We recently hosted a tasting and dinner for around 70 people at The Jockey Club Rooms, Newmarket, at which we were delighted to welcome John Kolasa, Managing Director of Château Rauzan-Ségla in Margaux and Château Canon in St Emilion.
The evening started with a tasting of eight wines in the Committee Room. We were privileged to be able to taste barrel samples of the much talked about 2010 vintage from both Rauzan-Ségla and Canon and these did not disappoint. Two other wines stood out – the 2006 Ch.Canon was very elegant with lovely pure fruit, whilst the 2005 Ségla (2nd wine of Ch. Rauzan-Ségla), although still in its early stages of development, highlights why 2005 is rightly considered one of the greatest vintages of the last 25 years. It also shows the dramatic rise in quality of the top Chateaux’s 2nd wines. Starting to drink now, it will develop further over the next 2-3 years.
Dinner was in the Coffee Room and the Chef produced an excellent meal which complemented the wines beautifully. The favourite wine of the dinner (at least at my table) was the 1999 Ch Rauzan-Ségla which, perhaps surprisingly, appeared a little more forward and open than the excellent 1996. However, for me the star of the evening was a little known Sauternes, Domaine de l’Alliance (we had the 2007) which adjoins Ch de Fargues (owned by the Lur Saluces family, former proprietors of Ch d’Yquem, and considered by many to be Yquem’s “little sister”). At a mere fraction of the price the Domaine de l’Alliance is a truly delicious wine with superb balance and a long and complex finish.
John kept us all entertained with an excellent talk about his life working in Bordeaux where, by the early 1990’s, he had become Commercial Director of Ch. Latour before being head-hunted in 1994 by the Wertheimer Brothers (owners of Chanel) to turn around first Ch. Rauzan-Ségla and then Ch. Canon.
At the end of the evening many of the happy guests enjoyed a tour of The Jockey Club Rooms, led by William Gittus, whilst I (and a few others) enjoyed a brief tour of the Fine Art in the hallways and main rooms in the company of Ben Hanbury – there are some truly spectacular pieces to be seen!