Calon Segur is the style of Bordeaux that needs a lot of time. It makes Calon Segur great for people who want a wine to live for 30 years. I wouldn’t recommend opening a bottle of the Calon Segur 2020 until 2035 at the earliest. But when you get into that sweet spot of aging, you’ll be rewarded with a wonderfully complex and charming wine.
Chateau Calon Segur St-Estephe 3rd Growth 2020 is sold En-Primeur. You order and pay now, to receive the En-Primeur pricing. You will receive the wine in mid-late 2023.
Calon Segur has quite a storied history that goes back to 1147. When Marquis de Segur said, “I make my wine at Lafite and Latour, but my heart is in Calon.” What he was alluding to is that he owned Latite Rothchild and Chateau Latour, as well as Calon Segur and Brane Mouton (which changed names to Mouton-Rothschild later on). At this time, the Calon estate included what would become Phelan Segur, and they were using the land that would become Montrose for hunting.
In the current context, Calon Segur is 55 hectares in St Estephe. It is 53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 38% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. It is the northern most classified vineyard in the Medoc and unusually is a walled vineyard too. Calon Segur makes dark, powerful, structured wines that made to age for the long haul.
Chateau Calon Segur St-Estephe 3rd Growth 2020 Wine Review
“The flagship 2020 Château Calon Ségur is also brilliant and certainly brings up the intensity, depth, and richness, although it’s nowhere near the exotic, almost over-the-top style of the 2018. Gorgeous crème de cassis, tobacco, roasted coffee beans, lead pencil, and sappy herbs all define this beauty, which is full-bodied, beautifully balanced, and has incredible purity of fruit. It might have some up-front appeal as well, yet smart money will hide bottles for at least 7-8 years.”
Situated near the Atlantic coast of France. The Gironde, Dordogne and Garonne rivers provide its shape. Cool conditions and frequent rainfall, including during harvest time, make Bordeaux quite a marginal region with vintages frequently ruined by rain or saved from the rain at the last minute by timely sunshine.
The Northernmost appellation in the 1885 classification. The higher levels of clay make for denser wines with good fruit richness and plush palate. St-Estephe only has five classified growths, but it is a case of quality 0ver quantity.
The noble variety of Bordeaux’s left bank. Firm tannins, a streak of acidity and punctuated by flavours of cassis, violets, spice and leather. The best examples can age for the long term. Although Cabernet does often require blending with Merlot, Cabernet Franc or Shiraz to fix the hole it has in its middle palate.
It gets a tough time most of the places it is grown. But in Pomerol and Saint-Emilion, Merlot not only dominates but makes some of the best wines in the world. Perfume, silky and plush. Cabernets Franc and Sauvignon season the wines with structure and acid, but in some places, like Petrus, they are almost not needed.
Cabernet Franc is actually one of the parents of Cabernet Sauvignon… along with Sauvignon Blanc (oh! The name makes sense now!). It is most famous for being the third most important grape in quality Bordeaux. But also excels in the Loire Valley (where it lived before it went to Bordeaux), especially Chinon and Saumur. The wines are bright red in colour, highly aromatic with raspberries, rose petals, violets along with tobacco, cassis and some herbal elements. The best examples can live as long as any great wine.
Often the fifth wine on the depth chart of Bordeaux’s magical quintet. In the great years, it is an amazing variety to work with, but often in the great years, it is not needed. It can add body, structure and acidity but lacks some charm for a single variety wine. But in the hands of a skilful blender, it can really lift a wine, or in some cases, a particular site can make Petit Verdot sing a song like no other.
The land that so many New World (not European) wine producers look to emulate. To generalise about French wine, I would say it is savoury, lighter-bodied wines. They are the definition of elegant, complex. There are many styles, though. And there is a French wine for every palate. They lead the world in Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in Burgundy. Sparkling Wine in Champagne. Cabernet and Merlot in Bordeaux. Syrah(Shiraz) and Grenache in the Rhone Valley. Riesling, Gewurztraminer, and Pinot Gris in Alsace. Sauvignon Blanc, and Chenin Blanc in the Loire Valley. Gamay in Beaujolais.
Wine is the result you get from fermented grape juice. There is proof of wine production dating back 8000 years ago. Fashions, innovations and many other factors have influenced the way wine has evolved over the years.
The wine grape is pretty special. It contains everything you need to make grape wine except for the yeast, which lives on the outside of the skins.
Human inputs can influence the final product. This includes the viticulture (growing) choices. And the winemaker can shape the wine to a point too.
The best wines of the world often refer to terroir. This is a French term that refers to all the climatic, geological and topographical influences on a specific piece of land. And it is true that neighbouring vineyards, grown identically, can taste noticeably different.
Fun fact; most of the colour for wines comes from the skins. There are only a handful of grapes that have red juice. Alicante is the most well known of these grapes.
By macerating the juice on the skins, the wine gains tannins, and flavours. Certain compounds change the chemistry of the wine too.
Red wines tend to have higher alcohol. More tannin and more oak flavours compared to other styles of wine. But the thousands of grapes and terroirs they grow in influence this.
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I, Phil, have been running The Wine Depository since 2011. The Wine Depository exists to make sure you are drinking the good wines. You can browse and pick what is interesting to you. Or you can make contact with me. I’ll make sure you get what you want, to your palate, to your budget and to your door.