x
  • Country ranking ?

    5 134
  • Producer ranking ?

    29
  • Decanting time

    2h
  • When to drink

    now to 2030
  • Food Pairing

    Beef

The Tb points given to this wine are the world’s most valid and most up-to-date evaluation of the quality of the wine. Tastingbook points are formed by the Tastingbook algorithm which takes into account the wine ratings of the world's 50 best-known professional wine critics, wine ratings by thousands of tastingbook’s professionals and users, the generally recognised vintage quality and reputation of the vineyard and winery. Wine needs at least five professional ratings to get the Tb score. Tastingbook.com is the world's largest wine information service which is an unbiased, non-commercial and free for everyone.

Read more
Close

The Story

Fifty-five hectares (136 acres) at the time of the 1855 classification, fifty-five hectares today: the estate is a rare example of consistency of terroir over the centuries.

The vineyard is made up of one single block adjacent to the village of Saint-Estèphe. Unique in the Médoc, it is completely surrounded by a stone wall. Inside, closest to the château, this “enclos” groups together the most famous plots of Calon.

There are very few geological models that can be compared with the terroir of Calon Ségur. The vines delve down into a deep gravel layer that was deposited there by the river. This layer covers another which is predominantly clay. This combination of clay and gravel soils is one of the main reasons for the power and finesse displayed in the wines of Calon Ségur.

Cabernet Sauvignon is the backbone of Calon Ségur. This grape variety makes up over three-quarters of the blend, and in great years its proportion can be as high as 90%.

No great wines can ever be made without constant and meticulous care of the vines. The soils are ploughed in the time-honoured tradition. From spring to autumn, vine canopy management tasks are done by large numbers of vineyard personnel. The crop is picked by hand at perfect ripeness.

 

APPELLATION Saint-Estèphe.
Third classified Growth in 1855.
CONSULTANT ŒNOLOGIST Éric Boissenot.
SOIL A thick layer of gravel laid down during the Quaternary Period. Predominantly clay 
sub-soil from the Tertiary Period. At the summit of the gravel deposits, there is also 
a fine layer of clay of lacustrine origin.
VINEYARD AREA 55 ha (136 acres).
AREA IN PRODUCTION 45 ha (50 ha planted).
GRAPE VARIETIES 53% Cabernet sauvignon, 38% Merlot, 7% Cabernet franc, 2% petit Verdot.
AVERAGE AGE OF THE VINES 22 years.
TRAINING METHOD Double Guyot.
PLANTING DENSITY 8,000 vines/ha.
TARGET YIELD 45 hl/ha.
HARVEST Hand picking. A first selection of grapes on the vine. Mechanical sorting of the grapes by vibration, followed by hand sorting.
VINIFICATION Temperature-controlled conical stainless-steel tanks. Maceration for 18 to 21 days.
AGEING 18 to 20 months, 30% new barrels. 
Fining with egg white.
AVERAGE ANNUAL PRODUCTION Around 80,000 bottles.
 

Read more
Close

Wine Information

1961 was to become the decade’s and one of the century’s most adored vintages of Bordeaux red wines

Despite a frost in March, the growing season started on time and well. The frost combined with weak pollination caused by poor weather reduced the crop volume significantly.  July’s rains gave way to drier weather in August, and September bathed Bordeaux in beautiful sunshine. The grapes were small, thick-skinned and extremely concentrated, much as they were in 1928 and 1945. However, unlike these earlier vintages, the vineyard now had at its disposal new technologies and equipment, which made it possible for the wines to be produced with greater subtlety, thus avoiding such problems as excessive tannicity. On the whole, excellent wines, both red and white, were produced in Bordeaux. Even though the vintage was a red, very good dry whites and Sauternes were also produced. The reds are eminently drinkable right now, although the Château Latour vintage will just get better with age.  Most of the 1961 vintage's good wines shared an uncommon elegance and balance, not to mention a massive rise in price in recent years. The finest wines should be decanted for at least 2-3 hours before drinking. This is also one of those rare years, during which wholesaler bottling is almost qualitatively on a par with vineyard bottling, even if the price points are not.

Read more
Close

Vintage 1961

1961 - the greatest Bordeaux vintage ever?

I’m writing this during the en primeur campaign and notice that the Bordelais château-owners and négociants have been unusually quiet this year. I have followed this part of the market from a distance for close to 30 years now and have been told about a large number of “vintages of the century”. After the wines have been bottled and sold or the other way round, as the case is in Bordeaux, these claims tend to be modified.

Who are the serious contenders for the title “The Greatest Vintage Ever”?

During the 19th century there were a number of vintages with a great reputation made from pre-phylloxera vines. These include the legendary “Comet vintage” 1811, 1864, 1865, 1870, 1893, 1895 and 1899. Most are too old for anyone now alive to have tasted them at their peak.

During the 20th century claims have been raised for the vintages 1900, 1921, 1929, 1945, 1947, 1949 (by me), 1959, 1961, 1982, 1989 and 1990.In the present century already three out the eight vintages produced – 2000, 2003 and 2005 – have been mentioned by an overly excited wine press as candidates for the title, as well as the superb duo - 2009 and 2010.

In the book “The 1,000 Finest Wines Ever Made” 1961 is the Bordeaux vintage mentioned most often, with 22 châteaux. 1945 is mentioned 19 times, 1947 16 times, 1982 14 times and 1959 13 times.

What is the definition of a great wine?

It is a wine that has an extra dimension giving you an unforgettable drinking experience – in other words, a “Wow!” effect. It is a wine that has a long drinking span. It has to be good to drink young, but it must also be able to age for a long time without losing its attractiveness.A good vintage produces wines fulfilling these requirements.

A great vintage, however, is equally good in all major regions of Bordeaux, both on the left and right bank. It is also a vintage where something special was produced in all the different appellations, from the lowest Cru Bourgeois to the mightiest Premier Cru.

1961 fulfils these requirements better than any other vintage.

It was the vintage where the most incompetent winemaker just couldn’t make a poor wine and the wines drank very well at an early stage; in most cases they still do so to this very day.

Some extremely impressive wines were produced in 1945, but these were mainly from the left bank and a large number of the wines had excessively high tannin levels, which made them increasingly dry as they aged.

1947 produced the most stunning wines on the right bank but many wines on the left bank had problems with volatile acidity.

1959 produced a number of wines that are at the same level and sometimes even a bit higher than the corresponding '61s, and some experienced wine critics like Michel Bettane prefer 1959 to 1961. But 1959 doesn't have the same consistent quality at all levels.

1982 undoubtedly produced many very impressive wines but I feel that the wines from the right bank lack structure and have not aged very well and only very few wines from Margaux and Médoc were a great success.The twin vintages of 1989 and 1990, or 2009 and 2010 may come closest in overall quality, but it is too early to judge their ageing abilities yet.

 

What made 1961 so special?

It was a very small crop, the smallest since the Second World War. This was partly due to coulure (cold weather at the time of flowering) and in some parts because of frost on the night between 30th and 31st of May, together reducing the yield per vine to about a third of the usual size at that time (which, compared to today’s harvests, seems miniscule). This concentrated the minerals and potency of the vine amongst the few remaining grapes and was the reason for the success of minor châteaux, which would normally produce much higher yields than would be good for their wines.

August and September were both hot and extremely dry. This drought caused the ripening to take longer than the usually mandated 100 days. The harvest was delayed until 22 September, but enjoyed perfect conditions. Because of better cellaring techniques the wine-makers avoided the hard tannins of 1945 and the volatility of the 1947s. The wines have a very deep colour, a seductive nose and full-bodied, concentrated mature fruitiness, with enough tannins and acidity to give the wines structure and freshness.

I arranged a major tasting of more than sixty 1961s in 1989 and all the wines were very good, even from minor châteaux or from more famous properties that had not produced anything worthwhile for a very long time and some that have not done it to this day.

I also arranged a tasting, together with Dr. Peter Baumann, of fifty wines in November 2001. I had expected a large number of these to now be over their zenith but was amazed to see that many had not seemed to age at all during these intervening 12 years. With very few exceptions they were still very much alive.

 

The wines:

Margaux and Médoc

This is usually the most variable and disappointing group at any horizontal tasting with a large number of underperforming châteaux.

The star of this group and a serious candidate for the wine of the vintage is Château Palmer.

It first reached fame in 1978 as it won the famous Dr. Taam tasting in Holland. It is a precocious wine that was drinkable before most premier crus had softened and many tasters have underestimated its longevity. I remember arranging a tasting for Château Palmer in 1995 where I decanted the wine just before the tasting, believing it to be past its best. It did not show very well so Peter Sichel, the co-owner of Château Palmer, suggested that we decant the bottles planned for dinner five hours before serving them. It had then fully opened up showing all its softness and warmth coupled with power and strength for a long life. One of the best wines after Palmer and Château Margaux, which will be covered in the group of the premier crus, is Malescot St. Exupéry. Brane Cantenac, Giscours, Cantemerle and La Lagune are all still good but need to be drank soon.

 

Graves

La Mission Haut Brion is a fantastic wine, more powerful and concentrated than the soft and charming Haut Brion. Other very good ones include La Tour Haut Brion, Domaine de Chevalier, Haut Bailly and Pape Clément.

 

St. Estéphe

Cos d'Estournel is very good, Montrose is now shedding its tannins, whereas Calon Ségur needs drinking, having given much joy over the years.

 

St. Emilion

1961 is one vintage where I prefer Figeac to Cheval Blanc; both are very good but Figeac shows more complexity and elegance. I prefer Cheval Blanc's '64 to its '61. Ausone and Canon are both lovely elegant wines but they do not have the concentration of a top '61. Two very underrated wines are L'Arrosée and La Gaffelière – both are very impressive and still bargains if you are lucky enough to find them.

 

Pomerol

The two rarest and most expensive wines from '61 both come from Pomerol. Pétrus and Latour-á-Pomerol. Both are tremendously impressive – Latour-á-Pomerol with great sweetness, richness and concentration. Pétrus with similar richness but with even more power and structure. I have never had the pleasure of drinking these two giants next to one another but expect Pétrus to have the longer life expectancy. Vieux Château Certan is a wonderful mature wine, as is Lafleur. A wine I have also found very good over the years is Château Gazin. It did then include grapes from a parcel of the best part of Pomerol, now belonging to Château Pétrus. I don't have any tasting notes on Trotanoy or L'Evangile, but both have a great reputation.

 

St. Julien

My personal favourite here is Ducru Beaucaillou, possibly the most elegant of all wines. I have drunk it twice this year, and it was not showing any signs of ageing at all. It is closely followed by Gruaud Larose and Léoville Las Cases, both very impressive. Léoville and Langoa Barton did not have a very good period then and are, like Léoville Poyferré, disappointing for the vintage. Talbot and Branair Ducru are good but need drinking soon.

 

Pauillac

Both Pichons are good but I prefer Pichon Baron as it has more structure and concentration than the slightly overripe Pichon Lalande. Lynch Bages is still very good just like Pontet Canet. Pontet Canet was bottled by several négociants, and the one to drink is the Cruse-bottling which was the unofficial château bottling at the time.

 

The Premier Crus

The star here is Château Latour. It is the most majestic of wines and the wine that will become the new collectors’ item for millionaires as Mouton '45 and Cheval Blanc '47 start to fade away.

It has great concentration of cabernet fruit with a firm tannic structure. Truly an iron fist in a silk glove, only now opening up to reveal its true greatness. It is also the wine that was ranked in first place in “The 1,000 Finest Wines Ever Made”.

Château Margaux made its finest wine since the legendary 1900 and it is still wonderful to drink. Mouton is a luscious wine on a par with its wonderful '59.

Haut Brion is soft and lovely but not as great as its '59. Lafite shows big bottle variation as it was still bottled from cask to cask at the time and over a long period. At its best it is very fine and delicate with little power but great elegance, at its worst it is a tired wine with no body or fruit left.

Unfortunately great quality coupled with small quantity always leads to high prices, and this is particularly the case with the 1961 Bordeaux. However, all true winelovers should have at least once in their lifetime have drunk a good '61 to know what a perfect claret can taste like. 

Jan-Erik Paulson

READ ALSO NEAL MARTIN*S ARTICLE ABOUT 1961 VINTAGE

Read more
Close

Latest Pro-tasting notes

<10 tasting notes

Tasting note

color

Light, Brick red and Dark

ending

Long, Smooth and Lingering

flavors

Earthy, Blackcurrant, Mint, Licorice, Tar and Coffee

nose

Open, Rich, Complex and Ripe

recommend

Yes

taste

Average in Acidity, Medium tannin, Balanced, Well-Integrated, Well-structured, Developing, Medium-bodied, Refined, Harmonious, Elegant and Silky tannins

Verdict

Sophisticated and Well-rounded

Written Notes

Rather dark, amber colour. Powerful, spicy nose with tar, bouillon and liquorice. Really elegant taste. Medium-to-full-bodied and refined fruity taste supported by stylish tannins and acidity that gives dimension. Still a very enjoyable wine, but not in its prime any longer.
  • 90p

The 1961 Calon-Ségur has never really been the greatest Saint Estèphe and I have tended to prefer the 1959. Showing some bricking on the rim, it has a mature and rather bucolic bouquet, light cedar and forest floor aromas. The palate is medium-bodied with firm; grippy tannin, although you wish there was more fruit. It feels quite advanced towards the finish with a long mushroomy aftertaste. Bottles in larger formats and perfect provenance might be interesting but bottles should be consumed in the near future. Tasted at an off-line dinner in London.

  • 86p
Low shoulder fill I'm told, ruby with orange rim. Leather, cassis, prunes, figs, slightly dusty, intense, layered and complex. Fresh acidity, few tannins, elegant, lovely texture, fresh and delicate for the vintage, nuanced, slightly drying finish, long. 94
  • 94p
From the glory days of the Chateau when longevity was a trademark, the nose was simply captivating. Plum, cherries, marzipan, coffee, some topsoil, all in a brilliant mélange. There is an opening richness, yet so exquisitely balanced that it is thrilling. There is a mid-palate sweetness, infused with vivacious acidity, there is both a sense of maturity and yet remarkable freshness in this wine that struts it’s’61 fruit profile, and rounds out the Calon “sturdiness” in such a beguiling manner. The tannic complexity and softness on the evocative, endearing finish, leaves you cheering. This is the greatest Calon Segur by far I’ve tasted and a simply superb wine. It was slightly undermined by the accompanying dish (delightful as it was), but flared forth again as the richness of the dish receded on the palate. 96 Points
  • 96p
Bottle with normal size and with 4cm ullage. Looking light and brownish. Intense and ripe on the nose. The taste is ripe, silky, firm, average in acidity, complex, mature and medium tannin. With balsamic, buttery, cherry, earthy, leather, pepper, spice, port-like and tobacco flavor. Medium. Recommended. Sophisticated. Not decanted and drink between 2015 and 2020. Costs about 200-500€ per bottle. Good value for money.
- (Tasting note created by Tb's AI)
  • 89p
Load more notes

Information

Origin

St.Estephe, Bordeaux

Vintage Quality

Extraordinary

Value For Money

Good

Investment potential

No Potential

Fake factory

None

Glass time

1h

Drinking temperature

17

Highlights

Latest news

WINE NEWS: Dom Pérignon 2010 / The luminous sweetness of tropical fruit – green mango, melon, pineapple – instantly shi  more ...
VINTAGE NEWS: 1945 / Tastingbook’s TOP 10 wines from 1947&1945 tasting  (66 wines tasted) 1. Chât  more ...
WINERY NEWS Château Margaux /          VINTAGE  more ...
TASTINGBOOK WINE NEWS 100 Best Champagnes for 2020  / Dom Pérignon is a winner again!
WINERY NEWS Warre's / The New Normal 2019 Douro Harvest Report It is easy for visitors to the Douro to assume that  more ...
TASTINGBOOK WINE NEWS MOST FAKED WINE / TOP 30 LIST
WINERY NEWS Diamond Creek Vineyards / Louis Roederer Champagne to buy Diamond Creek Vineyards Roederer is about to add another gem, Dia  more ...
TASTINGBOOK WINE NEWS One of the most famous names in the global wine trade, Michael Broadbent MW, has died aged 92. / Robert Joseph remembers Michael Broadbent MW, who led an extraordinary life in wine.
TASTINGBOOK WINE NEWS BWW 2020 - Best Wine Shop of the World have been selected  / Millésima from France is the Winner.
WINE NEWS: Sassicaia 2017 / Sassicaia 2017 released – “a wild, exotic beauty” By Liv-ex Sassicaia 2  more ...
WINE NEWS: Sir Winston Churchill 2009 / Pol Roger, Sir Winston Churchill 2009 released By Liv-ex This morning, Pol Roger Sir Wins  more ...
WINE NEWS: Hermitage La Chapelle 2016 / Paul Jaboulet Aine Hermitage Chapelle 2017 released – “a magical wine in the making&rdqu  more ...
TASTINGBOOK WINE NEWS Champagne Henriot announces the appointment of its new Wine Maker, Alice Tétienne / Champagne Henriot is very pleased to welcome Alice Tétienne as its new Wine Maker, starting from April 1st, 2020.
WINERY NEWS Château Cantenac-Brown / Margaux third growth Château Cantenac Brown has been sold to Frenchman Tristan Le Lous for an   more ...
TASTINGBOOK WINE NEWS PENFOLDS GRANGE VERTICAL BREAKS AUCTION RECORD / A set of Penfolds Grange, dating from 1951 to 2015, has been sold for a record AU$372,800, comfortably beating the previous auction price for a similar vertical of $349,500.
TASTINGBOOK WINE NEWS BWW 2020 - Best Wine Critics of the World have been selected! / The Best Wine Critic of the World -title was awarded to Neal Martin.
TASTINGBOOK WINE NEWS BWW 2020 - Voting for the Best Wine Critic of the World is over. / Wine Critics received 218,966 votes from 56 countries.
TASTINGBOOK WINE NEWS DRAKE LAUNCHES 2008 VINTAGE CHAMPAGNE PRICED AT $550 A BOTTLE / Having unveiled his first Mod Sélection Champagnes at the start of the year, Canadian rapper Drake is ending the year by launching two 2008 vintage expressions priced at US$480 and $550 a bottle.
TASTINGBOOK WINE NEWS LOUIS ROEDERER LAUNCHES FIRST ‘BIODYNAMIC’ CRISTAL / Louis Roederer has announced the release of the 2012 vintage of Cristal, the first to be made from 100% biodynamically farmed grapes.

Wine Moments

Here you can see wine moments from tastingbook users. or to see wine moments from your world.
Incorrect Information
If you found some information that is wrong, let us know
Are you sure you want do delete this wine? All information will be lost.
Are you sure you want to recommend this wine?
Are you sure you want hide this written note ?
Are you sure you want show this written note ?

HOW TO USE TASTINGBOOK?

We recommend you to share few minutes for watching the following video instructions of how to use the Tastingbook. This can provide you a comprehensive understanding of all the features you can find from this unique service platform.

This video will help you get started



Taste wines with the Tastingbook


Create Your wine cellar on 'My Wines'



Explore Your tasted wines library



Administrate Your wine world in Your Profile



Type a message ...
Register to Tastingbook
Register now, it's fast, easy and totally free. No commitments, only enjoyments.
  Register