Last Wednesday night I attended a Bordeaux Shippers‘ tasting at the Royal Automobile Club in Sydney. These tastings are a great opportunity to sample out-of-reach legendary Bordeaux wines like the Château Mouton Rothschild, Premier Cru Pauillac 1996 ($1,142) as well as some excellent Bordeaux in more affordable price ranges.

One of my favourites of the evening was the Château Rauzan-Ségla Deuxieme Grand Cru Classe Margaux 1996 ($185). Ok, not exactly a bargain, but this wine is widely regarded as a “super-Second”, and one of the best wines in the appellation after 1st growth Château Margaux.

One of the oldest estates in Bordeaux, Château Rauzan-Ségla has a bit of spotted history, which may be why its name is not as familiar as it should be to most people. Apparently Thomas Jefferson, one of the world’s greatest oenephiles, bought a few cases in 1790, and in 1855 the estate was ranked Deuxieme Grand Cru Classe, equal at the time to Château Mouton Rothschild. The Wine Advocate’s Neal Martin notes that the wines of the 19th century have become legendary. (Neal Martin, Château Rauzan-Ségla, eRobertParker.com, November 2006)

But for most of the 20th century, its reputation waned and it was not until the 1980s, when the château was taken over by the négociants Eschenauer, that the vineyards were replanted and the winery modernised.  Since 1994 the perfume house Chanel has continued to make a substantial investment in the estate, restoring its position as the head of the class of the 14 2nd Growths.

 

Less than 100,000 bottles of the Grand Vin are produced each year. A blend of 54% cabernet sauvignon, 41% merlot, 4% petit verdot and 1% cabernet franc, the wine is fermented in stainless steel tanks and then barrel aged for 18 to 20 months in barriques, … Read the rest