By Mymi Myriam
On the eve of a massive winter storm that threatened to shut down most of the eastern coast of the United States, I had the pleasure of briefly sitting down with Pamela Wittman prior to attending the LCBO sponsored Union des Grands Crus Bordeaux tasting at the Carlu.
An oenologist by profession, she is now the US representative for Château Phélan-Ségur located in the Médoc St-Éstèphe region of Bordeaux.
The estate’s story starts with a young Irish wine merchant name Bernard Phelan who settled into the area in the late 18th century and married a local girl whose father, a well-connected négotiant, enabled the purchase of estates that have become the very first outline of the existing property.
Over the course of its history, as the Château changed ownership, its wines became more refined and established a reputation for quality, true elegance and precision.
Xavier Gardinier purchased the property in 1985 and fuelled by a very unique vision completely renovated the Château, introduced new tools and techniques to better respect the grapes, therefore bringing the quality of his wines to an even higher level.
The Gardinier family celebrated 30 years of ownership, combining tradition and innovative practices in and out of the vineyard, restoring the property to the position it deserves. Its unique place in the wines of Bordeaux has also created a certain art of living where the true meaning of French flair is truly demonstrated.
The estate produces 3 wines the Château Phélan-Ségur, the Frank Ségur (named after Bernard’s son) as well as the more Merlot rich La Croix Bonis.
As Pamela pointed out, after a decline in popularity, Bordeaux wines are once again “en vogue” but the region still maintains a mystical and intimidating image for most wine drinkers.
Yes, the region’s history spans over centuries, is deeply rooted into France’s culture and its habitants hold a fierce sense of pride but what should be noted more is Bordeaux’s versatility when it comes to producing wine!
The region is not only your Mouton Rothschild and Haut Brion, The Estates produce more that their top wines, usually offering a Second, Third even Fourth label each slightly different examples but with the unique house style and a price friendly to everyone’s budget.
Bordeaux is a superb wine region capable of producing reds, whites, sparklings, and sweet wines, from the super-premium cellaring examples to your everyday drinking wine. So next time you are at the liquor store, why not give a Bordeaux a chance?
The Carlu was inundated with curious and fervent wine drinkers, myself included. Of the 65 châteaux present, all were members of the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux were offering samples of the 2013 vintage.
I jumped at the opportunity to taste some amazing whites from Château Latour-Martillac, Château Pape-Clément and Château Smith Haut Lafite before I headed over to see Pamela for a much anticipated sample of Château Phélan-Ségur and it certainly didn’t disappoint.
This event was like running into an old flame. You know the one that still makes you shaky in the knees. I will take my own advice and give Bordeaux another chance!
Sommelier & Musician
Mymi is a sommelier, singer-songwriter, musician and voice-over artist with a serious and contagious passion for wine, food and music.
When asked why she is so enthusiastic about wine, she replies, “Wine connects so many elements of life that I absolutely love. From growing herbs and vegetables to cooking, eating, travelling, entertaining, studying. There is always something new to learn in the world of wine. Sharing my knowledge with people, no matter their level of expertise, is something I sincerely enjoy.”
Her qualifications include certifications from The Court of Master Sommeliers, The International Sommelier Guild, The Society of Wine Educators, The Ontario Wine Council and most recently, The French Wine Society. As a professional musician, she shares her knowledge of wine in an entertaining, down-to-earth, and unpretentious way.
She is completing the French Wine Society’s Master Level program, is in the early stages of creating a food/wine/music show is currently recording her first all-French album. Mymi is a regular contributor to NatalieMacLean.com.