Proudly overlooking the Gironde Estuary since the early 19th century, the vineyards of Chateau Phelan Segur’s expand to about 70 hectares of vines. The complexity of Phelan-Segur wines can be attributed to the great diversity of its terroir. Phelan Segur wines are famous for their elegance, finesse and balance while the Chateau itself is famous for its incredible hospitality.
Bernard Phelan left his native Ireland in the late eighteenth century, and came to Bordeaux, as the city was one of the main trading hubs with the British Isles at that time. In the early nineteenth century, he founded Chateau de Clos and later acquired Clos de Garramey. On the death of Bernard, he passed the combined estate to his son Frank Phelan, who concentrated on improving the quality of the estate. Furthermore, Frank became mayor of Saint-Estephe and remained as mayor for thirty years. By the beginning of the 20th century, Chateau Ségur de Garramey became simply known as Chateau Phelan Segur.
Four large parcels of vineyards adjoin to make up this property, they border the vineyards of Chateau Montrose and Calon Segur among other famous Chateau. The beauty of their wines is the great diversity of terroir, at the highest point of their vineyards you will find humus rich gravel, mid slope sandy gravel dominates, giving way to clay rich soils lower in the slopes. With high density planting, the mix of grape varieties is traditional to the Medoc. Cabernet Sauvignon vines make up 58% and Merlot makes up 39% while Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot contribute only 1.5% of vines. The blend varies slightly depending on the vintage to achieve perfect balance. Merlot compliments Cabernet with its attractive roundness and suppleness, while Cabernet Franc, essential to the blend, contributes floral notes and finesse.
Transporting the grapes from the vine to the cellar is done with the utmost care, after hand harvesting the best bunches, they are brought to the manual and vibrating sorting tables in small crates, taking care that the grapes aren’t crushed before maceration. Fermentation takes over 12 days, with the regular pumping over and punch down to increase contact with the cap. Maceration takes over twenty days, and the wine Is tasted daily to decide the best day to run off the juice. This process occurs in the Chateau’s 39 tanks, allowing for precision vinification and blending. The free-run juice is separated and into oak barrels and placed in their deep cellars, where they will mature well through the winter before being tasted again for final blending.
The Gardinier Family
In 1985, the Gardinier family took over operations at Château Phelan Segur, under their ownership the Chateau underwent renovations and technological advancement. They introduced one of the first sorting tables, double skinned tanks and harvesting crates. Since the 1990’s the eldest son, Thierry Gardinier has personally looked over the vineyards, supported by his brother Stephane and Laurent.