Saturated ruby-red. Pure, highly perfumed aromas of black cherry, currant, plum, minerals, tobacco, leather and fresh herbs. Very ripe, suave and spicy; at once subtle and gripping. Lovely Cabernet character dominating today. Very firm, long finish is youthful but not hard-edged. Showing extremely well. (ST) 93+
Along with the 2001, the 1996 vintage at Calon-Ségur is one of my favorite from the Merlot-centric era at the estate, probably because the vintage favored Cabernet Sauvignon so clearly in the Médoc and a bit more of this grape was included in the blend at Calon in this vintage. The bouquet is deep, vibrant and youthfully precise, wafting from the glass in a mix of cassis, dark berries, cigar ash, dark soil tones, a touch of curry and a gentle framing of cedary wood. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and impressively tangy, with a fine core of fruit, currently a quite tightly-knit personality, well-integrated tannins and very, very good length and grip on the focused and still quite youthful finish. This is going to be a lovely wine in another eight to ten years’ time and should prove to be quite long-lived. I love to imagine what the current team at Calon would have done with a vintage such as 1996 today!
Tasted at the château, the 1996 Calon Segur is a blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc, 25% Merlot and 3% Petit Verdot. This was always a feted wine in its youth by Robert Parker and myself. Now at 20 years of age there is fine delineation on the nose with more detail than the 1986 tasted alongside. The oak is a little more present here (50% in this vintage) married with plenty of redcurrant, cedar, loam and undergrowth aromas. These aromatics can develop further. The palate is medium-bodied with grippy tannin on the entry, perhaps one of the most youthful and backward of the 1996s that I tasted during my visits. It feels firm in the mouth, masculine, very Saint Estèphe. (NM)
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