Vincent Millet has always been forward-thinking. Having learned the ropes at Château Margaux, he took over the technical direction of Calon Ségur in 2006 and presented Denise Gasqueton with a 25-year plan for the redesign of the vineyards, long before the arrival of the current stakeholders. Since 2012, the insurance company Suravenir has begun a new chapter, giving Millet the opportunity to realise the ambitions for the estate that he has nurtured from the start: at last, the sleeping beauty is awakening.
In the vineyard, Millet puts his vision for the terroir into practice: increasing planting density in order to create real competition between the vines, which is a natural way to improve concentration in the grapes; massal selection; and even the implementation of georeferencing, to enable each vine to receive the specific attention it requires. The new technical facilities have made clear the value of his drastic selection process - rigorous work that has revolutionised production. And the jewel in the crown of this push towards excellence? That, surely, is the restoration of the 16th-century Charterhouse and its French-style gardens.
If the outstanding characteristic of the 2019 vintage is the tiny proportions of the Merlot and Cabernet berries that give the wine its power, it is the specific qualities of the terroir - particularly the clay soils - that are responsible for its freshness and silky tannins.
Appellation : Saint-Estèphe. Third classified Growth in 1855.
Vineyard area : 55 ha (136 acres). Area in production : 45 ha (50 ha planted)
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.
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
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. Pumping over twice a day. Fermentation at 26°C. Malolactic fermentation (indigenous lactic bacteria) in stainless steel at 20°C.
Ageing : 18 to 20 months, 100% new barrels. Fining with egg white.
Average annual production : Around 80,000 bottles.