Capbern 2018

St Estephe, Cru bourgeois

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Tasting Notes

The 2018 Capbern was a wine where I expressed reservations in terms of a soupçon of sur-maturité and the alcohol level when I tasted it from barrel. Now in bottle, well, I still have those reservations. That is not to imply that it is a bad wine – far from it. There is a generous lift on the nose of blackberry, touches of blueberry and light violet aromas, and the palate is medium-bodied with ripe tannins and plenty of graphite-infused black fruit. Yet I find the finish a bit wearing and rather monolithic vis-à-vis other vintages tasted. It feels like a bit of a blunt instrument and I much prefer the Marquis de Calon this year.

Score: 88

Neal Martin, Maturity: 2022 - 2032 18 August 2021

The 2018 Capbern was cropped at 41hl/ha and matured over 18 months in 60% new oak. I actually much prefer the aromatics compared to the 2018 Marquis de Calon - more composure and cohesion, the warmth of alcohol more contained. The palate is a very powerful with evidence of a little sur-maturité compared to say the superb 2016. This is a huge Capbern, but I find it is just missing the terroir expression of the best vintages whilst the 14.6% alcohol gives too much warmth on the finish. Two bottles were tasted, one a little more extravagant than the other. This is difficult to pin down.

Score: 88 - 90

Neal Martin, Maturity: 2022-2032 01 November 2019

The 2018 Château Capbern checks in as a Cabernet Sauvignon-dominated blend that includes 37% Merlot and 1% Petit Verdot, all of which was brought up in 60% new barrels. It has a deep, dark, earthy, classic Saint-Estèphe bouquet that gives up lots of cassis and almost blue fruits as well as ample chocolate, damp earth, and leafy herb-like aromas and flavors. With a full-bodied, rich, opulent mouthfeel, loads of sumptuous dark fruits, sweet tannins, and a great finish, this brilliant 2018 brings lots of fruit and opulence, yet stays weightless and balanced, with solid underlying structure. A hidden gem in the vintage, this is every bit as good as the 2016, and it's going to shine for two decades or more.

Score: 94

Jeb Dunnuck, Maturity: 2021 - 2041 18 July 2021

From the team at Calon Ségur, the 2018 Château Capbern is another smoking good Saint-Estèphe. In 2018 it’s a blend of 62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% Merlot, and the rest Petit Verdot that will spend 18 months in 60% new French oak. This ripe, sexy wine (it hit 14.6% natural alcohol) sports a deep purple color as well as blockbuster notes of crème de cassis, jammy blackberries, crushed flowers, and scorched earth. Despite all the fruit and texture, it stays beautifully balanced, has classic Saint-Estèphe earthy minerality, ripe tannins, and a great finish.

Score: 92 - 94

Jeb Dunnuck, 01 May 2019

A juicy and savory red with currant, walnut, mushroom and cedar aromas that follow through to a medium body with firm tannins and a savory finish. Drink after 2023.

Score: 92

James Suckling, Maturity: 2023+ 03 March 2021

A fresh and firm Capbern with lots of dark berries, chocolate and hints of hazelnuts. Medium to full body and dense, lightly chewy tannins. Mineral undertone.

Score: 92 - 93

James Suckling, 11 April 2019

62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% Merlot, 1% Petit Verdot. pH 3.75, 60% new oak. Barrel sample. Deepest purple. Dark and stony, lovely slaty nose. Firm, chalky, dense and still with lovely freshness. Not the same richness as the 2009 but with great purity and definition. More serious, less seduction. Long and great structure. So pure in its dark cassis fruit. Cool with a touch of liquorice on the finish. (JH) 14.6%

Score: 17

Julia Harding MW, Maturity: 2023-2029 23 April 2019

The 2018 Capbern is composed of 62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% Merlot and 1% Petit Verdot and comes in at 14.6% alcohol. It's anticipated to age for 16 months in barriques, 60% new. Deep purple-black in color, it leaps from the glass with vibrant scents of black raspberries, kirsch and fresh blackcurrants with nuances of cedar chest, pencil lead and forest floor plus a waft of lavender. Full-bodied, rich and packed with juicy fruit, it has a firm line of grainy tannins and loads of freshness, finishing with an herbal lift.

Score: 91 - 93

Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, Wine Advocate, 23 April 2019

A tasty, extremely appetising Capbern that, after tasting, makes you you already look forward to drinking in bottle. It has a real elegance to its black fruits, and the tannins have a softness and succulence to them, leading on to a mouthwatering finish. Harvest took place between 19 September and 8 October, around one week earlier than in a classic year according to Laurent Dufau, and yielding 37hl/ha. 3.7pH. 60% new oak.

Score: 92

Jane Anson, Maturity: 2024-2036 15 April 2019

The 2018 Capbern is expressive, nuanced and inviting, with lovely upfront fruit. In 2018, Capbern is a bit compact and tightly wound, but it also has a good deal of persistence. The Cabernet is quite marked in the 2018, which is not a bad thing, it just means the wine is going to need time to be at its best. What really stands out, though, is the push and pull between the bright aromatics that this cool, clay-rich soil helped give in 2018, and the ripe, radiant fruit of the warm summer. That interplay makes for an absolutely compelling wine. Red cherry fruit, mint, dried flowers, cedar and tobacco add aromatic nuance to this highly expressive, vibrant Saint-Estèphe. The blend is 62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% Merlot and 1% Petit Verdot. Tasted two times.

Score: 90 - 92

Antonio Galloni, 01 April 2019

Delicious cassis, plum and blackberry fruit forms the core, showing lovely purity and definition. Light tobacco, floral and mineral shadings emerge through the finish.

Score: 91 - 94

James Molesworth, Wine Spectator 01 April 2019