|Grapes||Cab Sauv, Cab Franc, Merlot|
|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 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.robertparker.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 MW OBE - www.JancisRobinson.com(Apr 2017)
A firm and silky red with lovely plum and berry character plus hints of wet earth and rose petals. Medium-bodied, very fine and wonderfully juicy. Another wine with finesse and length. Rating: 93-94 James Suckling, www.jamessuckling.com(Apr 2017)
Exceptionally high levels of Cabernet Franc in this wine in 2016, up to 56%, because the replanted plots are not quite ready for Ausone yet. But wow, this doesn't feel in any way like a compromise, a clear testament to the quality of the Cabernet Franc in this vintage. This is a second wine that laughs at the term - you would be thrilled to have this on your table and enjoy its distinctive deep, powerful and beautiful take on a St-Émilion limestone terroir. Floral, well-fleshed out raspberry and loganberry fruits. This is gorgeous and just keeps on delivering. 56% Cabernet Franc, 22% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot. Drinking range: 2025 - 2040 Rating: 93 Jane Anson, Decanter(Apr 2017)
One of the real standouts of the vintage, the 2016 Chapelle d'Ausone is mostly young vine Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon, with a dollop of old-vine Merlot. Pliant, supple and inviting, the 2016 is flat-out delicious. Readers who can find the 2016 should not hesitate, as it is not really a second wine, but more of an accessible version of the Grand Vin. Rating: 91-94 Antonio Galloni, www.vinous.com(Apr 2017)
The Grand Vin at Ausone was so good in 2016 that only 25% of production went into Chapelle, but this is still a very smart St Emilion. Serious, yet elegant, with lovely perfume of summer berries, crunchy acidity, fine-boned tannins and impressive length. Drinking range: 2024 - 2034 Rating: 93 Tim Atkin MW, www.timatkin.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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