Ch Capbern Gasqueton 2009 St-Estèphe


I'm delighted to report that this wine, one of my top picks from 2009 bordeaux and made by the first-class team at Ch Calon-Ségur, has been released en primeur for the first time, and at what I think is a very reasonable price. (See my list of likely best-value left-bank wines here.)

It 'came out' yesterday on the Bordeaux place at the same sort of price as the likes of Chx Dalem and de la Rivière in Fronsac or Ch Belle-Vue Haut-Médoc, which means that it is currently on offer from UK merchants at around £145 a dozen bottles in bond. I have placed an order for three dozen bottles in anticipation of my next big birthday celebration in 10 years' time. God, my liver, volcanic ash, new media and heaven knows what willing.

Of course, all of these bordeaux primeurs tasting notes and recommendations are made on a thoroughly speculative basis. We tasters pass judgement on the basis of samples supplied by the proprietors almost two years before the wine will be bottled and many, many years before it will be drunk. Who is to say how representative the sample is of the entire production? How can we know exactly how the wine will evolve? These are all imponderables, which makes the current demand for 2009 bordeaux seem all the more risible in a way. But since this wine is not especially expensive, and since it comes from an impeccable source, I am prepared to recommend it wholeheartedly.

The Bordeaux bible Cocks et Féret reports of this Cru Bourgeois that it comprises 41 hectares on gravel croupes, the higher ground on which St-Estèphe 's best properties are located.Vineyards are a densely planted (6,000 vines per ha) 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Franc (average age 35 years) and it has been in the Gasqueton family, who own Calon-Ségur, for 10 generations. The grapes are hand harvested, about a third new oak is used, production is 120,000 bottles and, according to Féret, 'the wines can rival the best crus classés and are distinguished by their fine ruby colour, their body and their remarkable smoothness'.

Good enough for me.

UK merchants already offering it include Armit, Boredaux Index, Farr Vintners, Lea & Sandeman, OW Loeb and Swig – although the last two admit that they haven't tasted it.

Purple pagers can see exactly where the property is, right in the heart of the village of St-Estèphe just east of Calon-Ségur using their online maps from The World Atlas of Wine and can also read the Members' forum thread about this wine and its pricing.

I do hope merchants elsewhere will seek out and offer this exceptionally good-value 2009 (and my spies tell me that K&L of San Francisco have already done so). It probably doesn't feature on yet but I have included a link below for when it does filter through.

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