The Calon Segur Vertical 2010-1982

Chateau-Calon-Segur. Image from Cocks and Feret, Bordeaux and Its Wines. 1883.

Just over one week ago I had the opportunity to taste 16 vintages of Château Calon-Ségur ranging from 2010 back to 1982.  The tasting was organized by Panos Kakaviatos who managed to convince general manager Laurent Dufau to present his wines at Ripple in Washington, DC.  The estate was recently acquired by Crédit Mutuel Arkéa and Jean-François Moueix.  They hired Laurent Dufau who informed us this was the first promotional tasting in the United States in 120 years.  I recommend you read Panos’ post Calon Segur 1982-2010: first ever promotional tasting in the US both for the background information and his perspective on the wines.  Three important facts to consider are that until 2002 the wine was bottled on two separate dates, once in the spring and once in the July to September time frame.  This fact alone introduces bottle variation.  Secondly, in 2006 Vincent Millet took over the winemaking for the estate.  Vintages prior to 2006 tend to have 50% Merlot and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon but Mr. Millet increased the Cabernet Sauvignon proportion to 80%.  He also sourced the fruit from the main 55ha vineyard.


We began the evening with glasses of Krug Champagne served by Maria Denton.  Krug might be a fixture at Panos’ Bordeaux tastings in Washington, DC and it is of good effect.  Everyone gets excited.  There were many familiar faces present including Phil Bernstein (MacArthur Beverages), Chris Bublitz, Maria and David Denton, John Gilman (View From the Cellar), Darryl Priest, Karen Taylor (France Magazine), and David White (Terroirist).   My assigned table included Kathy Morgan, Annette Schiller (Ombiasy Wine Tours), and Christian Schiller (Schiller Wine).  You may find Christian’s post here A 16-Vintage Château Calon Ségur Vertical Tasting in Washington DC, with Wine Writer Panos Kakaviatos and Laurent Dufau, Managing Director, USA/Bordeaux. All of the wines we tasted were decanted as early as 3pm so they had plenty of air.  In adding my brief comments both the 2010 and 2009 vintages have strong long-term development ahead of them.  The 2008 was drinking quite well as was the 2005 vintage, the last prior to Vincent Millet.  The later had initial notes of maturity and was just downright fun to drink.  Reaching back further the 1989 was my favorite wine of the night.  A classic mature wine.  Unfortunately, my 1982 was full of sediment as was the rest of the table.  It was decent but muted and in no way compared to the 1989.  At the very end each person received a small pour from three different bottles of Sauternes.  I have come to love Sauternes very much so it was to my delight that I discovered these bottles were still a third full at the end.  The 1986 Chateau Lafaurie-Peyraguey provided a lovely end to the evening.

Laurent Dufau and Panos Kakaviatos

Laurent Dufau and Panos Kakaviatos

2010 Château Calon-Ségur, St. Estèphe
This wine had a subtle herbaceous nose.  In the mouth were enjoyable yet firm and concentrated flavors.  There were notes of graphite and spices in the finish followed by a good aftertaste. ***(*)

2009 Château Calon-Ségur, St. Estèphe
This bore a darker nose of black cherry with some deep, meaty aromas.  The flavors were blacker with meat, a little hint of minerals, with some texture in the finish. ***(*)

2008 Château Calon-Ségur, St. Estèphe
The nose was finely scented with some toast.  In the mouth were firm cherry and black fruit flavors which were lively in the mouth.  This wine was more open, drinking well, and had good acidity. ****


2007 Château Calon-Ségur, St. Estèphe
The nose was richer and aromatic with chocolate notes and vegetal hints.  In the mouth there were initial fruit flavors then a wall of structure.  Much different than the 2006, with more green herbaceous notes. **

2006 Château Calon-Ségur, St. Estèphe
This had a very tight nose of clean fruit.  In the mouth the tight fruit had both good structure and acidity.  There were red fruit flavors which morphed into black fruit.  The wine was elegant, perfumed, and had a good mouthfeel.  A good wine. ***

2005 Château Calon-Ségur, St. Estèphe
The nose was a touch darker.  This was a fun wine with rustic flavors and chunky tannins.  Drinking really well with hints of maturity. *****


2003 Château Calon-Ségur, St. Estèphe
There was a little perfume on the nose. In the mouth were black fruit flavors, watering acidity, and presence of structure.  This well done wine mixed minerals with structure in the finish.  It had good fruit, texture, and balance.  It was rather open.  ****

2002 Château Calon-Ségur, St. Estèphe
This was a thinner wine with a little more minerals.  The flavors leaned towards the red and it still had structure.  **

2001 Château Calon-Ségur, St. Estèphe
There was a linear delivery of fruit with some tart red flavors and a touch of vegetal notes.  It bore hints of bottle age but presented a youthful aspect.  There were black minerals in the finish and red fruit which was both dense and cool.  A young wine.  ***


2000 Château Calon-Ségur, St. Estèphe
The nose was a bit earthy with spices.  In the mouth the wine was young and not showing too much.  It had powdery notes of rocks and structure in the mouth.  Clearly meant for the long-haul.  ***(*)

1999 Château Calon-Ségur, St. Estèphe
There was a good, tight nose.  The flavors were concentrated with prominent acidity and a slightly ripe finish.  This was a good, fresh wine with some baking spices and a little earth.  It was drying in the finish. ***

1998 Château Calon-Ségur, St. Estèphe
This revealed a little volatile sharpness on the nose.  In the mouth this wine came together with air.  It showed complexity with a tough, robust finish.  There were attractive black fruit and floral elements.  ****


1996 Château Calon-Ségur, St. Estèphe
This wine was fresh yet firm with some leanness wrapped around the structure.  There was black and red fruit and some spice.  Very nice. ****

1995 Château Calon-Ségur, St. Estèphe
This was more linear in delivery with acidity and more mellow blue fruit flavors.  The flavors had some weight and there was a little toast to the structure. ***

1989 Château Calon-Ségur, St. Estèphe
This bore a lovely, earthy finely scented nose with mature aromas.  In the mouth was good fruit, concentration, drying structure, and a little roast.  My wine of the night.  It had a balance between maturity and liveliness which made it a treat to drink.  ****


1982 Château Calon-Ségur, St. Estèphe
This glass full of sediment was poured from a bottle with a perfect label.  There were darker fruit notes, ripeness was there, some roast, a good wine but ultimately lacked that extra dimension. ***


1986 Chateau Lafaurie-Peyraguey, Sauternes
This had the lightest color the three Sauternes.  There were apricot and floral notes.  The residual sugar and acidity were balanced with some crispness to the wine.  The apricot flavors became sharper towards the finish.  Drinking well now.  ****.

1989 Chateau Rieussec, Sauternes
This had a piercing nose followed by sharpness in the mouth.  This bottle was not showing well. NR.

2001 Raymond-Lafon, Sauternes
This had a slightly candied aroma followed by sweeter flavors and more obvious residual sugar with less acidity.  The flavors leaned towards marmelade.  ***


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  1. January 30, 2014 at 8:01 am

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