|Sub-district||Saint Emilion & Satellites|
|Classification||1er Grand Cru Classé|
One can’t say enough about the amazing job that Alain Vauthier and his daughter have done at this historic property on the decomposed limestone slopes of St.-Emilion. Not surprisingly, the 2012 Ausone is one of the candidates for the wine of the vintage. Inky purple in color, with notes of crushed rocks, spring flowers and blueberry and black raspberry, the wine grows on the palate, offering up amazing concentration. There is no heaviness or cloying characteristics. Pure, rich, full-bodied and, although accessible, it is capable of lasting 30 or more years. This will be one of the profound 2012s, following what Haut Brion and Mission Haut Brion did in Pessac-Léognan. Drink it 2022-2050+. Drinking range: 2022 - 2050 Rating: 96 Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate, www.RobertParker.com (Apr 2015)
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The mix of black fruits on the nose is rich with a lovely ripe feel. The sweetness on the start of the palate is balanced by red fruit freshness layers of complex flavours with fine tannins underpinning. The finish has length and an attractive mineral freshness. 2018-28 Rating: 94-97 Derek Smedley MW, www.dereksmedleymw.co.uk (Dec 2013)
The Grand Vin is a blend of 55% Cabernet Franc and 45% Merlot that is being raised in 85% new oak. A lot of young vines of Cabernet Franc were put into Chapelle instead of the Grand Vin this year, but the older vines were not affected. It was picked on 9th, 11th and 12th October (Merlot) and 13th, 15th, 17th October (Cabernet Franc.) It has a broody bouquet compared to the 2011 last year, with a marine-like influence – seashells and a touch of seaweed. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannins, crisp acidity (pH3.55) with a compact, tense and structured finish. This is a very composed Ausone, finely tuned, understated and classy. I feel it will give more out of bottle. Rating: 93-95 Neal Martin, www.vinous.com (May 2013)
Rich dark purple and inky. Touch of oak but not overworked. A touch reduced so has a smoky edge. Supple on the mid palate. Elegant and still richly fruity and a light Cabernet Franc leafiness in the empty glass. Great length. No excess of extraction or oak. 2022 - 2035. Rating: 17.5 Julia Harding MW, www.JancisRobinson.com (Apr 2013)
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.
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