A Valentine’s Day Red
Elin McCoy's Wine of the Week
2004 Château Calon Ségur
Region: Bordeaux, France
Grape: 60 percent cabernet sauvignon, 30 percent merlot, 10 percent cabernet franc
Serve: Duck, roast lamb
If you want a wine on the candlelit table that will trumpet your affection, this bordeaux with a big heart on its label can’t be beat. The 2004 Calon Ségur is medium weight, succulent and elegant, with sweet currant and earth flavors and plenty of fruit aromas. A delicious classic that’s ready to drink right now, it’s also a serious wine that will age well, which makes it a fitting symbol for long-lasting love.
The château, with extensive gardens and a vineyard mostly enclosed by stone walls, lies in the appellation of Saint-Estèphe in the northern part of the Médoc region on Bordeaux’s Left Bank. In the famous 1855 classification, it was deemed a third growth and merits the ranking. The property has a long history, dating to the Middle Ages, but the heart on the label supposedly came from an emotional statement attributed to its 18th century owner, the Marquis de Ségur: “I make my wine at Lafite and Latour, but my heart is at Calon.”
Saint-Estèphe once had the reputation of producing brooding, rustic, tannic wines. But in recent years many producers have been trying to make a more supple, approachable style of wine, and have been increasing the percentage of merlot in the blends. The formidable Madame Denise Capbern-Gasqueton, who presides over Calon Ségur, preserves a traditional style of winemaking that’s hardly high-tech, but the wines are sophisticated, with a wonderful purity of fruit.
Because 2004 was not a year that got a lot of buzz, this wine, like others from the vintage, is a very good value for money — it costs about half the price of the powerful Calon Ségurs from 2000, 2005 and 2009.
In China and Japan, giving this wine is a romantic gesture, no matter the day of the year. For a grand finale, enjoy the last glass with a bite of dark, not-too-sweet artisanal chocolate.
Zester Daily contributor Elin McCoy is a wine and spirits columnist and author of “The Emperor of Wine: The Rise of Robert M. Parker, Jr. and the Reign of American Taste.”