Chateau Calon Segur Vertical Tasting (Crystal Wines shop, Valley Point): Again from a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Merlot and double decanted for 1.5 hours. Dark and almost opaque core with crimson hue. Nice and expressive aromas, some leafy herbal tones follow by blackcurrant, blue fruits, cherry, vanilla, perfume oak. Surprisingly fresh and attractive nose for 2003. Rich and dense on palate, a very structured wine, still not very approachable on palate, exhibits rich cassis fruit, blueberries, violet, cedar oak intermixed with some dusty, earthy notes and licorice. Long and restraint finish with ample ripe grippy tannins. Another impressive efforts with good aging potential.
My last bottle was 4yrs ago, and this is still showing rather closed and awkward unlike many '03s. Leather and funk on the shy nose. Dark fruit palate, very shy though the tannins are not and quite coarse in texture. Still very coiled up and somewhat unforgiving. Awkward and un-nuanced at this stage. Hold and hope for improvement.
On night 2 much more expressive. Smokey nose with plenty of ash anc charcoal on the palate. Fruits in the background, still of the black profile. Somewhat clipped finish. Still the most "un-'03" of any 2003 bdx I've had. Maybe needs more time?
Intense purple with good clarity. Big legs. Alcoholic nose with black fruit. Typical cab sav with very strong blackcurrant and also some liquorice. No brett/leather/graphite notes. Very pure and rounded. Lovely savoury finish with good length. Some tannin will enable it to last for another 10 years but probably hitting its peak now. Rather (top) "Australian" in character.
Took to dinner at the Tam O'Shanter. No formal notes, but I found this a bit underwhelming. This was a classic claret that paired well with prime rib. Still, I felt like it was lacking in nose, fruit, and exuberance, particularly given the vintage. Perhaps it is in a closed stage? I'm certainly willing to give another try, but would have scored this bottle in the mid- to high- 80s based on the showing tonight.
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A pristine parcel of this is floating around the US at a seriously reduced tarriff and it's an original cellar lot. If you ever wondered what 1966 Latour tasted like in youth (or even something like 1900 Margaux), this style has gone by the wayside but it should win out in the end. Wasn't Bordeaux supposed to be unfriendly and tannic after bottling? When did Bordeaux become easy to drink a month after venturing into its vessel? I'm not sure I want St. Estephe to be easy to drink in youth - I would prefer the message in the bottle to reveal itself when it feels ready to wash ashore.
This is a wine and format I am quite certain will be worth far more than its present rate if given the requisite cellar time. As the 2005s become harder to find (and as they start to age), magnums and large format will most certainly increase in value. Calon-Segur was one of the top examples of the vintage from the get-go (there was a period where it toyed with WOTV honors while aging in barrel) and only a severely closed state at the final bottle tastings prevented it from scoring among the top-tier of the vintage (1986 Las Cases was also severely closed at the final bottle tastings so keep that in mind). I will be shocked if the scores for this wine stay even close to this (you can check the original barrel scores - the wine should be in that range or higher when all is said and done) - a top buy for a magnum at this point and a potential investment:
VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED - one of the highest recommendations of the vintage:
2005 Calon Segur 1.5lt (St. Estephe)
STRICT LIMIT 6/person until we run out
...we also have a few of these - also interesting but I believe the 2005 will prevail in a decade (and the 2005 vintage will be more valuable as a whole in time):
2003 Calon Segur 1.5lt (St. Estephe)
STRICT LIMIT 6/person until we run out
Both arrive with impeccable provenance at some point this fall (they are on the water now). They will ship during the first available shipping window (weather permitting).
Jon Rimmerman Garagiste Seattle, WA
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