CHÂTEAU CALON SÉGUR

2017 3ème Cru Classé Saint Estèphe

EN PRIMEUR

The clay layer in the soil here at Calon saved them from any danger of water stress, despite the quite dry and hot season. And they were really pleased with the Cabernet Sauvignon. Merlot and Cabernet Franc were more tricky and there was much work done. Heavy selection of fruit was made ensuring only perfect, healthy bunches were kept and some innovative work was done with the press wines too. To try and add a bit of intensity to the mid-palate here, they introduced almost twice as much wine from the press to the usual free run juice. This element would normally be added in in January - but here it was blended in immediately and fermented together. Clever idea and the results are great. This added a firm, fresh edge - an elegance and a lift but with no austerity. The 2017 is already very attractive. Fresh and clean, a St Estephe feel and pure line - but there is a lovely balance too. Soft and silky on approach. Spicy, soft damson fruit and delicious cassis jus are held in place by the mega-fine, soft tannins. A real delight. 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Franc and the rest Petit Verdot Rating: 94 L&S (May 2018)

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The 2017 Calon-Ségur was cropped at 43.5hl/ha and underwent a 20-day cuvaison after which it is matured entirely in new oak for 20 months. It contains 13.2° alcohol. At the moment the aromatics convey the 100% new oak but there is sufficient fruit underneath. There is a palpable sense of “coolness” imbuing the aromatics and like other Saint-Estèphe barrel samples, it conveys a subtle estuary-like tincture. The palate is medium-bodied with saturated tannin, beautifully integrated new oak that lends this a silky texture. Perhaps this is the smoothest of all the 2017s I encountered within this appellation, a classy and sophisticated Calon-Ségur in the making and heightened by the thrilling tension towards the finish and the latent energy that lingers in the mouth. Excellent. Drinking range: 2024 - 2045 Rating: 92-94 Neal Martin, www.vinous.com (May 2018)

The 2017 Calon-Ségur is tentatively blended of 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. Deep garnet-purple in color, it opens with pronounced black currants, crushed blackberries and fresh black plums with hints of cigar box, sandalwood and cinnamon stick plus a waft of mossy bark. The palate is medium-bodied, elegant, energetic and fresh with layers of black fruit, perfumed incense and fragrant earth notions, lingering nicely with exotic spices coming through on the finish. Rating: 92-94 Lisa Perrotti-Brown, RobertParker.com (Apr 2018)

This is rich, with fresh blueberry and cassis notes. The fruit is on the elegant side, and this should be earlier to drink than the 2016 and even the 2014. Technical director Vincent Bache-Gabrielsen and the team took an interesting approach to building the mid-palate, increasing the persistency by re-integrating the press wine immediately after vinification, so having both free run and press wine together during maceration. Blending the press wine at such an early stage took a leap of faith, as did using so much of the young, nine-year-old Cabernet Sauvignon in the first blend. But it works - this is precise, balanced and appealing, building slowly over the palate. Yield of 43.5hl/ha, 40% of production into the grand vin. 3.7pH. Drinking range: 2025 - 2040 Rating: 94 Jane Anson, Decanter (Apr 2018)

The 2017 Calon Ségur is a smoking effort and lends credence to the idea that the northern Médoc (Pauillac and Saint-Estèphe) was the place to be in 2017. Deep purple-colored, it’s packed with notions of ripe blackberries, black cherries, crushed rocks, and Asian spice characteristics that all flow to a medium to full-bodied, rich, concentrated, sexy 2017 that has more fruit, depth, and richness than most. The 2017 is a rough blend at the moment of 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Franc and the rest Petit Verdot, which will spend 20 months in new French oak. Rating: 92-94 Jeb Dunnuck, www.jebdunnuck.com (Apr 2018)

This is very delicate on the attack but it grows on the palate with firm and silky tannins that turn lightly chewy. Builds consistently. Compacted and tight. Rating: 94 - 95 James Suckling, www.jamessuckling.com (Apr 2018)

This is very pure and sleek in feel, with an iron note running from start to finish while cassis, cherry and damson plum fruit plays out. The long, focused finish has light bay and savory hints while letting the minerality sing. Rating: 91-94 James Molesworth, The Wine Spectator (Apr 2018)

At Calon-Ségur the warm vintage resulted in a harvest two week's ahead of the average established over the last five years. The Merlot was picked between September 15th and the 21st, followed by the two Cabernets between September 25th and the 29th, finishing with the Petit Verdot on the 29th. There was no frost of note here, and the yield was a handsome 43.5 hl/ha. Of what was picked, 45% was deemed suitable for the grand vin. In making the assemblage, Vincent Millet found it difficult to marry all his Merlot or Cabernet Franc with his old-vine Cabernet Sauvignon, and what worked best was his young-vine Cabernet Sauvignon, planted in 2006 and later, which in 2016 was used for the second wine, and before that had been in the third wine. The fruit from old vines brought density, says Vincent, while the young-vine fruit more tension and length. As a consequence, the blend this year is Cabernet-heavy, utilising the fruit from the young Cabernet Sauvignon vines for the first time. The assemblage is 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot, streets ahead of the 60% Cabernet Sauvignon used in 2016, and even the 82% Cabernet Sauvignon in 2015, provided you consider the two Cabernets together. The wine was vinified in the new cellars, a major part of the investments put in place by Suravenir, the owners since 2012, with a maceration lasting 20 days. The analyses show this to have 13.2% alcohol, with a total acidity of 3.5 g/l, and the élevage will be in 100% new oak for 20 months. This is a very serious step up from the two other wines (Marquis de Calon and Capbern); this is immediately apparent aromatically, as here we have intense red cherry fruit with dark detailing, as well as notes of grilled pips and toast, with a floral note of violets and a chalky, aromatic freshness. The palate shows a restrained substance, sinewy and firm, with very precisely drawn lines, very tightly grained and finessed tannins, almost silky in character, with a very fine wrapping of cherry-stone fruit all around. It is perfumed, with little notes of black olive, violet and juniper, very fresh, and with a long and refined grip. This is very fine indeed. Rating: 93-95 Chris Kissack, www.thewinedoctor.com (Apr 2018)

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