To learn more about Calicem, here is their brochure with detailed information about history, vineyards, and vinification.
“Calicem” was the surprise wine of my 2016 En Primeurs tastings last April. Sitting at the table with Xavier Jean, at his St.-Émilion Grand Cru Classé estate Couvent des Jacobins, he asked if I would like to taste another wine…
Sure! Calicem (kally sem) – or “Chalice” – is from a 0.8ha plot of 100% Merlot the family bought in 2015 that had not seen any replanting since 1961. It had never seen any herbicides either. The first vintage was 2015. None has yet been released, except en primeur. Production is around 2,000 bottles (bottles, not cases). Interestingly, the wine is made using “vinification intégrale”, where berries are de-stemmed and go whole into demi-muid barrels and are then punched down. Monsieur Jean feels this vinification technique brings out the natural ‘salinity’ in the wine.
Needless to say, I’m writing this because I was very impressed – we got on board. And how much do you think you would have to pay for a micro-production Right Bank wine like this? I think you will be pleasantly surprised, as I was, when the price was revealed to me after tasting. The wine punches way above this price point.
Deliveries around mid-2019
Fairly opaque; bright, intense and rich on the nose, fruit-intense, fresh and vibrant in expression; Juicy and concentrated on the palate, really lively fruit, super fine fruit tannins and texture, mineral, with some florals on the finish. Impressively well-balanced, with natural drive from the fruit (rather than oak and extraction). This 2016 is intense but elegant.
93-95+, Linden Wilkie
The 2016 has also been reviewed by James Suckling at jamessuckling.com - Very minerally on the palate with limestone and dark-berry undertones. Full and chewy red. Structured. New super single-vineyard red from Couvent des Jacobins. (95-96).
Deliveries around mid-2018.
Deep, semi-opaque; a reserved nose, rich and fleshy; a transparent expression of dark berries, cocoa, velvety tannin, a touch of minerality, cherry notes and then a refreshingly bittersweet twist. Very promising, substantial, but not over-pushed 100% Merlot.
92-94, Linden Wilkie