|Sub-district||Saint Emilion & Satellites|
|Classification||1er Grand Cru Classé|
10% more Cabernet Franc here than usual now 60%, with the rest all Merlot. This does not dampen the joy of the glossy, full Merlot fruit, but it does add a wonderful dimension of subtle elegance. This is sophisticated and sleek. Lovely herbal character is soon caught up by the pure, very densely-packed, deep dark fruit. Clearly one for the longer haul - but there is such plump cushion surrounding the compact core already. Super. Rating: 94 L&S (Mar 2015)
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The 2014 Ausone has an almost pastille-like purity on the nose, equally red and black fruit laced with allspice and clove, gaining complexity all the time in the glass. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannin, fleshy and generous, a fine bead of acidity, gaining volume and mass towards the succulent, velvety smooth final third. This is a very seductive wine with not a hair out of place, though it is not the most cerebral Ausone that I have tasted in recent years. More an Ausone intent on sensory pleasure. Tasted blind at the annual Southwold tasting. Drinking range: 2020 - 2055 Rating: 95 Neal Martin, www.vinous.com (Mar 2018)
The 2014 Ausone is going to need at least a few years to fully come together. Delicate, sensual and perfumed, the 2014 is one of the most refined wines of the vintage. The high %age of Cabernet Franc confers aromatic intensity, freshness and nuance, but also gives the wine an unresolved reticence that will likely take years to melt away. The 2014 is a very pretty, restrained Ausone. The blend is 60 % Cabernet Franc and 40 % Merlot. Drinking range: 2020 - 2039 Rating: 95 Antonio Galloni, www.vinous.com (Feb 2017)
Pauline Vauthier told me that this year, there is more Cabernet Franc in the blend of the Château Ausone 2014: 60% with 40% Merlot. Both she and father Alain felt that some of the young, 10-year old Cabernet Franc was worthy of promotion into the Grand Vin, which represents two barrels. It was picked between 4 and 11 October at 27hl/ha and matured in 85% new oak rather than the 100%, a slight reduction as has been their policy since the 2011 vintage. It has a very perfumed, floral bouquet with dark cherries and blueberry with a touch of orange blossom that develops with aeration. The palate is imbued with a sense of freshness and joie-de-vivre - a less "serious" Ausone than in the past, but perhaps one that exudes greater terroir expression and tension from start to finish. I was quite smitten by this Ausone that comes across more self-effacing compared to other vintages, surfeit with style and panache. Drinking range: 2019 - 2035 Rating: 93-95 Neal Martin, www.vinous.com (May 2015)
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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