CHÂTEAU AUSONE

2017 1er Grand Cru Classé Saint Emilion

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

The 2017 Ausone was cropped at 35hl/ha between 23 and 25 September with respect to the Merlot and 28 and 29 September for the Cabernet Franc. It is aged in 100% new oak as usual for 20 months. It has a crisp, precise, mineral-driven bouquet with slightly more red fruit than black this year: crushed strawberry, hints of cassis, blueberry and traits of freshly tilled loamy soil. The palate is medium-bodied with cashmere tannin and a fine line of acidity. It is very harmonious and already quite seductive. I admire the depth of this Ausone, the sensuality that is conveyed towards the sustained, glycerin-tinged, peacock’s tail finish that lingers for more than 45 seconds. What a great Ausone this is destined to be. Drinking range: 2024 - 2050 Rating: 94-96 Neal Martin, vinous.com (May 2018)

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Blended of 55% Cabernet Franc and 45% Merlot, the deep garnet-purple colored 2017 Ausone offers up slowly emerging notes of crushed black plums, blackberries and mulberries with nuances of anise, violets, new leather and unsmoked cigars plus suggestions of black olives and truffles and a touch of cast iron pan. Medium to full-bodied with firm, very finely grained, super ripe tannins and an uplifting backbone of freshness perfectly supporting the profoundly layered, tightly wound yet incredibly intense fruit, it finishes very long with mineral accents and compelling tension. Rating: 97-99 Lisa Perrotti-Brown, RobertParker.com(Apr 2018)

55% Cabernet Franc, 45% Merlot, 20 months in new French oak. Vines all more than 50 years old, some much older. Darkest purple crimson. Smoky, lightly charry aroma from the oak and an inviting mineral/dusty quality and fresh, pure cassis fruit shines out. Succulent, the oak swallowed by the fruit on the palate. Concentrated and so full of fine, pure dark fruit. The tannins are compact but also somehow sweet, giving a firm but very smooth framework for the fruit. Long and fresh. Very good, and impressive harmony already. Drinking range: 2027 - 2040 Rating: 18 Julia Harding MW, www.JancisRobinson.com(Apr 2018)

This is totally stunning, demonstrating depth, texture, salinity and flesh. It manages to be both austere and generous at the same time, pushing and pulling. It's a totally different conversation to many others wines this year. There was no frost effect here, although some of their other estates were fully wiped out. Harvested 23-29 September from 7.25ha planted at densities ranging between 6,500-12,600 vines per hectare. 100% new oak. Drinking range: 2027 - 2043 Rating: 97 Jane Anson, Decanter(Apr 2018)

This is a centered and deep red with blueberry, raspberry, mineral, stone and lemon aromas. Full-bodied, focused and polished. Lovely length. Gentle yet structured. Supple. Rating: 96-97 James Suckling, www.jamessuckling.com(Apr 2018)

Many of the Vauthier parcels lower down the St Emilion slopes were devastated by frost, but Ausone was spared. The yield of 35 hl/ha is fairly typical for this domaine. The blend in this vintage is 45% Merlot, picked September 23rd and 25th, and 55% Cabernet Franc, picked September 28th and 29th. It has a fragrant nose, immediately more expressive, convincing and direct than La Chapelle d’Ausone, with pencil-shaving graphite notes and red rose-petal scents coming from the Cabernet Franc, also with some darker nuances, black fruit perhaps from the Merlot, with tobacco and oak. The palate shows a confident medium body, with plenty of pencil-shaving-dusted red plum fruit, wrapped up in an elegant and reposed substance, underlined by some very fine, tightly grained and confident tannins. Fresh, fragrant, with an impressive and yet very controlled structure, leading into a full finish appropriately grained with tannins. This is a fine Ausone. Rating: 94-96 Chris Kissack, www.thewinedoctor.com(Apr 2018)

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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