The undisputed star of the Margaux UGC (not that that was difficult). We re-tasted this again at Ulysse Cazabonne against some stiffer competition (Haut Bailly, Canon, Leoville Barton and Figeac) and we could confirm what we already knew - this is a stunning Margaux. Produced from 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 3.5% Petit Verdot and 1.5% Cabernet Franc, John Kolasa, Henry de Ruffray, Jean-Claude Loubere and father and son consultants, Jacques and Eric Boissenot have coped with the hail, heat and drought admirably to produce a splendid Rauzan Segla. A floral, quite feminine bouquet leads to a fine, sumptuous palate of clear berry fruit and gravelly minerals. This is not a blockbuster, nor is it an extrovert; this is all about silky texture and polished fruit - a most refined and beautiful Claret, which will charm drinkers for many years to come.
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.