With the campaign now in full swing, today also sees the release of Ch Calon Segur, the sweetheart of St Estephe, and certainly one of the most sought after wines of the vintage, at £380 per 6, and their second wine, Marquis de Calon, at £228 per 12.
Château Calon-Ségur, the most northerly of the Médoc Grand Crus Classés, is a contender for the oldest property in St Estèphe. In the 18th century it came to be owned by Nicolas Alexandre de Ségur who also owned Ch Latour and Ch Lafite, and is famously quoted as having said: “I make my wine at Lafite and Latour, but my heart is in Calon.” That quote remains engraved on the label of Château Calon Ségur, whilst the drawing of a heart is still featured on the estate’s logo.
Always one of the most pleasurable visits on our annual buying trip, the 2016 was one of our St Estèphe highlights En Primeur continuing a run of fine form from this third growth château. Their new cellar has been in operation since the 2016 harvest after two years of works, and clearly this has contributed to a wine of exquisite beauty and pure class.
The 2016 Calon-Ségur, may well turn out to be the best vintage ever from this historic chateau and has been greeted rapturously by the critics:
“This is easily the best Calon-Ségur that I have tasted from barrel.” 95-97 points, Neal Martin
“Wow. This is the Calon we have been waiting for!” 98-99 points, James Suckling
“Don’t miss it! As of today, the best Saint-Estèphe wine of the vintage.” 94-97 points, Antonio Galloni
This is certainly one of those great vintages that will age well for many years in bottle. While the Calon itself will be in very short supply, why not try the excellent second wine – brilliant terroir, brilliant wine-making, brilliant appellation in this vintage.
Ch Calon-Ségur 3ème Cru St Estèphe 2016
£380.00 per 6 bottles IB
£390.00 per 3 magnums IB
The new regime at Calon-Ségur, under the careful guidance of Laurent Duffau, goes from strength to strength. This glorious 2016 highlights St Estèphe’s success in this vintage. Deep purple in colour, with perfumed aromas of violets and dark summer fruits. A very harmonious style balancing intense Cabernet flavours with some luscious Merlot sweetness. Mouth filling with many layers, it is destined to give huge pleasure. It is little surprise that historical owner, the Marquis de Calon, said that, despite also owning Lafite and Latour, his heart always lay at Calon-Ségur. Drink 2024-2039. 93-95 points, Goedhuis & Co
It has a very elegant bouquet, very pure with small macerated black cherries, blueberry, a hint of licorices and juniper berries, all effortlessly detailed and exuding what I term “controlled opulence.” The palate is medium-bodied with a sense of symmetry on the entry, the acidity very well judged and the tannins far less rustic than the Calon-Ségurs of old. What I like about this Calon-Ségur is that it could not come from anywhere apart from Saint Estèphe: that structure, that obduracy counterbalanced by the opulence bestowed by the growing season. There is freshness locked in here from start to finish, with a subtle tang of seaweed and black pepper on the long aftertaste. For me this is a serious step up from the 2015, and the structure augurs a Calon-Ségur destined to last as long as those legendary wines from the 1920s and 1940s. Chapeau to winemaker Vincent Millet and estate director Laurent Dufau. This is easily the best Calon-Ségur that I have tasted from barrel. Drink Date 2026 – 2060. 95-97 points, Neal Martin
Rich, deep, glowing purplish crimson. Pungent and really interesting and layered on the nose already. Creamy texture and massive energy. Lots of tannin but all beautifully balanced. This is seriously intriguing rather than just ticking boxes. Glows on the end. Old-vine influence – really gives layers and intrigue. Sweetness of tannin. But the freshness really lifts it. 14% Drink 2028-2055. 18.5 points, Jancis Robinson
Wow. This is the Calon we have been waiting for! Intensity and power. Chewy and polished tannins. Full body, great depth. It goes on for minutes. Shows a classic, historical character that really excites me. The essence of this estate and St.-Estèphe. Best ever? 98-99 points, James Suckling
The 2016 Calon Ségur is dense, powerful and radiant. Even so, it possesses striking aromatic intensity. Much of that no doubt comes from the Cabernet Franc. Sweet red cherry, plum, spice, mint and rose petal build into the silky, textured finish. In 2016, Calon Ségur is all class. There is quite a bit of tannin (more than 2014 and 2015) but the tannins are totally woven into the wine’s fabric. The 2016 is not an explosive or obvious Calon, but rather a wine of exquisite beauty and pure class. Don’t miss it! As of today, the best Saint-Estèphe wine of the vintage. 94-97 points, Antonio Galloni
There is stunning balance and even a little exoticism here. This is a rich, full, bold Calon with momentum, freshness and lift. Stunningly forward with cassis fruit leading the way this is a lovely, clean, robust and structured wine which will age perfectly. Winemaker Vincent Millet explained that this vintage stands alone as a marker for the future because the weather conditions resemble nothing from the past. I believe that it is a truly great Calon. 18.5+ points, Matthew Jukes
Maybe it’s taken a vintage or two for the new installations to bed in at Calon, because this is a superb expression of the estate that’s as good as anything I’ve tasted from Vincent Millet. The high percentage of Cabernet Franc gives the wine remarkable lift and perfume, adding top notes to the structured, savoury, dark-fruited core. 2024-36. 98 points, Tim Atkin
Marquis de Calon St Estèphe 2016
£228.00 per 12 bottles IB
£238.00 per 6 magnums IB
The 2016 Le Marquis de Calon Ségur is a gorgeous, exotically beautiful wine. Succulent dark fruit, lavender, mint, white flowers and blood orange create an incredibly appealing interplay of ripeness and freshness. Stylistically, the 2016 recalls the ripe, opulent style of the 2014, but with a bit less of that wine’s unctuousness. 90-93, Antonio Galloni
The 2016 Marquis de Calon-Segur is a blend of 55% Merlot and 45% Cabernet Sauvignon this year, picked at 42 hectoliters per hectare and matured in 30% new oak. It has an opulent bouquet with blackberry and a smudge of boysenberry jam, perhaps not with the delineation of let’s say, the La Dame de Montrose, yet undeniably pure. The palate is medium-bodied with a surprisingly firm structure given the dominance of the Merlot, with grainy tannin and superb freshness. I have a sneaky feeling that this Deuxième Vin might last a lot longer than people will allow it. 89-91, Neal Martin
Dark berry, tar and stone character. Medium to full body, firm and silky tannins and a flavorful finish. Balance and intensity. Very pretty density. Pretty fruit. Second wine of Calon. 92-93, James Suckling
55% Merlot, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon. Young Cabernet Sauvignon (planted 2007-2010) are in this wine for the first time which Vincent Millet thinks add gravitas. Very sweet and broad – rather like a particularly ripe Bolgheri wine on the nose! Very sweet and luscious. A good restaurant wine. Round tannins and lots of freshness. Very salivatory. 14.2% Drink 2025-2038 17+, Jancis Robinson
A beautifully vibrant violet colour with tight, sappy, dark fruits that grip right through the palate. This is a beautifully mouthwatering second wine from 55% Merlot and 45% Cabernet Sauvignon aged in 30% new oak for 17 months. The young vines suffered somewhat in 2016 with the drought, and many that were blended into the grand vin in 2015 (70% Merlot) did not make it in 2016. 91 points, Jane Anson, Decanter
There is more young Cabernet Sauvignon in this wine for the first time because the grapes were very ripe. The reason for including them is because it brought more freshness and definition to the blend. Lovely and mouth-coating and with very smart length and it far exceeds the quality other most other second wines of this price not least because it will mature well. 17+, Matthew Jukes
A deeply coloured, focused, well structured second wine which reflects very well on the Grand Vin, this is firmer and slightly more concentrated, with a little less perfume than Calon itself, layers of dense plum and cassis fruit and vivid acidity. 2024-32 93 points, Tim Atkin