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2013 1er Grand Cru Classé Saint Emilion Château Ausone

Colour Red
Origin France, Bordeaux
Sub-district Saint Emilion & Satellites
Village Saint Emilion
Classification 1er Grand Cru Classé

Dark and dumb with a little spice on the nose. Attack is again dense and fine, furred with tannins full of black fruit flavour and a kind of enlivening, dancing acidity. Lots of fruit and savour depth. Mouthcoating, it remains on the border of pleasant austerity. The finish is full of blueberry fruit, dry and savoury. A wine with serious depth for the medium to long-term. 2022-2035 Rating: 93++? L&S (Apr 2014)

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Probably the wine of the vintage, once again. Only 9,000 bottles of the 2013 Ausone were produced, as crop size was 50% of normal. However, proprietor Alain Vauthier and his daughter certainly have proven a truly great wine can be produced in some of the most trying conditions Bordeaux wine producers have had to deal with over the last 20 years. Yields were only 22 hectoliters per hectare and the final blend was 55% Cabernet Franc and 45% Merlot. The haunting aromas of wet rocks, spring flowers, blue and black fruits and forest floor are followed by an incredibly dense, attractive wine with sweet tannin, stunning concentration and texture, medium body and a depth that is essentially unreal in a vintage such as this. The wine is a superb example of great winemaking under the most difficult circumstances. Unlike more recent Ausones, this should be reasonably drinkable in 5-6 years and yet be capable of lasting 25-30. 2019-2049 Rating: 93-95 Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate, (Aug 2014)

(55% cabernet franc and 45% merlot; represents production of 22 hectoliters per hectare): Bright red-ruby. Spicy pepper and oak notes dominate reticent strawberry, cedar and green coffee bean aromas. Gains in richness and density with aeration, with red fruit flavors picking up more sweetness and volume. Finishes bright and very lively, with strong but harmonious acidity giving it a light touch, although the youthfully chewy tannins betray a hint of greenness at the back. A very different Ausone from some of the powerfully structured behemoths of recent vintages. Rating: 89-92 Ian d'Agata - Stephen Tanzer website (May 2014)

Cabernet Franc 55% Merlot 45% There is a lovely spicy mix of flavours on the nose all very black fruit in character. Rich and ripe fruited the palate has a fleshy richness depth of fruit with fine tannins a lovely balance. There is weight of fruit richness on the back palate yet a more refined elegant feel on the spicy finish. 2018-2030. Rating: 91-94 Derek Smedley MW, (May 2014)

Château Ausone

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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