Château Calon Ségur 2016
• Domaine: Château Calon-Ségur
• Appellation: Saint-Estèphe
• Classification: Third Growth, 3ème Grand Cru Classé
• Origin: Left Bank, Bordeaux, France
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 2016 Calon-Ségur is a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot aged in 100% new French oak for 20 months. Deep garnet-purple colored, it is a little closed to begin, slowly revealing warm red and black currants, kirsch and plum preserves with wafts of fragrant earth, violets, chocolate box and wood smoke. Medium to full-bodied, elegantly expressed and finely crafted, it has a wonderfully fine-grained texture and bold freshness supporting the densely packed black fruits, finishing long and mineral-laced." - Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (11/30/2018, Interim Issue), Rating: 96, Drink from: 2021-2045
"The 2016 Calon Segur is a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Cabernet Franc, 20% Merlot and 2% Petit Verdot cropped at 42 hectoliters per hectare between 29 September and 15 October (finishing with the Cabernets and the Petit Verdot). Notice that Cabernet Franc, which excelled not just here but around Saint Estèphe in this vintage, given that there was not a drop in the 2015. It has a very elegant bouquet, very pure with small macerated black cherries, blueberry, a hint of licorices and juniper berries, all effortlessly detailed and exuding what I term "controlled opulence." The palate is medium-bodied with a sense of symmetry on the entry, the acidity very well judged and the tannins far less rustic than the Calon-Ségurs of old. What I like about this Calon-Ségur is that it could not come from anywhere apart from Saint Estèphe: that structure, that obduracy counterbalanced by the opulence bestowed by the growing season. There is freshness locked in here from start to finish, with a subtle tang of seaweed and black pepper on the long aftertaste. For me this is a serious step up from the 2015, and the structure augurs a Calon-Ségur destined to last as long as those legendary wines from the 1920s and 1940s. Chapeau to winemaker Vincent Millet and estate director Laurent Dufau. This is easily the best Calon-Ségur that I have tasted from barrel." - Neal Martin, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (4/28/2017, Issue 230), Rating: 95-97, Drink from: 2026-2060
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