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Tasting Superstar Bordeaux: Chateau Canon and Chateau Rauzan-Segla

Members of the Vinum UK team recently spent some time with Jean-Basil Roland from Chateau Rauzan-Segla and Chateau Canon tasting through wines from both sides of the river from the 2018 and 2019 vintages. As ever, being able to taste these wines side by side and dive into the terroir and winemaking at these world class estates was a fascinating experience.


Overall the 2018s showed much more ripeness and density compared the elegance, freshness and sophistication of the 2019s. Stylistically it was clear to see that a preference for one or the other vintage is probably based upon personal taste.

Some interesting take away facts about Rauzan-Segla:

  • Rauzan Segla was founded in 1661 and purchased by Chanel in 1994.
  • It is 70ha in size, with 62ha in production.
  • Aim of the technical team at R-S is the preservation of the DNA of the chateau, more about terroir than winemaking.
  • There are 100 plots of vines from which the wines are blended with a distance of 8km between the furthest plots.
  • 70 vats in the cellar to allow for very precise blending.

There are3 distinct areas of plantings:

Riverside – shallow soils, limestone over clay and mostly planted to Merlot.

Historical vines – 17th century, near the chateau, on the band of land that all the classed growths run through – biggest gravel stones and deepest, running to 3m depth with a nice mix of clay which helps with humidity.

Inland – vines that face toward the ocean on the westerly side.

Global warming has meant that the team now fight to avoid excess maturity the grapes rather than struggling for ripeness, the opposite of ten years ago. The wines are now fermented at low temperature with very little pumping over to preserve delicacy.

The second wine, Segla, was first released under this name in 1989. Vines are average 35 years old compared to Grand Vin being 45 years old. Segla is mainly from the satellite plots whereas the Grand Vin is made up of 98% from the historical plots.

The Tasting:

2018 Segla

Very ripe, deep, vibrant blackcurrant, touch of Cabernet greenness on the nose. Very drinkable, plenty of mid-palate, will age 20 years. 55% Cab Sauv, 44% Merlot, 2% PV

2019 Segla

More floral and perfumed, delicate. Spicy with gentle oak on the palate, a little pink pepper. Fresher than ’18. 54% Merlot, 45% Cab Sauv, 1% PV.

2018 Rauzan Segla

100 points from Galloni and Suckling. Extraordinary nose, blood orange, big aromatics, black cherry. Cashmere texture on the palate, tannins big but silky, very complex, figs, saffron, orange, dark fruits, touch of mint. ’18 perhaps shows the vintage character more than the DNA of R-S. 120 pickers in the vineyard at harvest!

2019 Rauzan Segla

Once again the ’19 is fresher on the nose, delicacy and balance, plenty of structure but also vibrancy of black fruits. Touches of minerality on the finish. More reticent all round than the ’18 but the complexity and class is undeniable.


Croix Canon is a fascinating wine and comes from a dedicated vineyard that was formerly Chateau Matras. Canon is of course one of the most in-demand wines at every En Primeur campaign these days. Great work was done in the vineyards by John Kolasa with Nicolas Audebert taking over and continuing that good work in 2014. The vineyards are planted to 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Franc with the proportion of Cabernet Franc increasing.


2018 Croix Canon

This is more plummy with blueberry fruit and is a more plush style immediately. Vinified in the stunning 12th century chapel. Has an exotic edge, a little nuttiness and juicy with good acidity. Very drinkable.

2019 Croix Canon

The hallmarks of the ’19 vintage shine through here. There is a spicy elegance and a lovely soft sweetness with touches of freeze dried raspberry on the finish.

2018 Canon

This is altogether a step up from the Croix – already darker and richer, blackcurrant, some touches of tea and lavender. The texture is so soft, like a pillow. The oak is very well integrated here.

2019 Canon

This is the 1kg of feather wine – so beautiful and enticing on the nose, absolute cashmere texture, rosemary, herbs, almost like the Southern French garrigue. The oak is very well managed and brings in layers of complexity. Rich and intense without weight, a touch of minerality going on too. Outstanding.

2019 Berliquet

50% new oak here. 2018 was the first vintage. The estate is located between Canon and Croix Canon, an 18th century historical estate. Quite a different profile, there is more hi-toned fruit.


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