Château Calon Ségur

An air of eternity permeates Calon Ségur. Perhaps because it is one of the oldest estates in the Médoc, or perhaps because its most emblematic owner, the Marquis de Ségur, built an absolute legend around Calon.

Historians date the origins of Calon back to the Gallo-Roman era. Its name is derived from the term “calones”, which were the small transport boats that travelled up and down the Gironde estuary. Wine growing at the estate can be traced back to the 12th century, but it was in the 18th century, at the time of Nicolas-Alexandre the Marquis de Ségur, who also owned Châteaux Latour, Lafite and Mouton, that the finest chapter of the property’s history was written. Calon thereafter was to be known as Calon Ségur.

The estate acquired the rank of Third Growth in the famous 1855 classification. From 1894 to 2012, Calon’s owners, the Gasqueton family, preserved the estate’s identity with sobriety and elegance. Today, Château Calon Ségur and Château Capbern Gasqueton, are owned by the Suravenir company, a subsidiary of the banking group Crédit Mutuel Arkéa headed by Jean-Pierre Denis. The insurance company joined forces with the Videlot group. Together, they are leading an extensive programme of renovation, which will at the same time carefully preserve the estate’s historic values. Château Calon Ségur’s wonderful heritage is in safe hands.

Fifty-five hectares (136 acres) at the time of the 1855 classification, fifty-five hectares today: the estate is a rare example of consistency of terroir over the centuries. The vineyard is made up of one single block adjacent to the village of Saint-Estèphe. Unique in the Médoc, it is completely surrounded by a stone wall. Inside, closest to the château, this “enclos” groups together the most famous plots of Calon. There are very few geological models that can be compared with the terroir of Calon Ségur. The vines delve down into a deep gravel layer that was deposited there by the river. This layer covers another that is predominantly clay. This combination of clay and gravel soils is one of the main reasons for the power and finesse displayed in the wines of Calon Ségur.

Calon Ségur, Cabernet Sauvignon. There is something within the shared initials that won’t deceive you. Cabernet Sauvignon is the backbone of Calon Ségur. This grape variety makes up over three-quarters of the blend, and in great years its proportion can be as high as 90%. No great wines can ever be made without constant and meticulous care of the vines. The soils are ploughed in the time-honoured tradition. From spring to autumn, vine canopy management tasks are done by large numbers of vineyard personnel. The crop is picked by hand at perfect ripeness. At Calon, finesse is a priority.

On this superb Saint-Estèphe terroir, power is a given. There’s no need to add any more. The cellarmaster’s job is to preserve the softness in the tannins, the freshness of flavour and the natural character in the aromas. In short, he must respect the raw material picked from the vines. The wine is aged in new oak barrels for 18 to 20 months. Fining with natural egg whites was reintroduced a few years ago. The Grand Vin of Calon Ségur is the mirror image of its terroir: rare, authentic, moving. With great ease, it reveals both lovely softness and amazing intensity. All of the magic of Calon is in this balance.
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