Tour and Taste at Château Phélan-Ségur

Château Phélan-Ségur

A vertical tasting lineup of Château Phélan-Ségur in St. Estephe

Château Phélan-Ségur
During our week long visit hosted by our friends at Millesima, we were treated to a private visit at Château Phélan-Ségur in St. Estephe.

Where the Heck is St. Estephe?
You’ll never realize how large the Bordeaux wine region is until you have the opportunity to visit. Several hours drive from end to end, you need to plan your days! St. Estephe is on the Left Bank (purple in the maps below), the farthest north of the named village appellations of the Left Bank. For reference, St. Estephe is over an hour’s drive from the city of Bordeaux in the center of the region. (click on any photo to enter full size slide show, “escape” to return to the post)

Château Phélan-Ségur was not included in the original list of classified growth properties in the 1855 official Bordeaux classification, however, they have always strived for the highest level of quality and elegance in their wines. Their wines are considered to be the equal of many of the original classified growth properties today. The stakes are so lucrative for the original Grand Cru Classe wineries that they have absolutely no interest in updating the classification and have blocked any attempts to do so.

Château Phélan-Ségur

An imposing front which looks down to the Gironde estuary

One of the major benefits to today’s consumer: us mere mortals can afford to purchase enough of a wine such as Château Phélan-Ségur to enjoy now and allow some bottles to age. As we found in our tasting, their wines will reward those who can be patient enough to put some bottles away for a few years!

Winery Tour
Château Phélan-Ségur was ahead of their time back in 1850 when they decided to build the winery production facility as part of the château and estate, and not a separate set of buildings.  We started our visit with a tour of the winery.

Two Memorable Tastings
After our tour, we were ushered into a conference room with an ominous set of wine glasses at each place. Uh-oh! We needn’t have worried, as we were hosted through two fascinating exercises in wine tasting. In the first, we were treated to a lesson in how oak is used to provide “spice” to the recipe of a Bordeaux wine. We had the opportunity to taste for ourselves (blind) the differences between new and once used oak, between fine and loose grain wood, between oak staves aged for 18 months vs. 5 years, and we finished tasting the final blend of the upcoming 2015 vintage.

We finished with a fascinating vertical tasting of Château Phélan-Ségur from the still in barrel 2016 back to 2009. As we traced back year by year, we could see how the wine changes with both the vintage and accumulating years in bottle. I left with a new appreciation for the meaning of patience – when a wine is built for the long term, you will be rewarded if you can wait to let it mature!

Other Views of Château Phélan-Ségur

  • If you’d like notes on the recent vintages, take a look at Daniel Ercsey’s (from our group) post at WineSofa 
  • My friend Chiara, another award winner wrote this about our afternoon at the Château.

Finally, as we were leaving the estate, we were reminded that the true nature of winemaking is farming.

Your Own Visit at Château Phélan-Ségur
Our visit was arranged by our friends at Millesima, but you can arrange an equally enlightening visit for yourself! Château Phélan-Ségur has a variety of tours, tastings, meals and even a cooking event you can book for your group. As is usual in Bordeaux, you’ll need to contact them in advance, I know I’ll be going back! Simply check the Visits and Receptions page of their website.

Disclosure: Our private tasting at Château Phélan-Ségur was provided for our group by our Millesima hosts. All opinions expressed are mine.


3 Responses to “Tour and Taste at Château Phélan-Ségur”
  1. Phelan Segur make fantastic wines! I have 2 bottles of 2010 at home and opened a bottle a few months ago. Brilliant stuff!

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