which has become synonymous with the estate. It was meant to immortalize the love its very first owner, the Marquis de Ségur felt for the property. He is famously known for saying, “I make wine at Lafite and Latour, but my heart is at Calon.”
For context, Château Calon Ségur was a part of the holdings of the illustrious Marquis de Ségur, who was affectionately known as the, “Prince of Vines” throughout the Court of Versailles. The Marquis owned three of the top Pauillac Estates besides Château Calon Ségur – Château Lafite Rothschild, Château Latour, and Château Mouton Rothschild. Both Château Lafite-Rothschild and Château Latour were classified as First Growth Estates in 1855 and though Mouton Rothschild was ranked a Second Growth property, it would later be re-classified as a First Growth in 1973. Naturally, the team at Château Calon Ségur would choose the emblem of a heart to commemorate the property’s status as the Marquis’ favorite.
Château Calon Ségur was ranked as a Third Growth estate during Napoleon’s 1855 Classification. It was one of the oldest estates in Saint-Estèphe, with origins dating back to the Gallo Roman era. It rose to prominence when the Marquis took over viticultural operations, and thus began the immortalized love affair between man and vine. After the Marquis passed, the property changed hands throughout the centuries, but one constant remained – a passion devoted to crafting excellent wines. Even during the most trying years like the 1940s and 1950s where many other châteaux failed to produce good vintages, Château Calon Ségur continued to dazzle.
A small team of 50 oversee operations in the 55-hectare walled-off vineyard. This is unique to the Left Bank estates in the Médoc. The terroir has a mixture of colorful clays and gravel which serve as a sponge, retaining water and giving the grapes a signature freshness. The wines of Calon Ségur do not have the typical chunky and awkward backwardness of many Saint-Estèphes. The technical director, Vincent Millet, takes great measures to ensure the wines here have finesse, and a lot of this is due to their gravity flow vat room and refusal to use any punch downs during the winemaking process.
The estate is implementing an extensive replanting program scheduled to finish in 2032 increasing the percentage of Cabernet to 70% of its vineyards. Initially, the wines of Château Calon Segur were energetic wines that were typical of the Saint-Estèphe region. Now these wines are purer, with more fruit and a startling intensity to them. These delicate wines unfold beautifully but require some time. Top vintages of Château Calon Ségur need at least a decade or more to fully express themselves. At Calon Ségur, the heart has become more than just a symbol representing the Marquis de Ségur. It represents the love and passion they put toward crafting beautiful wine.
"The 2014 Calon Ségur has a much more reticent bouquet than either the 2014 Montrose or Cos d'Estournel. There is blackberry here, a hint of cassis and violets, fine purity but bolshie and withdrawn at the moment. The palate is medium-bodied with ripe tannin, more red fruit than the Montrose with a smooth, quite silky Merlot-like, graphite finish. Tasted on two occasions in Bordeaux, the second bottle exuded more panache and joie-de-vivre, coming across a little more spicy with a longer aftertaste." - Neal Martin, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (3/31/2017, Interim Issue), Rating: 92, Drink from: 2021-2045
"The Château Calon-Ségur 2014 is a blend of 66% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Cabernet Franc, 19% Merlot and 2% Petit Verdot cropped at 41hl/ha and aged in 100% new oak for what is intended to be 20 months. The alcohol comes in at 13.8%, which would have been higher if more Merlot had been retained. The first impression is one of the oak because coming straight after the Montrose '14 (élevage in 60% new oak) the wood element is more pronounced here. It is relatively opulent and high-toned compared to its Saint Estèphe counterparts, developing floral scents with time but never quite extricating itself from the winemaking. The palate is medium-bodied with quite firm tannin that lend this more chewiness than either Montrose or Cos d'Estournel. There is a lot of backbone to this wine, well focused with a good line of acidity, but again, I believe a more moderate use of new oak would have allowed the terroir to be expressed in what is a terroir-driven vintage. It is an impressive, you could almost say ambitious Calon Ségur, though I am seeking more personality via the terroir to be articulated. Tasted three times with consistent notes." - Neal Martin, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (4/29/2015, Issue 218), Rating: 91-93, Drink from: 2020-2040
"The 2014 Calon Ségur has to be considered an undeniable success in the vintage, offering the elegance, balance, and charm that’s the hallmark of this late growing season. Still relatively tight and reserved, with beautiful notes of black currants, smoked earth, graphite, and tobacco leaf, it hits the palate with medium to full-bodied richness, beautiful purity, and a layered, elegant style that opens up with time in the glass. It has more density than the 2015 and will keep for two decades or more." Jeb Dunnuck, Jebdunnuck.com, Rating: 94, Maturity: 2018-2038
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