When the organizers of the Paris exposition in 1855 set out to rank the most important chateaux in Bordeaux, only 65 were found to be worthy for inclusion. Considering that there are over 9000 châteaux in this largest quality wine-producing region of the world, the 65 properties were crème de la crème. Although over a century has passed since this historic classification, the ranking is still holds true.
Château Rauzan Segla, approximately one hour’s drive north of the city of Bordeaux in the village (commune) of Margaux in Haut Medoc, was ranked the top of the second growth after the top four. (Chateau Lafite, Château Haut Brion, Chateau Margaux and Chateau Latour). At the top of the second growth was Chateau Mouton Rothschild, which was (reclassified and upgraded in 1973) and is now a premier cru, and included in the premier grand cru.
Chateau Rauzan Segla originally was one property with Rauzan Gassies and consisted of 65 hectares. Rausan Gassies was already well known in 1530, but eventually both properties were separated into Château Rauzan Segla and Chateau Rauzan Gassies. Of the two, Segla enjoys a better reputation today and fetches appropriately high prices. Segla lies just across the road from Chateau Margaux (Grand Premier cru) ands Chateau Palmer (Third growth). It had a turbulent history in that it changed hands several times after Pierre des Mesures de Rauzan bought it in 1661 and attached his name to the property. The family made wine there for 205 years and Thomas Jefferson imported its wines for his enjoyment.
The chateau was sold to the Cruse family in 1866 and Chanel, the famous perfume producer and haute couture design house bought it in 1990.
The chateau was constructed in 1904 and fully renovated after Chanel acquired it from the then owner of the British holding company.
The encepagement consists of cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, merlot and petit verdot. The soil overlooking the Gironde is gravelly. The saying in Bordeaux; “ Vineyards that see the water produce the best wines” is still true today as when it was first coined.
Under the stewardship of John Kolasa, a Scot who started in the wine business at the lowest level is his uncanny ability to coax the best the vines gives him every year.
The wines are aged for 16 months in 225-liter barriques, and only fined with egg whites, but never filtered. He feels filtering robs the wines of their very essence. Considering the fact that the chateau produces 800 barrels, and only 30 can be fiend by hand per day, this slow process takes almost a month.
is reputed to producing very fine, perfumes, and full bodied wines, capable of aging for more than a decade, often two.
Recently this writer had an opportunity to taste a barrel sample of the excellent 2000 vintage, and found the wine to have a brilliant red, with the smell of blackberries a superbly refined mouth feel and multidimensional flavour. The aftertaste was long and intense. The wine would benefit from at least five years of cellaring and continue until 2013.
1999 was equally fine, but slightly les intense. It exuded strawberry and cherry aromas, had a full body, excellent flavour and elegance with a long satisfying aftertaste.
Chateau Rauzan Segla
also produces a second label called simply Segla. This label consists of wines that fail to make the grade for the chateau label. They are still very fine wines and deserve the attention of wine consumers and connoisseurs. Second labels sell for considerably less than the regular chateau label.
Robert Parker, the government lawyer turned wine critic, considers this château the best of all the second growth classified properties.
This property’s wines represent good value and deserve the attention of all Bordeaux aficionados and the general wine consumers.