1928 Calon-Ségur


In 2028, assuming that I am still here (these days I never take that for granted) a reclusive millionaire-cum-wine collector will invite me to a once-in-a-lifetime horizontal tasting of the legendary 1928 vintage. I am putting this out there now, just in case that collector might be reading this Cellar Favorite and needs to know the seating plan well in advance. To whom it may concern, yes, I am available that day.

In the meantime, I have been a lucky chap. According to the Vinous database, which likes to keep a tab on these things, I have tasted 1928s from 22 Bordeaux châteaux, which is 22 more than I ever imagined. The wines were purportedly unapologetically structured and tannic on release and then matured at a glacial pace, most notably Latour that Michael Broadbent claimed took 50 years to come around.

Would today’s wine-lovers be prepared to wait that long? I doubt it.

One wine not currently on the database, at least until now, is the 1928 Calon-Ségur. I first tasted it in 2008 with former proprietor, the redoubtable “headmistress” of Saint-Estèphe, the late Mme. Gasqueton. Her husband’s grandfather Georges served as co-proprietor in 1928, with the Hanappier family. The Gasquetons were always in charge of the winemaking at Calon-Ségur, though their home was Château Capbern. Unfortunately, I found the wine rather hard and rustic, lacking the fruit to keep it in balance. Another bottle appeared at a dinner back in 2018. Maybe this would attest the euphoric review of one Robert Parker? Alas, it bore similarities to the bottle ten years earlier. A slightly musty nose of black fruit, mocha and singed leather, the palate had those mouth-gripping tannins, without the counterbalancing fruit that would render the wine balanced and pleasurable. It was drinkable for 10-15 minutes before keeling over. The moral of this story? Even bottles from famous producers in legendary vintages can sometimes fail to live up to expectations. But always live by the maxim: next time lucky. 86?/Drink 2021-2021.