“Seduction in a glass” – Lisa Perrotti-Brown

“Seduction in a glass” – Lisa Perrotti-Brown
Nicolas Audebert coined the phrase the “Grand Huit”, the big eight or the rollercoaster. A clever play on words that appositely sums up the sentiments of vignerons and the style of the vintage. As ever, there is a refreshing honesty from the Canon, Rauzan and Berliquet team – this after all, was a vintage with tumultuous ups and downs that ultimately ended in elation.

Since Nicolas assumed control in 2015 both Rauzan and Canon have experienced unparalleled success. 2018 is no different, however, tables have been turned. Whilst both wines are off the charts in terms of quality, our team clearly felt that Rauzan Segla has got one over its Right Bank compatriot. That is not to say that Canon is anything but exceptional, it’s just that Rauzan Segla has achieved a new level of excellence. Even the other-worldly 2010 and 2015 don’t come close – this is a masterpiece, a wine that towers above the rivals. For us it was one of the wines of the vintage; a view echoed by many of the major critics.

“The 2018 Rauzan-Ségla is fabulous. Regal and soaring in the glass, Rauzan-Ségla is simply unforgettable. Stunning aromatics and layers of flavor develop in the glass in a drop-dead gorgeous Rauzan that will leave readers weak at the knees. Inky and explosive, the 2018 possesses off the charts intensity and richness. Leather, licorice, spice and grilled herbs add nuance as the 2018 builds to a huge crescendo of aromas, flavors and textures on the finish. I won't be surprised if one day the 2018 is considered among the greatest Rauzan-Séglas of all time. It is a tremendous achievement by the property and the team lead by Technical Director Nicolas Audebert. Don't miss it! Tasted four times. 97-100/100”. - Antonio Galloni, vinous.com, May 2019

Canon too was glorious, albeit in a more mineral infused, serious style than the benchmark 2015. The power and concentration of the vintage have been harnessed into a deep melting pot of dark, graphite and earthy cassis. It is introspective and profound, yet there is energy and lift as well as considerable refinement to the imposing tannins. In short, they are both exquisite and would be worthy additions to the most discerning of cellars. Alas, volumes are limited, so these wines will have to be allocated.

“The 2018 Canon is blended of 72% Merlot and 28% Cabernet Franc, with a pH of 3.69 and 14% alcohol. Deep purple-black in color, it comes sashaying out of the glass with glamorous notes of cinnamon stick, baked blackberries, black cherry compote and licorice plus an undercurrent of plum preserves and smoked meats and, with coaxing, reveals a lovely floral signature of candied violets and red roses. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is wonderfully soft-spoken, whispering of fragrant floral and earthy scents beneath a core of profound, mouth-coating black and blue fruits, draped in a high level of super ripe, plush tannins, finishing with amazing freshness and perfume with loads of mineral sparks emerging. 97-99/100”. - Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, The Wine Advocate

Please note that these Chateaux have released significantly less wine this year. As such, both these wines will have to be allocated.

And last, but by no means least, we have the Wertheimers’ latest acquisition, Chateau Berliquet. This is the first full vintage under the new ownership, and Nicolas and his team have pulled out all the stops. Never before have we tasted a Berliquet with this level of precision, with such glorious texture and potential. Nicolas would modestly say it’s a work in progress, and we are sure there is more to come, however, this is a very strong debut. At £198 per six bottles, this is a great price for one of the up and coming stars of the appellation.

“This was really Nicolas Audebert’s first vintage at Berliquet, since the property was acquired by Chanel in the autumn of 2017. The most significant, immediate change from 2018 came from noticing that blocks of the vineyard had Merlot and Cabernet Franc interplanted. These used to be harvested together. This year the different cultivars were flagged and harvested separately so as to achieve optimal ripeness for both varieties. The 2018 Berliquet is blended of 78% Merlot and 22% Cabernet Franc and has 14.5% alcohol. Deep purple-black in color, it leaps from the glass with bold kirsch, blueberry compote and Black Forest cake with touches of cloves, lavender, menthol and lilacs. Medium to full-bodied and elegant, with lovely freshness lifting the densely packed blue and black fruit flavors, it has a velvety texture and long, earthy finish. 93/95+/100”. - Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, The Wine Advocate