Château Calon-Ségur: Tasting & Drinking

Any critic who looks back to recent vintages of Château Calon-Ségur will note that, despite the success enjoyed by Edouard Gasqueton in the 1940s and 1950s, in the subsequent decades there was a decline in quality. One possible explanation for this may be found if we turn again to Clive Coates in Grands Vins (University of California Press, 1995), who points the finger of blame at an inappropriately lengthy élevage, which was a rigid 24 months even in weaker vintages. In recent years, however, quality is once again in the ascendant, an achievement which cannot solely be ascribed to the actions of the late Madame Gasqueton as the 1995 vintage seems to be taken as a turning point by many. Nevertheless, under her tenure more recent vintages still seem to have garnered much praise. Tasting the 1996 in its youth I was certainly taken by the substance and elegant purity of fruit expressed by the wine, admittedly a Médoc-wide feature of the vintage which greatly favoured the Cabernet Sauvignon-dominated wines of the left bank communes, but it was impressive all the same.

Château Calon-Ségur

Other intervening vintages have been noteworthy, particularly the 2000 (pictured above) but it is perhaps the 2009 vintage which I mentioned in the opening of this profile that is the most remarkable. Bucking the trend for the vintage of rich, sometimes alcoholic, Merlot-dominant wines, the 2009 vintage (assessed from barrel) was a model of Cabernet Sauvignon-based finesse, the blend being 92% this variety and just 8% Merlot. There is more than a simple desire for quality in this assemblage, but something rather daring too. I suspect we have the talented Vincent Millet to thank for this. I am delighted that, under the direction of the new owners, insurance firm Suravenir, Vincent has been able to continue to make the very best wines possible from this vineyard. (9/9/10, updated 9/12/11, 19/8/12, 1/12/12, 1/6/13, 3/5/14, 26/3/20)

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