Tasted twice with similar notes. This has a deep, almost inky colour. It is quite perfumed with notes freshly cut flowers, deep cassis and intense little black berries. It appears slightly mean and lean, but there is plenty of substance and with coaxing one can see into the muscular, taut core of dark fruit and minerals. It's quite hard work, but it is worth sticking with. It is almost reclusive, but there is class here. The pure cassis notes are long and display real breed. Not the easiest wine to taste at this stage, but structurally it's all there and this will no doubt metamorphosize in barrel and bottle into something quite special.
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.