On the left bank of the Gironde in the St-Estèphe appellation, situated just across a tiny stream looking out over the vaunted Pauillac Châteaux of Lafite-Rothschild, sits one of the most historic estates of the Médoc, Château Calon-Ségur. It was one of the original three vineyards of the appellation, and was listed as a third growth in the historic 1855 Médoc classification.
“Calon” refers to a river barge used in the Middle Ages to ferry timber, which gave name to the district which was at one point known as Calones or Saint-Estèphe-de-Calon. Like its neighbor Phélan-Ségur, Calon was once part of the Ségur estate, a formidable domaine that during the 18th Century, owned not only Lafite but also Latour and Mouton. The domaine was already ancient at that time, tracing its roots back to the year 1157. The estate’s ownership changed several times over the generations, until the 18th century when Nicolas-Alexandre acquired the estate following his marriage to the heiress of the Chateau. The Marquis de Ségur was famously quoted as saying, “I make my wine at Lafite and Latour, but my heart is in Calon.” That quote is responsible for the existence of numerous heart shapes around the estate, and on the label itself.
Etienne Théodore Dumoulin took control of the Chateau in the early 1800′s and shortly thereafter cleared out the scrub land at the south end of the vineyard, and planted vines in 1815. This new vineyard famously became Château Montrose, a second growth in the 1855 classification. That a third growth gave birth to a second growth is curious, indeed…
The Calon-Ségur estate is the northernmost classified estate, and its vineyards are curiously surrounded by a low wall, a feature not common in Bordeaux. The soils here are indicative of their proximity to the river, brown clay and sand mixed with gravel for the first five meters or so, and that all sits atop the classic calcaire de St-Esthèphe, or limestone. The vines are predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon, with a little Merlot and Cabernet Franc mixed in.
In 2006, Vincent Millet was appointed as winemaker, coming from the venerable Château Margaux. The wines of Calon are known for their polish and muscularity, their 1st wine often takes years to mature and will age gracefully for decades.
Vintages available in our Miami warehouse:
2005 Château Calon-Ségur
“This great St.-Estephe estate has turned out a succession of brilliant wines. The 2005, a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Merlot, has put on weight over the last year. An opaque ruby/purple hue is accompanied by a sweet nose of earth, smoke, cassis, and cherries as well as a textured, full-bodied mouthfeel. While the tannin is high, there is beautifully sweet fruit underlying the wine’s structure. It will require 8-10 years of cellaring after release, and should drink well for three decades.”
— Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate, April 2007, 94-96 points
“Has a beautiful nose of crushed berry, spices and nutmeg, with a hint of coffee. Then turns to licorice. Full-bodied, with supersilky tannins and a long finish of vanilla, berry and cinnamon. Beautifully crafted. Best after 2014. 17,500 cases made.”
— Wine Spectator, March 2008, 93 points
2006 Château Calon-Ségur
“The harvest at this estate was relatively late for the vintage (September 26-October 15), and approximately two-thirds of the production made it into the final blend of 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, and 3% Petit Verdot. The 2006 is highly successful, as Madame Gasqueton said, no doubt because of the de-leafing and crop-thinning done throughout the summer. A deep dark ruby/purple hue is accompanied by a sweet nose of black cherries, damp earth, and a hint of herbs. Medium-bodied with surprisingly soft tannin, no austerity, decent acidity, and a fruit-forward, fleshy personality, it should be accessible at an earlier age than the blockbuster 2005.”
— Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate, April 2007, 90-93 points
“Focused and fresh, with violet and blackberry aromas and vanilla undertones. Full-bodied, with very pretty berry fruit character, fine tannins and a long, caressing finish. Refined. Best after 2014. 14,445 cases made.”
— Wine Spectator, March 2009, 92 points
Calon-Ségur also makes two other wines from their estate: their second wine is called Marquis de Calon; the third wine is called La Chapelle de Calon. These second and third wines are made from the same 130-acre vineyard, however they tend to be more approachable in their youth and offer immediately drinkability.
These are “restaurant-friendly” wines. Wines that a restaurateur can offer to their guests that offer some serious prestige and history, however do not need to be decanted for hours or aged for years.
2008 Marquis de Calon
The Marquis de Calon offers the estate’s signature style, with a bit more Merlot blended in than the 1st wine. The estate’s second wine is extreme bargain from the increasingly expensive Bordeaux market. About 3000 cases are produced annually.
2006 La Chapelle de Calon
This offers the château’s polished style with a velvety palate and ripe, vibrant fruit. A higher percentage of Merlot of 45-50% (than the Calon-Ségur bottling) adds an open-knit, approchable feel.
Vinecraft is proud to offer all of the wines of Calon-Ségur, including the Marquis de Calon and Chapelle de Calon. For pricing and availability, please email us.