The heritage

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 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 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 Classified 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, 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.

The men

“I make wine at Lafite and Latour,
but
my heart is at Calon.”
Nicolas-Alexandre, Marquis de Ségur (1697-1755)

Make no mistake, Jean-Pierre Denis’s succumbing to the charms of Calon Ségur was, above all, the carefully thought-through decision of a bank that operates in the real economy and chooses to invest for the long term. This businessman, however, is no stranger to the world of wine. He first developed an interest in wine at the age of 35. “A late conversion but sincere and complete”, he says. As much a collector as a winelover, he has a preference for the wines of Bordeaux.

To manage the estate, he has chosen Laurent Dufau, a Médocain born and bred, and the grandson of a wine-grower. For Laurent Dufau, it is an exciting challenge both on a technical and a human level, and he is supported at the estate by a committed team, loyal to the spirit of Calon.

The technical management remains in the hands of Vincent Millet, who was recruited by Denise Gasqueton in 2006. When first taking up his new post, he set about defining an ambitious restructuring of the vineyard. His professional mission is to bring out the quintessential character of this historic terroir.

The magic of a walled vineyard

Calon Ségur, Cabernet sauvignon.
There is something
within its shared initials that won’t deceive you.

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 which 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.

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.

The wine

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 the magic of Calon is in this balance.

The Second Wine : Marquis de Calon
The estate’s Second Wine is a different expression of the Calon terroir. With an average proportion of 75% Merlot in the blend, it is enjoyable to drink in the immediate term and exhibits a warm and velvety character. It is aged in barrels, a third of which are new, for up to 18 months.

Technical sheets

A project

Saint-Estèphe, the 10th of January 2016

Seasons come and go, and the long history of Calon lives on. New chapters of its story are being written, as the building works gain momentum. The renovations are now in full swing : a new vat cellar is being erected, the chartreuse is ready for a new lease of life, and the plants in the gardens are already rampant.

Three centuries after the marquis de Ségur declared his love for the favourite of his growths, a new air of eternity is being bestowed on Calon.

The seasons pass, and the estate continues its “ grand œuvre ”.

A REINVIGORATED VINEYARD

The aim is to perfect the vineyard wherever it is possible to do so.

The restructuring of the vineyard, which was begun by Vincent Millet in 2006, is ongoing and focuses on two major objectives : to increase the density of vine plantation and to increase the surface area of Cabernet Sauvignon.

In the vineyard, the proportion of Cabernet Sauvignon, the very essence of the grand vin, will reach 70% by 2028. This replanting is complemented by massal and clonal selections that aim to preserve and diversify the genetic heritage of the grape varieties. This large-scale programme will enhance the individuality and complexity of the estate’s wines.

An agricultural engineer was hired in order to complete the team. She has, among other, taken part in setting up an environmental programme in partnership with the Conseil Interprofessionnel du Vin de Bordeaux (CIVB). The aim is to create a management tool which ensures the optimisation of water and energy resources, the reduction of inputs, the managing and recovering of waste and effluents, the pooling of services and the preservation of biodiversity.

“ Domaine de calon ”

Domaine de Calon - 33180 Saint-Estèphe

Calon Ségur’s postal address leaves no doubt as to its geographical location. For centuries, Calon Ségur has been organised like a vast country estate with its farm buildings, driveways, plots and gardens stretching around its chartreuse.
As the works progress, Calon Ségur is reasserting that estate spirit. Inside the chartreuse, the lights are getting ready to shine again. The towers are coming to life. The stone stairs and the bedrooms look eager to welcome their first guests. Through the windows, with their restored rounded forms, the redesigned gardens catch the eye in a fairy-tale French setting.
The cellars come into view a short distance away and do so without disturbing the gentle harmony of the vineyards’ gravel mounds. The roof tiles, the “Gironde” cut stones of the buildings and the wood set off the timeless charm of the place.
These buildings, with their attractive mix of simplicity and natural materials, house the most high-performing technical equipment. In the vat cellar, the sizes of the latest tronconical stainless steel tanks have been geared to meet the exact requirements for carrying out plot by plot and intra-plot grape selection. The number of vats has been doubled. In fairy-tale fashion, an underground passage connects the vat cellar with the barrel cellars. The latter are now bigger, more attractive and more functional.
The whole of the vinification process is now carried out with a gravity-flow system. Pumps are no longer needed, and the berries are guaranteed to remain perfectly intact during their transfer from the sorting table to the vat.

New packaging

Clarity in the range

In the great tradition of the Bordeaux wine market, the estate takes all the necessary time to meet up with Bordeaux négociants and their clients. This regular groundwork has recently been combined with a redefining of the range.

Since the 2013 vintage, the three wines of Calon Ségur have been refocused to provide more clarity and coherence.

A First Wine with its hallmark of timeless elegance, a Second Wine identified as such, and an attractive, seductive Third Wine have been the main changes sought by merchants and wine lovers.

The neighbouring growth, Château Capbern Gasqueton, has become Château Capbern. Its identity now has a stronger focus.

The redesigning of the range has been accompanied by a reworking of the whole of the estate’s packaging. Bottles, corks, capsules, wooden and cardboard cases have benefited from enhanced packaging design, both in terms of attractiveness and the choice of raw materials.