Calon Ségur was wearing a smile on its face during this dazzling, sweet-scented late spring. In their smart suits and brightly-coloured silk stoles, the guests gathered excitedly at the doors of the newly-renovated Chartreuse. It was a time for celebration, the titanic renovation works had been completed, and all were eager to see the face of a property displaying all its splendour. On long white tables, just as in an art gallery, the vintages of the last three decades were standing, waiting to be poured.
It had been exactly thirty years since they’d last seen each other. The young reporter with the velvety eyes and the trainee œnologist with the candid smile. She, a globetrotting New Yorker; he, a local guy, Médocain through and through, both of them crazy about great wines.
They had met in the cellars of Calon during a tasting. Scribbling down, out of habit, a few tannin-stained tasting comments and smiling more and more with each new glass they had been handed, they had ended up agreeing on what in their opinion gave a wine its soul, on how these moments had a special flavour, and how power was beautiful when allied to tenderness, something that sent a shiver down their spines, before they turned and departed their separate ways.
Today, thirty years later, in the shimmering splendour of a re-discovered Calon, their paths crossed once again. As they met, they looked long into each other’s eyes, for a second; perhaps for eternity. He advanced, as he had done all that time ago. His smile radiated. Pleasantries were exchanged, and the first tentative words were uttered. Their complicity soon returned. Suddenly, it felt like only yesterday, as if each year that had passed only counted as a second. As the sun began to set over a wide gilded horizon, and the crowds started to wend their way towards the gardens, they exchanged a complicit glance and lingered at the tasting table.
“He continued in a careful, measured tone:
“We’ve just seen four vintages that were typical of the wines Calon made in the 60s, 70s and 80s.
All of them quite light but appealing, charming and naturally concentrated.
As from 1995, a new technical manager. Nicolas Labenne, arrived at Calon.”
She held out her glass which, as the wine was poured into it, immediately shone with deep, dark overtones.
“You can tell just from the colour that this wine has good body and tannins.
On the palate, it’s very solid. The tannins are still young and haven’t yet softened out.
A lovely spicy fruit is starting to come through now. But will all those tannins allow the wine to open out?”
“I don’t know. This vintage marks the beginning of a radically different style, with a more intense extraction.
And at the same time, the barrel ageing time has changed from 24 to 18 months.”
“So it’s more typical of Saint-Estèphe than Calon?”
“You could be right. We’ll have to wait some time before knowing for sure.”