Château Rauzan Ségla, 2ème Cru Classé, Margaux, 2018

  Château Rauzan Ségla

Nicolas Audebert's title for 2018 is the 'Grand Huit', a clever play on words wasted on us… 'Grand Huit' is a rollercoaster, which aptly describes the growing season and the emotional state of most vignerons. It also describes the vintage in its most basic terms, Grand. These are big wines, with big concentration and structures, but Rauzan, like all the greatest 2018s is so much more than that. This is beautifully judged, effortless and very seductive. The Rauzan team has been using co-inoculation since 2016. The discovery of new bacteria that can be added at the same time as yeast (for the alcoholic fermentations) is seen as another big advance in winemaking. It allows winemakers to conduct alcoholic and malolactic fermentations simultaneously. It certainly seems to be working here - this is perhaps the most impressive young Rauzan Segla we can recall tasting. This is indeed a grand vin with huge concentration and power, yet it remains beautifully fragrant and classically Margaux. Initially a floral perfume greets the senses. Notes of griotte, strawberry, violets, geraniums, incense and tobacco emerge from the glass. The palate is sumptuous, creamy and relaxed. Yes, there is huge power here, but all the flavours are allowed space to play and delight. Dark cherry, sweet cassis, fine herbs and cocoa nibs flow over the palate. This is impressive and deep yet detailed and ethereal. This is pitch perfect - there's a flashy modernity to the fruit and incredible precision, but it isn't overworked, it feels authentic and real. It may not have the complexity or the enormous tannic profile of some of the most profound wines of the vintage, but it is definitely up there with the most delicious. A sumptuous, truly outstanding Rauzan Segla. 56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot and 2% Cabernet Franc.

Contains Sulphites.

About Château Rauzan Ségla

Bought by the Wertheimer brothers of the fashion house, Chanel, in 1994, Rauzan Segla has slowly undergone a transformation under the astute leadership of John Kolasa. Prior to the Chanel ownership, grapes were harvested by machine with no sorting tables and foot pressed before being fermented in enormous vats with little to no temperature control. Since 1994, new machinery, investment in the chai, combined with harvesting by hand and much greater selection in the vineyard have brought this 2nd growth estate into the 21st century as one of the foremost Margaux properties.

Stylistically, the wines do not possess the opulence of Palmer, or the ethereal quality of Chateau Margaux, but they are classical, balanced, elegant expressions of Margaux and are remarkably consistent given this can be a topsy-turvy commune. The 2010 Rauzan Segla was one of the outstanding wines in a truly remarkable vintage. Great strides have been made, and no doubt John and his team will continue to strive for even greater quality.

Appellation: Margaux

The wines tend to show more perfume and roundness than neighbour St-Julien, Pauillac, and St-Estèphe, whilst retaining a certain structure and concentration. Margaux is the most southerly and most extensive of the famous Médoc communes, a patchwork of vineyards with lesser parcels classed purely as Haut-Médoc. A myriad of soil mixtures can be found, clay, limestone, and gravel. Though quality is not always consistent here, the potential is great as more Margaux properties were included in the 1855 classification of the Médoc and Graves than any other appellation.

The two leading lights are the highly sought after Châteaux Margaux and Palmer, though there are several other solid performers including Brane-Cantenac, Rauzan-Ségla, Durfort-Vivens, Lascombes, Giscours, Ferrières, Malescot St Exupery and Luc Thienpont’s new boutique vineyard, Clos des Quatre Vents.

Grape Blend: Cab. Sauvignon | Merlot | Cab. Franc | Petit Verdot

The full complement of permitted Bordeaux varieties (excluding the rarely used Carmenere & Malbec) and the classic left bank Bordeaux blend. The Cabernets and Merlots usually dominate the blend with small percentages of Petit Verdot blended in for colour, structure and complexity. Several producers outside of Bordeaux have tried to emulate this with a Bordeaux style blend of their own, a particularly successful example being Cain Cellars in the Napa Valley and their splendid Cain Five.