Tasted on numerous occasions (and at every opportunity), this Chanel owned property is back on tip top form. One of the outstanding successes from the Margaux commune, Rauzan Segla has produced a spellbinding 2009, which offers a mass of floral aromas; a veritable vase of violets, juicy black cherries, cassis and fine minerals. Although very refined this has serious concentration, power and structure. There is ample sexy, creamy fruit on the palate, framed by the wonderfully constructed and not insubstantial tannins. A really impressive Rauzan that wows yet remains true to its terroir.
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.
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.