|Grapes||Merlot, Cab Sauv, Cab Franc|
|Sub-district||Saint Emilion & Satellites|
56% Cabernet Franc, 22% Merlot, 22% Cabernet Sauvignon. Touch of oak on the first nose, but the fine pure curranty fruit is hard behind. Very ripe, sweet attack, velvet richness and stunning purity. Power and intensity too, then lift from the limestone giving the finish a mineral kicker too. Impressive. Drinking range: 2025 - 2040 Rating: 92-94 L&S (Apr 2017)
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The 2016 Chapelle d’Ausone offers intense black cherries, raspberry coulis and marmalade aromas on the nose, manifesting more delineation in the glass over the course of 10–15 minutes. The palate is medium-bodied with fine-grained tannins, very pure black fruit and tangible mineralité and tension on the finish. This is pure class, a wine of nobility and deliciousness. Tasted blind at the annual Southwold tasting. Drinking range: 2022 - 2045 Rating: 95 Neal Martin, www.vinous.com (Aug 2020)
The 2016 Chapelle d'Ausone has the highest proportion of Cabernet Franc at 56% this year, complemented by 22% Merlot and 22% Cabernet Sauvignon. Matured in 80% new oak, it has a very floral, incense and rose petal-scented bouquet that blossoms from the glass. There is an underlying mineral vein here, but it may take a few years to come out. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannin, crisp acidity, cohesive with good backbone, with fine salinité on the finish. It is just a fabulous Deuxième Vin. Drinking range: 2022 - 2045 Rating: 93-95 Neal Martin, www.vinous.com (Apr 2017)
80% of the two Cabernets - young vines. Very deep crimson. Round and polished. Very grown up and glossy. Lots of drive and ripe fruit. Long and luscious. Difficult to see what is wrong with this. Except it's a little dry on the end. Drinking range: 2024 - 2038 Rating: 17 Jancis Robinson OBE MW - www.JancisRobinson.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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