Last week I took part in a major blind tasting of nearly 200 significant 2005 bordeaux now that they have had 10 years in bottle. I will report on it in detail next week. One of the more surprising results was just how well Ségla, the second wine of Ch Rauzan-Ségla, showed. It was the second-favourite wine overall in the blind Margaux flight, nestling between Ch Rauzan-Ségla and Pavillon Rouge de Ch Margaux. And some of us – seven out of 18 highly professional tasters – even scored it higher than Rauzan (17.5 as opposed to 17 for the grand vin in my case). The second wine is certainly even more pleasurable to drink now, and costs only about a quarter the price of Ch Rauzan-Ségla itself.
Here’s my tasting note on Ségla 2005: ‘Light and lifted on the nose. Just very slightly sour but nicely transparent and fresh. Racy. Ready. 17.5 Drink 2015-30’ What I particularly liked about it was that it really did taste like a Margaux, beautifully perfumed and not trying to be a St-Émilion. And of course I appreciated that it is already drinking so well.
(For what it’s worth, my note on Ch Rauzan-Ségla 2005 was ‘Mid crimson. Real interest and complexity on the nose. Very readable and with a hint of violets. On the verge of skinny but good balance. Marked acidity. 17 Drink 2016-35’)
Our main image is of the distinctive tower that features on the Ségla label below.
As it happens, I happened to have a chance to taste Ségla 2014 this week at Justerini's showcase in London of some top 2014 bordeaux with some older vintages of the same châteaux (full report to follow). Again, the Ségla showed very well – not as stunningly as the 2005 looked when tasted blind against a host of grands vins, but very competently. My note on Ségla 2014: ‘Lovely toasty but not sweet nose. Very winning (like the 2005!). Not Margaux Lite, just Early Sprouting Margaux. Nice graphite finish. GV 16.5 Drink 2020-26’
Inspired by this, later than same day, celebrating – finally – the sale of our old house, I chose the glass of Ségla 2007 from magnum currently being offered at our son’s Portland restaurant. My note, considerably less studied than the other two above on Ségla 2007: ‘Deep crimson. Plump and alluring with fully evolved tannins and heady perfume. Not the fullest nor most opulently concentrated fruit but very refreshing. 16.5 Drink 2013-20’
So, there you have it – real enthusiasm for this second wine from the Margaux second growth owned by the Wertheimers, the family behind Chanel. No wonder it’s so elegant.
All these vintages – 2005, 2007 and 2014 – were made during the reign of John Kolasa who moved to Margaux from Ch Latour, although 2014 was the year when both Kolasa and the new man in charge, Nicolas Audebert, were in the saddle. Kolasa ran an admirable operation, as witness the sterling performance of Rauzan-Ségla in recent years, but Audebert is already showing good form too. During last year’s primeurs showing, we all heartily approved of his allowing tasters to choose which barrel they tasted from at Rauzan and its sister property in St-Émilion Canon.
Now, what about prices and availability?
2005 – Farr Vintners, who sell in bond all over the globe but only to those prepared to order £500 worth of wine at a time, are currently offering this at £300 a dozen while Christopher Keiller, who has excellent stocks of Ségla in various vintages, lists it at £368.75 a dozen in bond. In Holland you can find it at €26.35 a bottle – a snip – and according to winesearcher.com it’s also on offer by the bottle in Hong Kong and, at a much higher price, Australia.
2007 – Farr Vintners have it in magnum only at just £200 for six magnums in bond, which seems a good price to me. Christopher Keiller and Bon Coeur are offering cases of bottles for a bit more. It’s also available in magnums in Germany.
2014 – This has only just been released on the Bordeaux place and orders are still coming in, but Justerini & Brooks are already offering it at £230 a dozen in bond. I would expect to see it more widely available eventually, and of course there is absolutely no hurry to get your hands on it physically.
The Bordeaux 2014s were coming along nicely, by the way.