I have been patiently waiting for this day. Because I am sent so many wines from Washington, California, Oregon and Spain, I am rarely able to enjoy the wines from my personal cellar. I have been enchanted by the wines of Chateau Phélan Ségur for many years, remembering some great wines made in the 1990s, in particular the 1996 and the 1998 Phelan Segurs being incredible (particularly since ’98 was such a challenge for left bank Bordeauxs). For those who are less familiar with this estate, Chateau Phélan Ségur has a long history, similar to many Bordeaux properties. The Irishman Bernard Phelan bought both Domaine Le Clos de Garamey in 1805 and Ségur de Cabarnac in 1810. Ironically while living in Ireland, Bernard Phelan was a neighbor and friend of Hugh Barton who started the famed Bordeaux estate, Chateau Leoville-Barton.
Following Phelan’s passing in 1841 the estate combined to form Château Ségur de Garamey, which passed on to his son Frank Phelan, who served as mayor of Saint-Estephe for 30 years. Many years later Chateau Phélan Ségur was sold in 1919 to Joseph Chayoux who served as the president of Champagne Chamber of Commerce. In 1928 the property was again sold to a city consortium headed by Chayoux’s nephew Rene Chayoux before the financial crisis of 1930, upon the death of René the operation was managed by a trust that eventually sold the brand and its facilities. From 1985 to the present, Chateau Phélan Ségur has been owned by the Gardinier Group of Xavier Gardinier, and famed enologist, Michel Rolland is employed as their consulting enologist.
Chateau Phélan Ségur's wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (60%), Merlot (30%) and Cabernet Franc (10%). The grapes are initially fermented in temperature-controlled stainless steel vats and then aged in oak barriques (30% new) for 15 months prior to bottling. The wines I brought from my cellar are the 2004, 2005 and 2006 Chateau Phélan Ségur. While 2004 and 2006 were not great vintages, 2005 is considered by most Bordeaux experts to be a classic vintage. I have enjoyed many wines from the 2005 vintage, and I was very eager to see how my 2005 Phelan-Segur was showing. The 2005 is a marvelous wine that still has a very long life. One of the great surprises was how good the 2004 Chateau Phélan Ségur was showing. I absolutely loved this wine that is a wonderful accomplishment from the vintage. Learn more about this storied Bordeaux estate at https://www.phelansegur.com/en/ Here are my tasting notes from my 2004-2006 vertical tasting of Chateau Phélan Ségur.
2004 Chateau Phélan Ségur Bordeaux- Lighter in color than the 2005, this shows a good degree of earthy terroir on the nose with wild mushroom, pipe tobacco, blood orange rind, and salted meats that fills the glass. The mouthfeel is really plush, as this delivers medium-bodied flavors of red cherry puree, truffled boysenberry, cassis and a strong saline streak. Plush and soft, this is drinking in its sweet spot. This has a wonderful sense of place. Drink 2018-2028- 91
2005 Chateau Phélan Ségur Bordeaux- The nose here is considerably more powerful than on the ’04 or ’06. This has evolved nicely showing a darker fruit profile than the other two wines with wild blackberry cordial, peat moss, cigar ash and coffee grounds on the nose. The palate is both refined and shows a good texture and viscosity. Mocha, anise, creme de cassis, and hucklbebery flavors come to mind. I love the combination of tension and richness on the mid-palate. The Merlot in this wine seems to be shining particularly brightly. This will cellar well for another decade or more, but it is drinking marvelously right now. Drink 2018-2033- 93
2006 Chateau Phélan Ségur Bordeaux- The 2006 Chateau Phélan Ségur appears to be slowing down at the moment. Medium bodied, this shows a silky texture as the wine delivers nice earthy tones alongside red and dark fruits with wet tobacco. While not hugely complex, this shows some wonderful Bordelaise character. Enjoy this over the next five years. Drink 2018-2022- 90