2018 Chateau Rauzan-Segla

Year: 2018
Appellation: Margaux
Country: France
Wine Spectator: 96-99
Wine Advocate: 97-99+
Vinous Media: 97-100
James Suckling: 99-100
Jeb Dunnuck: 96-98--Jeff Leve: 97-99
Red Wine


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"Very concentrated, atypically so for Margaux, with sappy kirsch and plum reduction notes that are well-defined and luxurious in feel, draping beautifully over a graphite underpinning on the finish. Very long. -J.M." (WS)

"The 2018 Rauzan-Ségla is blended of 56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. Cabernet Sauvignon was harvested from September 27 to October 11; Merlot from September 13-27; Cabernet Franc on September 28; and Petit Verdot from September 28-29. The wine has 14% alcohol and aging is anticipated to be 18 months in barriques, 65% new. Deep purple-black in color, it comes bounding out of the glass with exuberant notes of warm plums, crème de cassis, Black Forest cake and candied violets with hints of mocha, Indian spices and fragrant earth plus a waft of crushed rocks. Full-bodied, multilayered and sporting a lot of freshness and tension in the mouth in spite of all its decadent perfumed black fruits, it has a firm, finely grained frame and seamless freshness, finishing long and fragrant. Seduction in a glass.

“It was a tough year—a killer year,” began Technical Director Nicolas Audebert. “In fact, it was a disaster in June and July. We had a very hard time in the vineyard to try to balance things. The vineyard workers worked so hard during this time, to be sure to have volume without too much volume. The weather turned at the end of June, making the ripeness go very far and fast. The risk was to have too much concentration, density, etc.”

When I questioned him about the yields at Rauzan-Ségla in 2018, Audebert replied, “Our yields were a bit lower than average, but we are extremely pleased with the balance we have at those yields. We came in at around 32 hectoliters per hectare.”

There’s notably more Merlot in the Rauzan-Ségla blend this year—40% in 2018 as opposed to 36% in 2017, 30% in 2016 and 33% in 2015. “This year the Merlot has that density and juiciness we are looking for,” Audebert told me. “My top tanks are Merlot this year. People are saying forget Merlot because of climate change, but this year proves how great it can be. It should stay!”

Rauzan-Ségla’s finished blend has been done for four months. My tasting sample was from one-year-old barriques." (WA)

"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. " (VM)

"This is one of the most structured and deep Rauzans I have tasted with a full body, layers of fruit and a firm and polished tannin backbone. Compact and composed. Such depth and power. 60 per cent cabernet sauvignon and 40 per cent merlot." (JS)

"Unquestionably in the same class as the 2016, the 2018 Rauzan-Ségla is magical stuff and plays in the top tier of the vintage. A rough blend of 56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, and 2% each of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot brought up in 65% new French oak, its deep purple color is followed by complex notes of sweet crème de cassis, cigar tobacco, crushed flowers, lead pencil shavings, and crushed rock-like minerality. Full-bodied, concentrated, and incredibly classic in style, it’s made in a style similar to the 2016 yet is slightly more elegant (possibly not as concentrated), with building structure, beautiful purity, and a great, great finish. Like most vintages from this estate today, it will drink beautifully in its youth yet easily evolve for 30 years or more. For the data-driven people out there, this beauty hit 13.2% alcohol with a pH of 3.68. You probably couldn’t have too much of this in the cellar." (JD)

"Inky garnet with purple accents in the hue, the depth of color reveals only part of the story. The perfume, with its violets, espresso, smoke, tobacco leaf and a sea of stand out ripe, dark red fruits ranging from blackberry to plum. On the palate, the wine is plush, dense and full-bodied yet it glides. Already expressive in the nose and mouth, the finish matches perfectly with its outstanding level of purity, extract and freshness. Is this better than the majestic 2015 or the strong 2016? Perhaps it is! I'm waiting for a blind tasting. Give it ten years or just a bit longer and this beauty will shine for decades after that. The wine was produced from blending 56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot, reaching 14.0% alcohol with a pH of 3.8. The harvest took place September 12 to October 11. The Grand Vin was made from 45% of the harvest." (JL)