The 2019 Calon Segur lacks the luster of Phelan-Segur on the nose, though there is good concentration, black fruit commingling with melted tar and pencil box. The palate is medium-bodied with grainy tannins, fresh with pliant tannins, cohering nicely towards the finish that has ample flesh. Lovely texture with a persistent white pepper tinged finish. Not quite achieving the heights just after bottling, yet this Saint-Estephe is heading in the right direction. Tasted blind at the Southwold annual tasting.
Anticipated maturity: 2026-2050
Robert Parker 93
Vincent Millet (who can boast a doctorate in wine microbiology and who took up his post as Calon’s technical director after a stint at Chateau Margaux) is doing everything right in terms of restructuring the estate’s somewhat neglected vineyards with massal selections, higher density plantings, cover crops and precision viticulture. He’s also cleaned up and modernized the winery. The 2019 Calon-Segur shows the impact of some of those changes already, offering up a rich bouquet of creme de cassis, licorice, warm spices and subtle hints of cigar box, followed by a full-bodied, broad and fleshy palate that’s deep and concentrated, with lively acids and beautifully refined tannins. All this is very impressive, but the fly in the ointment is an alcohol level that flirts with 15% and makes itself felt on the warm, liqueured finish. Balance isn’t a matter of mere numbers, of course, but despite its admirable qualities and the serious work behind it, I do have reservations about this wine’s ultimate equilibrium. Time will tell. The good news is that Millet is actively exploring viticultural strategies to mitigate high alcohol levels.
Anticipated maturity: 2025-2055