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Regional profile: St-Estèphe plus 17 wines worth seeking out

The northernmost of the big four Médoc appellations also has the coolest climate, and as Bordeaux’s heatwaves become ever fiercer, this factor is becoming a major asset for the region. We take a look at how some of the leading châteaux are making the most of their terroir.

Just ahead of the April barrel tastings for the 2022 vintage in Bordeaux, I visited Château Phélan Ségur in St-Estèphe. The estate has been working since 2020 to ensure that only indigenous yeasts are used to ferment each parcel of vines harvested. The team reported promising results, as those yeasts have made the wine brighter.

Scroll down to see tasting notes and scores for St-Estèphe selection of wines

Phélan Ségur is one of many quality-minded châteaux from the northernmost of the Médoc’s prestige appellations, which sometimes seems cast in the shade, partly because it does not have as many famous ‘brands’ as other regions, partly because it is the furthest drive away from Bordeaux city. But St-Estèphe is imbued with a sense of solidarity. I was told during my visit that the châteaux have agreed to work with special balloons that diffuse calcium chloride and sodium chloride in storm cells, which could limit conditions for hail formation. In June last year, hail ripped through vineyards in St-Estèphe, prompting this team effort.

Quality & value: The St-Estèphe selection

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