|Grapes||Cab Franc, Merlot|
|Sub-district||Saint Emilion & Satellites|
|Classification||1er Grand Cru Classé|
50% Cabernet Franc, 50% Merlot. Deep colour, but not to the point of blackness. Rich harmonious purity of dark fruit on the nose, and the palate too is harmonious, immense, but with complete finese of tannin. Juice, freshness and savoury all balled together: a sense of indivisible power and richness, dense, all expressive and fruity, but with grandeur. Drinking range: 2030 - 2050 Rating: 94-96 L&S (Apr 2017)
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The 2016 Ausone initially left me nonplussed, and so I left my glass for 10 or 15 minutes before returning to a different wine. The nose had opened up to reveal red cherries, wild strawberry, rose petals and touches of crushed stone and pencil shavings. The palate is medium-bodied with fine-boned tannins and perfectly matched acidity. This is very refined and fleshy, almost Burgundian toward the finish, with just the right amount of bitterness. A brilliant wine, but it needs time. Tasted blind at the annual Southwold tasting. Drinking range: 2026 - 2070 Rating: 97+ Neal Martin, www.vinous.com (Aug 2020)
The 2016 Château Ausone is up with the crème de la crème of the vintage and isn’t far off the thrilling 2015, although it shows a more seamless, elegant character. Loads of spice, crushed violets, floral notes and subtle oak give way to a full-bodied beauty that has thrilling cassis and black raspberry fruits, polished tannin, perfect balance, and a great, great finish. This thrilling Ausone needs 4-6 years of bottle age but will keep for 30 years or more. Drinking range: 2023 - 2053 Rating: 98 Jeb Dunnuck, www.jebdunnuck.com (Feb 2019)
The 2016 Ausone is a blend of 50% Merlot and 50% Cabernet Franc picked 10-14 October and 14-19 October, respectively, at 40 hectoliters per hectare. It is matured in 80% new oak with a light toasting, a move that Alain and Pauline Vauthier have made in recent years just to lessen the impact of the oak. There is a palpable...stateliness about the Ausone this year. It is extraordinarily pure and articulates its terroir as well as any vintage that I can remember over the last 20-odd years. It is not as flamboyant as other Saint Emilions, more correct and precise. The palate is very elegant and precise. I adore the exquisite balance of this Ausone, the precision and fineness of the tannin, the effortlessness that it conveys. This is classy and sophisticated, satin-like in texture with a long and sensual finish. Not an Ausone that is going to blaze across the sky, this is a cerebral, intellectual Ausone that will entrance for many years to come. Drinking range: 2022 - 2067 Rating: 98-100 Neal Martin, www.vinous.com (Apr 2017)
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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