The 2021 Capbern was cropped at 36hL/ha with a 20-day cuvaison, and matured in 60% new oak for a planned 18 months. It has an attractive, fragrant bouquet of vivacious black and blue fruit, a lovely pencil box element emanating from the Cabernet Sauvignon. The palate is medium-bodied with sappy black fruit, respectable weight and acidity and a saline finish. Not the most complex Saint-Estèphe you will find, but commendable for the vintage and thoroughly enjoyable.
Drink 2025 - 2040
Neal Martin, vinous.com, (May 2022)
Offering up aromas of dark berries, plums, spices, rose petals and loamy soil, the 2021 Capbern is a medium to full-bodied, lively and charming wine with beautifully refined tannins and an impressively penetrating finish. It's a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot and 2% Petit Verdot that attained 12.8% alcohol.
William Kelley, Wine Advocate (Apr 2022)
Focused and direct. Long and linear but juicy as well with fine-grained tannins and a minerally tone that persists. Freshness and balance on the finish. GV?
Drink 2027 - 2040
James Lawther, jancisrobinson.com (May 2022)
A medium-bodied, firm and very fresh red with crunchy black-fruit and bark character. Tight, fine tannins. Mineral and tea-like quality. 70% cabernet sauvignon, 28% merlot and 2% petit verdot.
James Suckling, jamessuckling.com (May 2022)
About this WINE
Chateau Capbern Gasqueton in Bordeaux has been in the ownership of the Gasqueton family, owners of the 3rd classed Growth Ch Calon Ségur, for 10 generations. It is a Cru Bourgeois, located close to the best part of St Estephe, and has 41 hectares under vine.
Unsurprisingly in view of the excellence of Calon Ségur at present this is a well-run estate, producing wines of charm and structure capable of lasting comfortably 10-20 years in good vintages. The fruit is all hand-harvested and oak is used judiciously, with only one-third of the barrels new each year. 10,000 cases are produced and in the context of the current pricing of top Bordeaux we regard this as offering excellent value for money.
St Estèphe is the northernmost of the most important communes of the Médoc and borders Pauillac on its southernmost border, with only a gully and stream separates it from Ch. Lafite. To the north lies the Bas-Médoc.
St Estèphe is defined by the depth of its gravel, which is ubiquitous but of varying depths and occasionally very shallow, when clay predominates. This keeps the soil cooler and wetter than its counterparts so that the wines can appear fresh in lighter vintages, but superbly successful in hot, dry years.
The best châteaux in the south of the commune have the deepest soil and the thickest gravel. Cos d'Estournel has an exceptional terroir with its vineyards being located on a south-facing ridge of gravel with excellent drainage.
St Estèphe is the least gravelly of main Médoc communes and in the north of the commune the vineyards are heavier and more clay-based leading to a rustic style of wine being produced.
The wines can appear austere in youth with a discernable ferric note at some châteaux, but the best typically display good depth of colour, pronounced acidity an tannins in youth and are exceptionally long-lived. At their best, they are the equal of almost any Bordeaux. The well-regarded St Estèphe co-operative controls the production of about half the appellation.
Cabernet Sauvignon Blend
Cabernet Sauvignon lends itself particularly well in blends with Merlot. This is actually the archetypal Bordeaux blend, though in different proportions in the sub-regions and sometimes topped up with Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot.
In the Médoc and Graves the percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend can range from 95% (Mouton-Rothschild) to as low as 40%. It is particularly suited to the dry, warm, free- draining, gravel-rich soils and is responsible for the redolent cassis characteristics as well as the depth of colour, tannic structure and pronounced acidity of Médoc wines. However 100% Cabernet Sauvignon wines can be slightly hollow-tasting in the middle palate and Merlot with its generous, fleshy fruit flavours acts as a perfect foil by filling in this cavity.
In St-Emilion and Pomerol, the blends are Merlot dominated as Cabernet Sauvignon can struggle to ripen there - when it is included, it adds structure and body to the wine. Sassicaia is the most famous Bordeaux blend in Italy and has spawned many imitations, whereby the blend is now firmly established in the New World and particularly in California and Australia.