Château Calon Segur
Sometimes first class is not much without passion and this was the case for Nicolas – Alexandre, marquis de Segur, who owned two estates that produced first growth wines, which was classified by Emperor Napoleon in 1855.
This was a grand achievement for farmers with vineyards as it showed proof that their vineyards and the production of wine was of international standards which Napoleon intended for people from around the world to come and see as the finest wines would be on display.
Nicolas, although grateful for the estates that produced first growths was happier to be on the estate with his third growth wines as he stated that his heart was there.
The bottle today has a significant label with a heart on it due to this statement.
This estate was one of the three original vineyards in the area in the 1800’s and “Calon” means a river skiff, which was used in the middle ages to ferry timber to the Gironde Estuary.
Wine growing at the estate dates back to the 12th century, but it was only after the 18th century that the history began on this estate when Nicolas – Alexandre took ownership of the estate by means of marriage and turned it into a third classification growth estate.
The estate was owned by the Capbern Gasqueton family since 1894, they owned both the Chateau Calon Segur and Chateau Capbern Gasqueton until the death of Madam Denise Gasqueton in 2012, when it was sold to Suravenir Assurance, an insurance company that began restructuring the vineyards in 2006.
The fifty five hectare estate is the same size today and it has shown consistency of the terroir throughout the centuries.
The vineyard is made up of one single block and is completely surrounded by a stone wall with the vines delving deep into a gravel layer that was produced by the river.
This layer covers another layer that is predominantly clay. The clay and gravel soil is the reason for the fine terroir and the power behind the wines of this estate.
Cabernet Sauvignon is 90% of the vineyard and it is the backbone of the estate, the soil is ploughed in traditional ways, the crops are picked by hand and the cellar masters job is to preserve the tannins, character and aromas of the wines with ageing in oak barrels for 18 to 20 months and fining with natural egg whites.
The cellar today has replaced their old vats with new stainless steel ones that are temperature controlled and the vinification process is done with gravity.
The tasting room has a skylight which gives better light and a more spacious feel and the vineyards are being replanted to increase the density of the vines, adding more Cabernet Sauvignon.
Although the vineyards are 55 hectares, the estate only uses 45 hectares to be planted as they leave the soil to become fallow and revitalised.
Today they produce 20000 cases of wine per year and the best vintages are aged in 100% new French oak barrels for 20 months to create a richer and fuller character.
There is a second wine produced which was originally named Marquis de Calon and is now called Le Marquis de Calon Segul. The third wine is also La Chapelle de Calon, which is produced from the area of the estate where there is more limestone.
Under the new management of Laurent Dufau the wines are softer, fruiter and purer than before and the look of the estate has been kept as it was centuries ago.
A Heart to Heart about the Wines
Château Calon Segur has layers of sweet black juicy fruits, 14% alcohol with a plum filled finish.
Marquis de Calon Segur has an annual production of 120 000 bottles per year and is the second wine on offer. It is produced from grapes that have been handpicked and placed on vibrating tables for sorting; temperature controlled stainless steel tanks for fermentation and then aged for 17 months in 30% new French oak barrels with an egg white fining. This wine has a sweet blackberry hint and is made with grapes that are over 22 years old.
1949 Château Calon Segur with the aromas of tobacco, Asian spice, and earth cherry and stone, this wine ends off with a fresh cherry finish.
Château Capbern Gasqueton is a purple and a ruby red wine with a cedar, vanilla oak and blackcurrant aroma. This wine has a fresh and floral top note.
The wines that were once produced at the Château Calon Segur have changed a little since the new owner’s arrival, but the critics have written about it and have said that the wines are fuller, richer and even better than before.
Visit Château Calon Segur
It is definitely worth a visit to see the stone wall that protects the historical vineyards as the power player in the region and if that is not enough, then you can taste the wines and experience why Nicolas Segur made this estate the one where his heart was.
Editor-in-Chief and Wine Writer
Michael is an online enthusiast, with a lot of knowledge about online marketing. Traveling around the world to hunt for the perfect wine. Latest on Sicily, where Etna has a huge impact on the taste, which is strong with a bitter aftertaste for the youngest wines, but older wines are fantastic. Drinking wine, and writing about them, are one the passions. Remember to drink responsibly 🙂