Learn everything about Chateau Phelan Segur, St. Estephe Bordeaux wine producer, with wine tasting notes and wine with food pairing tips. Learn the best vintages, vineyards, a history of the property and winemaking. If you want to read about other important, Bordeaux Chateaux: Links to all Bordeaux Wine Producer Profiles
Chateau Phelan Segur History and Overview
The official history of Chateau Phelan Segur began when two previous Bordeaux vineyards were brought together, Clos de Garramey and Segur. Those properties also located in the Saint Estephe appellation were combined by Bernard Phelan, who using the traditional custom of the time, combined the existing Segur name with his own and Chateau Phelan Segur was born. By 1860, Bernard Phelan had created the largest vineyard in the entire Saint Estephe appellation. The beautiful, stately chateau was built by Frank Phelan, the son of the Bernard Phelan in the late 1860’s.
Before Bernard Phelan purchased Segur, it was previously owned by Nicolas Alexandre de Segur who was known by the well-earned nickname, “The Prince of Vines”. de Segur owned numerous, famed, Bordeaux chateaux in the Medoc during his life including: Brane Mouton, which later became Chateau Mouton Rothschild, as well as Lafite, which eventually morphed into Chateau Lafite Rothschild and Chateau Latour! When you think about it, it’s truly amazing that one family owned 3 First Growth estates at the same time!
Chateau Phelan Segur, The Modern Era
In 1883, Chateau Phelan Segur was purchased by the Delon family, the current owners of Chateau Leoville Las Cases in St. Julien and Nenin in Pomerol. The Delon family, headed by Michel Delon eventually sold the vineyard o the former head of Pommery Champagne, Xavier Gardinier in 1984. As there is a harvest in Bordeaux every year, with very few exceptions, chateaux produce wine in every vintage. That was not the case in the early days of ownership by the Gardinier family here. They refused to sell their first three vintages in a row of Chateau Phelan Segur, 1983, 1984 and 1985!
The 1983 Phelan Segur was produced and released, but the wine was recalled from the marketplace by the new owner, Xavier Gardinier. Xavier Gardinier eventually sued claiming that herbicides used by the estate contaminated and ruined the wines of Chateau Phelan Segur making them unsalable. The Gardinier family won their suit and from that time forward, they have continued improving the wines of Pelan Segur and for a time, expanding the estate as well. In 2002, they purchased 25 hectares of vines from Chateau Houissant, which is located not far from Chateau Montrose.
Today, the Left Bank property in Sain’t Estephe is managed by another member of the family, Thierry Gardinier. Thierry Gradinier is also responsible for several other Bordeaux vineyards including Chateau Meyney in Saint Estephe and Chateau Grand Puy Ducasse in Pauillac. In August 2017, Chateau Phelan Segur was sold for more than 90 million Euros! A record setting price for a Crus Bourgeois. The vineyard was sold to the wealthy Belgian investor, Philippe Van de Vyvere, who is best known for owning Sea-Invest, one of the world’s largest shipping companies.
Chateau Phelan Segur, Vineyards, Terroir, Grapes, Winemaking
The 70 hectare vineyard of Chateau Phelan Segur has a terroir of gravel, sand and clay based soils. The vineyards are planted to 58% Cabernet Sauvignon and 39% Merlot, 1.5% Cabernet Franc and 1.5% Petit Verdot. On average the vines are close to 35 years of age. However, they have old vines, some of which are at least 70 years of age. The vineyard is planted to a density of 8,500 vines per hectare. The vines are primarily in three locations. 8 hectares of vines are planted close to the chateau. A larger portion of vines are located not far from Chateau Calon Segur. However, their best terroir, which is also their largest holding is situated quite close to Chateau Montrose. They have slopes and hills that reach 30 meters in elevation. The vineyard can be divided into 4 large blocks, and those can be further subdivided into close to 70 different parcels.
A major portion of the Phelan Segur vineyards are located not that far from Chateau Montrose. In fact, in 2010, Chateau Phelan Segur sold 22 hectares of their vineyards to their neighbor, Chateau Montrose. That purchase decreased their vineyards from 90 hectares to 68 hectares. At the time, the price of 900,000 Euros per hectare was the highest price paid for vineyard land in St. Estephe. Chateau Phelan Segur underwent extensive renovations in their wine making facilities and cellars that were completed in 2011. At the time, they moved to newer, smaller, 115 hectoliter, stainless steel fermentation vats that allow for more precise vinification on a parcel by parcel basis. Michel Rolland is the consultant.
To produce the wine of Phelan Segur, vinification takes place in 48, stainless steel vats that range in size 40 hectoliters, up to 220 hectoliters. Malolactic fermentation takes place in 50%, new, French oak barrels most of the time, but portions of the wine can also undergo malolactic fermentation in vat.. Phelan Segur is aged in about 50% new, French oak barrels for 16 to 18 months. One of the recent changes at Phelan Segur was to begin using French oak barrels that have a lighter toasting. That has been a positive move as you now find less of a strong, smoke or espresso notes in the wine when its young. There is a second wine, Frank Phelan, which made its debut in 1986. Frank Phelan was named after a previous owner that built the chateau. There is also a third wine, La Croix Bonis.
20,000 cases per year are produced of Phelan Segur on average, while the production of the second wine hovers at close to 12,000 cases per vintage. The estate recently added a third wine, which is dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon, La Croix Bonis.
The Best Vintages of Chateau Phelan Segur are: 2016, 2015, 2014, 2010, 2009, 2005 and 2003.
When to Drink Chateau Phelan Segur, Anticipated Maturity, Decanting Time
Chateau Phelan Segur can be enjoyed early. However, the wine is often better with at least a few years of bottle age. Of course that can vary slightly, depending on the vintage. Chateau Phelan Segur is usually best enjoyed in the first 10-20 after the vintage. Young vintages can be decanted for 1-2 hours. This allows the wine to soften and open its perfume. Older vintages might need very little decanting, just enough to remove the sediment
Serving Chateau Phelan Segur with the Best Wine, Food, Pairing Tips
Chateau Phelan Segur is best served at 15.5 degrees Celsius, 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The cool, almost cellar temperature gives the wine more freshness and lift. Chateau Phelan Segur is best served with all types of classic meat dishes, veal, pork, beef, lamb, duck, game, roast chicken, roasted, braised, stewed and grilled dishes. Chateau Phelan Segur also makes a good match with several different Asian courses.
Château Phélan Ségur Wine Tasting Notes
17 Vintages 97686 Views Sort Vintage Rating
Using 55% Cabernet Sauvignon and 45% Merlot, Phelan Segur produced a wine with plushness, ripe, dark red berries, silky tannins and length. The plummy fruits are soft, fresh and sweet with hints of espresso and licorice in the finish. The wine is 13.8% alcohol and the harvest took place from September 29 to October 21, making this the longest and the latest harvest in the history of the estate.
Apr 29, 2017points - Tasted 1751 Views
Medium-bodied, softly textured, showing fresh, elegant cassis and spicy, crisp, black raspberries in an approachable, user friendly style. 86 - 88 Pts
Apr 19, 2016points - Tasted 1689 Views
Ripe, dark and red fruits, a touch of oak, spice, wet earth and round, tannins open nicely. The round, medium bodied, ripe, fruit filled finish is easy to like as well. In time, with some bottle age, this could be an even better wine.
Jan 31, 2017points - Tasted 2212 Views
Crème de Cassis, fennel and freshly ground espresso on the nose, this wine was produced in an approachable, fleshy style. There is an easy softness to the tannins and a smack of blackberries in the finish. 88-91 Pts
Apr 13, 2015points - Tasted 1701 Views
Better on the nose, with its floral, oak and sweet cherry fragrance, than on the medium bodied, slightly tart, red berry palate. Drink this on the young side.
Feb 7, 2016points - Tasted 1783 Views
Herb, olive and cherry aromas make up the initial start of the wine, followed by the palate, which is medium bodied, and show cases cranberry with bright red berries and a lot of sharpness in the mouth. The wine was made blending 60% Cabernet Sauvignon with 40% Merlot, which yielded a 12.7% alcohol. The wine will be aged in 50% new, French oak barrels. The Grand Vin represents 60% of the properties crop, with yields of 26.38 hectoliters per hectare. 86-89 Pts
Apr 20, 2014points - Tasted 1161 Views
From a blend of 50% Merlot and 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, the medium bodied wine shows ripe dark plum, earth, espresso and cassis characteristics that seems to be just bit short in the finish.
Mar 11, 2015points - Tasted 1481 Views
This earthy, cassis-filled, medium-bodied wine has an oaky, fleshy core of dark fruit that ends with fresh blackberries and dark chocolate. 88-90 Pts
Apr 23, 2013points - Tasted 1999 Views
Vanilla bean, chocolate, black cherry and coffee scents create the perfume. The fruit is crsip, peppery, medium bodied and dominated by dark red cherry and plum. Drink this young to retain its fruit.
Feb 16, 2014points - Tasted 2393 Views
2011 Phelan Segur 55% Cabernet Sauvignon and 45% Merlot, which is the same as the plantings found in vineyards, produce the blend. The wine reached 13.5% alcohol. 15% of the vineyards were damaged by the September hail storms. Fortunately for the property, most of the damage occurred to vineyards which were not planted. The worst of the damage was to the Merlot. Yields were down about 10% from the previous vintage. Oak, leaf, pepper, mineral and cassis aromas open to a medium-bodied, round, chocolate- and cassis-filled finish. 89-91 Pts
Apr 8, 2012points - Tasted 1875 Views
I really like how this wine turned out. Packed with fresh ripe, juicy blackberries, licorice, earth, coffee and spice, there is a quality of softness to the tannins in the long, fresh, round finish that make this Merlot dominated blend of 59% Merlot and 41% Cabernet Sauvignon worth seeking out. This is the best vintage of Phelan Segur produced yet!
Feb 6, 2013points - Tasted 3708 Views
Cassis, stone, spice, juicy plum and smoky aromatics open to a deeply colored, expressive, Medium/full bodied St. Estephe that wants to rest for at least 5-7 years before being opened.
May 7, 2012points - Tasted 3833 Views
From a blend of 59% Merlot and 41% Cabernet Sauvignon, the wine offered scents of blackberry, cassis and espresso bean, Medium/full bodied, the wine ends with a round, ripe. cassis filled finish. 89-91 Pts
Apr 20, 2011points - Tasted 3727 Views
Expressive notes of fresh black cherries, plums, lead pencil and vanilla open to a round, plummy wine that will offer its ample charms fairly early in life. Form a blend of 58% Caberent Sauvignon, 40% Merlot and 2% Cabernet Franc, this is first vintage showing the influence of Michel Rolland.
May 7, 2014points - Tasted 5352 Views
With scents of forest floor, cassis, tobacco, black raspberry and earth, this medium/full bodied wine ends with spice, fresh, dark berries and a slight drying sensation. Give it 3-5 years and it should add some nice complexity and softer textures.
Jan 26, 2012points - Tasted 5897 Views
Dark jammy berries, licorice, spice, earth and chocolate scents lead to a supple, round, ripe wine that finishes with ripe, black raspberry and jammy flavors. This should drink well early.
Jul 20, 2011points - Tasted 5738 Views
Spicy blackberry, cassis, earth and herbal scents, medium bodied and soft textured finish. This will drink well young.
May 25, 2012points - Tasted 2903 Views
Close to fully mature, the wine is medium bodied, soft, easy to drink, with light, red fruits, a touch of spice and dusty tannins in the finish.
Jun 23, 2017points - Tasted 1964 Views
Close to fully mature, the wine is medium bodied, soft, easy to drink, with light, red fruits, a touch of spice and dusty tannins in the finish.
Mar 30, 2017points - Tasted 1796 Views
At 10 years of age, this is turning out nicely. Medium bodied and showing secondary development with its tobacco, wet earth, cigar, thyme and black cherry character, there is good freshness to the fruit in the finish.
May 25, 2016points - Tasted 3219 Views
The first vintage consulted by Michel Rolland starts with a smoke filled perfume that includes stone, wet earth, cassis and spice. In the mouth the wine feels soft, with round tannins. Fresh, bright cassis and kirsch are found in the finish.
May 7, 2012points - Tasted 4281 Views
Espresso bean, stone, cassis, truffle make up the perfume. Round in texture, with spicy cassis and chocolate, fleshy and fresh for Phelan Segur, this delicious vintage of Phelan Segur already offers a lot early drinking charm.
May 7, 2012points - Tasted 5646 Views
With good color, scents of blackberries, wet earth,black cherries, stone and cassis, this medium/full bodied wine finishes with dollop of creme de cassis and blackberry jam. A few more years add more complexity to the wine, but as it's already starting to drink well at 6, do not expect this to make old bones. I'd finish any bottles you have by the time this Bordeaux wine hits its 18th birthday, if not sooner.
Jul 23, 2011points - Tasted 7369 Views
Leafy, forest aromas, with tobacco and dried fruit, the wine is medium bodied and a bit dry and dusty in the red berry finish. This is probably drinking at peak and requires consumption over the next 3-5 years.
Jan 4, 2015points - Tasted 3435 Views
Blackberry, stone and herb aromas open to medium bodied, lighter style of Phelan Segur. This is already drinking well and is on the fast track for evolution. I’d drink this over the next several years.
May 7, 2012points - Tasted 3281 Views
Light, soft, open and ready for prime time with its tobacco, earth and cassis character. This is not a wine for long term aging.
Dec 18, 2013points - Tasted 3155 Views
Minerality, fresh herbs, cedar wood and blackberry scents open to a fleshy, round, plum and black cherry finish. This is drinking well today.
May 7, 2012points - Tasted 3796 Views
Minerality, cedar wood and damp forest aromas, medium body and a an herbal, cherry tinged finish.
May 7, 2012points - Tasted 2680 Views
Ruby with lightening at the edges, earth, strawberry jam and cassis in nose, medium bodied with a touch of green in the cherry filled finish. This is probably close to fully mature. I’d opt for dinking over the in the moderate future to maintain the freshness and fruit.
May 7, 2012points - Tasted 2569 Views
Slightly past fully mature, this requires drinking. The fruit has started to fade. There is much more earth and tobacco going on here. The small amount of bright, red fruits in this medium bodied wine that are barely poking through are not enough to keep you interested.
Oct 9, 2016points - Tasted 2422 Views
This is probably just slightly ever so slightly past full maturity. So if you are sitting on any bottles, you should pop a cork to experience, the soft, textures, ripe dark, red fruits, cassis, tobacco, spice, smoke, wet earth, cedar and leaf like charms that are still present.
Dec 3, 2016points - Tasted 2870 Views