April 2002, Score: 87
This supple 1999 is an elegant, lighter-styled Calon-Segur, particularly when compared to the 2000. It exhibits an evolved color, sweet cherry and dusty berry fruit, and hints of dried herbs. It is a spicy, cherry-flavored effort with a style reminiscent of a Beaune premier cru. The blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, and 10% Cabernet Franc has resulted in a wine of elegance and finesse rather than one with a lot of stuffing and power. Drink it during its first 7-10 years of life. Drink: 2002 – 2012.
I was entirely too harsh on this wine when tasted last year. Having put on weight and filled out in the mid-palate, it is, atypically, one 1999 that will require 4-5 years of cellaring. It exhibits a dense ruby/purple color, smoky, earthy aromas of dried herbs, roasted meats, and black fruits. Well-made, with considerable tannin, a good mid-palate, and a moderately long finish, it will be at its best between 2006-2025.
Gritty tannin, a pronounced loamy soil/earthiness, and a dusty texture are present in this medium-bodied, uninspiring effort. Notes of sweet cherries, medium body, and a ripe attack are present, but the wine falls off to reveal a shallow finish. While good, it will evolve quickly. Anticipated maturity: 2002-2010.
The most northerly classified growth in the Médoc, Château Calon-Ségur has had a gracious history. In the 18th century, it was the most beloved property of its owner, the Marquis Nicolas-Aléxandre Ségur. Though he also owned such celebrated châteaux as Lafite and Latour, he would proudly state: “I make my wine at Lafite and Latour, but my heart is in Calon.” He immortalised his affection by creating a heart on the label – a symbol that exists to this day. Calon-Ségur was owned and managed for many years by Mme. Denise Capbern Gasqueton, a magical hostess who captures the essence of La Vieille France with all its tradition, elegance and etiquette. She sadly passed away in 2011 but the inate quality of the vineyards ensures Calon-Ségur’s place among the top wines of the appellation.
St Estèphe, Red Bordeaux
St Estèphe is the most northern of Médoc communal crus. Its unique terroir is made up of layers of gravel which are supported by a dense clay base. This subsoil retains water in dry seasons and works particularly well with Merlot, a largely planted variety which is used to flesh out Cabernet Sauvignon. This clay base also creates powerful, textured tannins which enable St Estèphe to stand out from the pack. Like St Julien, it is one of the four most important communal appellations of the Médoc which does not contain any first growths, despite its southern border being a stone’sthrow from Château Lafite. Nonetheless, it is home to some excellent châteaux making fine wines such as Cos d’Estournel, Montrose, Calon Ségur and Lafon Rochet.