The cellar master at Château Phélan Ségur gives the greatest respect to these grapes born of a terroir of ageless nobility. Elegance is his obsession, rigorous demands and integrity his course of action.
Cellar master Fabrice Bacquey preserves this noble raw material that is the grape. He must respect the style of the property by expressing the best the vintage has to offer.
The grapes are harvested manually with the utmost care and optimum ripeness when nature allows. Transport to the manual and vibrating sorting tables is done in small crates. The final selection is made by optical sorting used since 2011.
Fermentation takes place over a dozen days, punctuated by regular pumping over, rack-and-return and punching down, specific to each batch, thus favouring the extraction of phenolic compounds in the wine. Then comes the critical phase of maceration over about twenty days, where the objective is to continue the extraction. The wine is tasted daily to decide the optimum date for running off. The 39 tanks allow for this precision vinification and are the basis for the future selections for blending. Steady development started in 2010 has allowed the addition of 8 tanks of 45 hl to the vat room, further improving the interpretation of the work within parcels that takes place in the vineyard.
The magic of blending
After pressing and the separation of the free-run and press wines, they are “casked”; now stored in barrels, they can begin their malolactic fermentation in the warm atmosphere of the cellars. The wines take on more suppleness and roundness and rest through the winter.
The long task of blending begins at the end of winter and consists in rigorous tasting of each batch; it is at this stage that the selection is made with the invaluable assistance of Michel Rolland, consultant oenologist. Some batches are chosen to go into the blend for the Grand Vin of Château Phélan Ségur, while others are destined for the second wine Frank Phélan or for La Croix Bonis.
The final blend for the Grand Vin is then presented “to the world” in April during the en primeur tastings.
A philosophy of wine
Beyond the purely technical knowledge required for vinification, it is a philosophy of wine, a palate forged by years of tasting and a perfect complicity with the evolution over time of the wines of the terroir of Phélan Ségur that makes the difference.