Unquestionably one of the biggest names of the Right Bank, this is also one of the oldest chateaux in the whole of Bordeaux. Situated at the edge of the limestone plateau on the approach to the village of Saint Emilion, at an altitude of 75 metres, Ausone dominates your view as you drive in to the village, with its beautiful stone gateposts, steeply sloping vineyards, and dry stone walls. Underneath the chateau are kilometre upon kilometre of stone quarries, the smallest of which (at 1,800m2) is the wine cellar. This was excavated back in the 16th century (most of the stone in Saint Emilion ended up building either the village itself, or the handsome limestone buildings in central Bordeaux). Further underground are stone vaults dating back 500 years! The humidity in the cellars is at well over 90%, meaning that they rarely have to perfrom ouillage (topping up), and the angel's rarely get their share! Above ground there is also the Magdeleine chapel (hence the name of the second wine of the estate, Chapelle d'Ausone), which again adds to the sense of mystique on visiting Ausone. They are currently renovating the chapel, and also creating a small room for receiving visitors (although don't hold your breath that this will ever be a centre for wine tourism - the Vaultier family are very discreet, and it is tough to get an appointment here). One of the smallest of all the top estates in Bordeaux, at just over seven hectares (smaller than its Saint Emilion rival Cheval Blanc, smaller even than Petrus in neighbouring Pomerol, but twice the size of le Pin), vines have been cultivated here since the time of Roman poet Ausonius. I'm not sure anyone is suggesting that Ausonius actually owned this vineyard, but it is likely to have been named in his honour.