More from Phélan-Ségur, 2012

It is only a year or so since I last visited Château Phélan-Ségur, nevertheless I wasn’t about to turn down another invitation to visit during my most recent trip to Bordeaux. This estate might only be classified as a ‘mere’ cru bourgeois, but ever since my first concerted tasting of the wines, many years ago now, I have held the belief that the wines made here are of classed growth quality. And so a chance to visit, to taste and retaste, is always welcome, especially as these wines remain good value, within the sphere of Bordeaux at least. And when the tasting is accompanied by a delicious harvesters’ lunch, breaking up a long day of château visits, the invitation is doubly welcome.

First, before looking at the wines we tasted, a few words on the 2012 vintage. At the time I visited, which was early October, although there was a “harvesters’ lunch” on offer in fact not a grape had been picked. The growing season here had been no less challenging than anywhere else along the length of the Gironde, and thus ripening of the fruit on the vine was delayed, and lacked homogeneity. This was the case through to mid-September, and then some warm and dry weather towards the end of the month caused some stress to the vines, which further slowed the progress of ripening. Subsequently there was some rain which got things going again in the vineyard, and from this point on the fruit had developed a much greater homogeneity. Nevertheless, it was acknowledged during my visit that the Phélan-Ségur optical sorting machine would see a lot of use this vintage!

Château Phélan-Ségur

Of course, this was all several months ago now, before the rains in late October forced many châteaux to send out the pickers to bring in the grapes, a consequence of the inclement weather and fear of rot, rather than waiting for optimal ripeness of the fruit. When I return to taste the wines during the primeurs in April 2013, I will see what the outcome of this work has been.

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