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Chateau Rauzan-Segla 1995
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Very ripe, with an almost raisiny edge. Light vanilla flavor. Full-bodied, with lots of ripe fruit and a long, caressing, silky finish. Gorgeous wine.
This wine was consistently outstanding from cask, and I suspect it may eventually merit an even higher score, but it was totally closed when I saw it in November. Unfortunately, it was one of the few wines that I was only able to taste once after bottling. Nevertheless, it is a classic vin de garde, with a saturated ruby/purple color, and a tight but promising nose of sweet plum and cassis fruit intertwined with underbrush, vanillin, and licorice scents. The wine is ripe, medium to full-bodied, and rich, as well as unyielding, ferociously tannic, pure, and layered. The finish is extremely dry (sec, as the French would say), with a brooding angularity and toughness. In spite of this, my instincts suggest the requisite depth is present to balance out the structure. This effort will also require a decade of cellaring. Anticipated maturity: 2007-2025.
The current chateau was built in 1903, designed by architect Louis Garros, who drew inspiriation from the original Perigord-style buildings in the the chateau, as well as G. LeBreton who designed the park and green spaces. Then time went by and the chateau gradually fell into a slumber.
Then, CHANEL purchased Château Rauzan-Ségla in April 1994 and immediately started a full renovation programme. The vineyard has been drained – a 15-kilometer network is now in place, 2 parcels of Petit Verdot were planted and 3 hectares of vines were grafted over with Merlot. Today, 51 hectares are in production for an average total production of 200 000 bottles – Château Rauzan- Ségla and its second wine Ségla. The winery has been adapted and large vats progressively replaced by smaller capacities – matching the parcels' sizes. From the 2004 picking on, grapes will be sorted on two 10-meter long vibrating tables, so that each single berry is checked before entering the vats. Maturation cellars have been completely renovated and a new room built for the bottling-labelling machines – making Château Rauzan-Ségla fully independent for the entire production process.
A large and diverse appellation within California’s North Coast AVA, Mendocino is home to several smaller sub-regions—most notably the Anderson Valley. This scenic region covered in redwood forests is one of the world’s top producers of certified organically-grown grapes. Due to wide geographical and climatic variation, a vast array of wine styles can be found here.
Unapologetically powerful, heady, and fruit-forward, Zinfandel is often thought of as a truly Californian grape, though in fact it is anything but. This variety has followed an intriguing trajectory to reach its adoptive home, beginning, surprisingly, in Croatia. Originally known as Tribidrag, it first made its way to southern Italy where it became known as Primitivo. From there it eventually migrated to what is now unarguably its most successful outpost, in California, and has thrived throughout the state. Of course, this is also the grape of White Zinfandel, a sweet pink wine that enjoyed great popularity in the 1980s and 90s. Though White Zin still has a significant following, today the variety is increasingly associated with the red version.
In the Glass
Zinfandel commonly features a bold, plush texture and notes of dark plum, blackberry, sweet spice, black pepper, dark chocolate, leather, and licorice, and can often be described as “jammy” and a little bit sweet. Very ripe examples may express a hint of dried fruit like raisin, fig, or prune. Despite its significant alcohol and weight, Zinfandel has very smooth, gentle tannins.
Zinfandel is a powerfully flavored wine, mingling happily with bold food like brisket, lamb shanks, pork ribs, or anything barbecued. If care is taken with regards to alcohol levels, Zinfandel’s hint of sweetness can work well with milder Indian-spiced dishes like lamb curry.
Thanks to its popularity both for home winemaking and as communion wine, many Zinfandel vines were able to survive prohibition, leading to the abundance of "old vine" Zinfandels. These low-yielding vines tend to produce wine that is concentrated, complex, and elegant.