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  • Time

    18:34 PM
  • Wine average?

    95 Tb
  • Country Ranking?

    78
  • Region Ranking?

    42
  • Popularity ranking?

    54

History

Château Ausone is a Bordeaux wine from Saint-Émilion appellation, one of only four wines, along with Château Cheval Blanc, Château Angelus, to be ranked Premier Grand Cru Classé A.

Ausone takes its name from Decimus Magnus Ausonius (310-395 CE), a statesman and poet from Bordeaux who owned about 100 acres of vineyard, and it is believed by some that Château Ausone stands upon the foundations of his villa. Placed on the western edge of 11th century village Saint-Émilion, with elevated vineyards facing south on steep terraces in ideal situation, Ausone was one of a few wineries who escaped the terrible frost of 1956, unlike neighbours like Cheval Blanc who lost several years' vintages and in some cases suffered destruction of vines.

History Château Ausone is a very old property with medieval historical significance. In it's more recent history, the wines from the château suffered from lower quality and a lessened reputation in the middle of the 20th century. Ausone began to return to it's historical positon of greatness with the hiring of Pascal Delbeck in the 1970's. Delbeck was in charge of Ausone beginning with the 1976 vintage. As of 1995, he no longer played a role in the winemaking but remained in charge of the vineyards. The property had been owned for generations by a partnership of the Dubois-Challon family and the Vauthier family. In the mid 1990's, the Vauthier family gained sole ownership of Château Ausone. Alain Vauthier controls all aspects of the winemaking. He began using Michel Rolland as the consulting wine-maker beginning with the 1995 vintage.  Since 2005 Alain's daughter Pauline, a qualified oenologist, has been working with him.

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Vineyards

The vineyard is 7,3 hectares (17 acres), arranged with the grape varieties of 55% Cabernet Franc and 45% Merlot, planted with a density of 6,500 plants per hectare.Due to the small scale of the vineyards, picking may be done at an optimal moment, usually in two afternoons. 

Named after the 4th Century poet Decimius Magnus Ausonius (310–395 CE), a statesman and poet from Bordeaux who owned about 100 acres (0.40 km2) of vineyard. It is believed by some that Château Ausone is on the foundations of his villa, this is a property with medieval historical significance and a glowing reputation for wines with outstanding longevity and poise. 

 

Ausone limestone was sometimes a refuge, sometimes a resource. Being both easy to shape and resilient, it soon became sought after and was used to build a substantial part of Bordeaux’s architectural heritage. For seven centuries, quarrying hollowed out enormous galleries under the chateau, which remain with a maze of tunnels as a reminder of the quarryman’s labour. Most symbolically, the rock became homes for whole families, who took up residence inside the abandoned quarries.

The Ausone rock also constitutes a vast religious chronicle. It was not just a place to live but also a place to pray. In the Middle Ages, the thick limestone bank that lies above the property hosted burials and then a small Romanesque chapel. It is still there today, standing in the middle of one of the parcels, a place of worship surrounded by vines. And beneath it lies another treasure of Christian art, an underground rotunda with a fresco of the Last Judgement.

The rock is however a lot more than just a backdrop for the vines; it provides an essential limestone medium in which they bury their roots. And further below, the barrels of wine patiently wait in the underground quarries that were converted into cellars in the eighteenth century. In the peace and silence, the humidity and stable temperatures combine to create ideal conditions for ageing.

Time, as if slowed by the weight of the stone, lovingly crafts each vintage.

On its rocky perch,

the chateau distributes its seven hectares (17 acres) of vines across small terraces. Surrounded by stone, these parcels are sheltered from the wind, while enjoying a perfect east south-east exposure. The very generous sunshine, together with the Dordogne and Isle rivers that meet nearby, concoct an ideal microclimate for the vines. Nature sees to it season after season that everything works together to ensure the growth of the finest fruit.

The estate’s soils and weather couldn’t provide a more promising terroir. Even episodes of extreme weather hardly disturb the harmony that has become established here. The devastating winter frosts of 1892 or 1956 were no exception. While many estates were hard-hit by the freezing cold, Ausone’s vines enjoyed astonishing immunity.

However, this is nothing to brag about, because the lesson is clear: what nature offers here is good fortune, not entitlement.

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Winemaking

Roughly 1,500-2,000 cases of Ausone are produced each year. Barrels and bottles are stored in large, cool, humid galleries of unvarying temperature, which were cut out of the hill at the end of the 16th century to provide stone for the restoration of the Saint-Emilion town walls. Vinification is carried out in temperature-controlled oak vats. The wine is then aged in barrel for about 20 months

The majority of Ausone’s vines are Cabernet Franc with a smaller proportion of Merlot. They all reach an age of fifty years on average, while in some places they are a century old. The seasoned terroir has always benefitted from the attentive care of winegrowers. The estate can be quickly covered on foot, which makes it easier to look after. No detail escapes the vineyard crew, who keep a steady eye on the rows, while tasting the grapes. No pre-set calendar is applied, the fruit itself sets the pace and regulates everyone’s patience.

 

Beyond the vines themselves, the wider ecosystem is also taken into account. Hedges, fruit trees and aromatic plants are also grown as companions for the vines, stimulating a fertile exchange between species, backed up with natural applications of nettle, willow and valerian. A variety of wildlife is also preserved, including insects, birds and even bats, which all contribute in their own way to releasing the vital energy in the soil.

Château Ausone rarely sticks to any one strict regimen. Methods inspired by both organic and biodynamic procedures are implemented, which are above all the gentlest ways to craft wines. In fact, in this legendary vineyard, the best tactic that Man can adopt is discretion. From the vineyard through to the cellars, all the deliberate, measured practices employed pursue a single ambition, that of enabling the terroir to express itself as genuinely as possible.

The estate also offers a lovely overture, Chapelle d’Ausone. Crafted in the same conditions as its elder sibling, its slightest concern is that it is made with grapes from young vines that will later produce the First Wine. Beside the Cabernet Franc, the Merlot stands out more distinctly, enhancing the crisp fruit and mingling with the subtlest hints of Cabernet Sauvignon. As always, Ausone’s hallmark of taste, its omnipresent elegance, is passionately displayed.

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Inside information

Records mention the existence of the vineyard at least as early as 1592. The estate was founded by two families, the Chatonnets and the Cantenants. In more recent times, for two centuries, Château Ausone was the property of the Vauthier and the Dubois-Challon families.
Today it belongs to Alain Vauthier and his sister Catherine, who bought their aunt Hélyette Dubois-Challon’s share in 1997. Alain Vauthier runs the estate and makes the wine. Since 2005 his daughter Pauline, a qualified oenologist, has been working with him.

The site is exceptional: divided between the limestone plateau and Saint-Emilion’s calcareous clay slope, facing east-south-east and sheltered on its north and west sides, Ausone was one of very few Saint-Emilions to come unscathed through the terrible frosts of February 1956. The 7 hectares of vineyard, lying in a single plot around the château, are planted with 55% of Cabernet Franc and 45% of Merlot. The vines are very old, with an average age of 50 years. Their low yield (33 hectolitres per hectare) in part explains the wine’s concentration and its potential for improving over time.

Roughly 1,500 cases of Ausone are produced each year. Barrels and bottles are stored in large, cool, humid galleries of unvarying temperature, which were cut out of the hill at the end of the 16th century to provide stone for the restoration of the Saint-Emilion town walls. Vinification is carried out in temperature-controlled oak vats. The wine is then aged in barrel for about 20 months.

Château Ausone is a wine of marvellous balance, which nonchalantly defies the passage of time. Great vintages may expect a half-century's lifespan. The wine is a combination of finesse and admirable fullness, with elegant fruit and smooth fleshy texture, which is never too massive.

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2 different wines with 102 vintages

Highlights

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Wine Moments

Here you can see wine moments from tastingbook users.    or    to see wine moments from your world.

 James Suckling., Wine Writer (United States)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Ausone . In a tasting of  17 wines 

Château Smith-Haut-Lafitte Blanc 2021 / This has so much depth and power, with complex notes of flint, oyster shell, white pepper, dried mango, lemon, papaya, apricot stone and chalk. Medium-to full-bodied. Bright, yet creamy. It’s so long and concentrated. Wait and see. 90% sauvignon blanc, 5% semillon, 5% sauvignon gris. From organically grown grapes. 98-99

3m 10d ago

 Christer Byklum , Wine Writer (Norway)  tasted  2 wines  from  Château Ausone . In a tasting of  21 wines 

2021 Château Ausone / Ruby. Scented, delicate, nuanced, bright, layered, floral and intense nose. Fresh acidity, ripe tannins, blackberries, silky smooth, velvet, detailed, elegant and refined, the texture is unbelievable in this wine, beautiful! A very graceful wine. 12,7% alcohol. About 8000 bottles made. 96-98p

4m 13d ago

 Markus Del Monego MW/BWW2022-Best Germany Wine Critic of the World, Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  2 wines  from  Château Ausone . In a tasting of  745 wines 

This years "en primeur" tasting seemed like a journey in time. Bordeaux is back to a more moderate alcohol level and the style is lighter and more elegant. One could say the wines are reminiscent of the 80s, however made with more experience and the modern techniques today. It is not a powerful vintage. The wines are elegant, however the well made ones have an excellent persistence, depth and length. They offer a convincing potential for a long ageing and promote elegance in Bordeaux again. It is a true vintage of terroir although there is a lot of talk about a vintners vintage. However, terroir was the decisive factor in 2021.


Professor Axel Marchal has presented the 10 key points of this vintage on the occasion of the Union des Grands Crus press tasting:


"1. The start of the growing season was marked by severe frost on the 7th and 8th of April.


2. Wet and gloomy weather in May slowed down the vine growth although a providential window of fine weather helped flowering unfold in ideal conditions in early June.


3. Thunderstorms in June slowed down the onset of water stress.


4: Cool, dull weather in July increased the threat of vine diseases.


5. Véraison (colour change) was observed in mid-August, while vine growth had not stopped yet.


6. Thanks to a cool summer, the dry white wines are brilliant, lively and aromatic.


7. The wonderful Indian Summer allowed the red grape varieties to ripen in ideal conditions and preserved aromas.


8. The Merlots are fresh and aromatic while the Cabernets from the finest terroirs are well-structured with good balance.


9. The development of Botrytis cinerea in Sauternes was delayed by the cool summer and eventually triggered by rainfall in mid-September.


10. Despite low yields, the botrytised sweet white wines are of excellent quality."


It will be exciting to see the evolution of this vintage which produced in many cases yields on a very low scale. Arguably it will be a vintage praised for it finesse in the future. A vintage rated on finesse and persistence rather than on sheer power and opulence.

4m 24d ago

 Jeannie Cho Lee MW, Wine Writer (South Korea)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Ausone . In a tasting of  29 wines 

1982 is an iconic vintage for Bordeaux, and for many wine lovers, it’s a reference point as a modern, ripe year that was delicious from the onset. The top wines are still holding up well and show no signs of fading. However, some of the lesser wines are starting to show its age. This ripe vintage has given us a wide drinking window, regardless of the specific appellation and terroir. For those that still have some top 1982 Bordeaux in your cellar, there is no rush to pull the cork. A long life ahead awaits these beauties.

10m 27d ago

 Christer Byklum , Wine Writer (Norway)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Ausone . In a tasting of  53 wines 

2017 Opus One / Ruby. Cassis, blueberries, anise, spices, vanilla, liquorice, some coffee, layered nose. Fresh acidity, ripe tannins, dark fruits, juicy, spices, liquorice, detailed and layered, nuanced, intense and superb length. 96

11m 13d ago

 James Suckling., Wine Writer (United States)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Ausone . In a tasting of  25 wines 

Château Angelus 2018 / The aromas are incredibly complex with dark berries, elderberries, bay leaves, cloves and tile, follow through to a full body with layers of creamy and lightly dusty tannins that deliver a lingering finish and great attention to detail. The flavors range from black fruit to earth and stones. It’s reserved and poised with great intensity and power, in a toned and formed mode. One for the cellar. Try after 2026.
 

1y 8m ago

 Mario Sculatti / Sleeping Lady Vineyard, Wine Maker (United States)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Ausone . In a tasting of  19 wines 

Tasting wines from 1980's like Sassicaia 1985, Mouton 1985, Hill of Grace 1989, Opus One 1984 etc.

1y 10m ago

 Clive Coates / MW, Wine Writer (France)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Ausone . In a tasting of  41 wines 

Montrachet, 2002 Domaine Des Comtes Lafon.
Montrachet, please notice. No Le, as the plot is on the Chassagne side. Here was a wine which took its time to come out of the glass. At first I was a little underwhelmed, but after ten minutes or so, the richness, concentration, and indeed a succulence almost like a red wine, began to appear. We have something which is quite oaky, still quite youthful, full bodied and very classy indeed: the depth unmistakably of a grand cru. Quite splendid!

1y 10m ago

 Jeannie Cho Lee MW, Wine Writer (South Korea)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Ausone . In a tasting of  47 wines 

Domaine Etienne Sauzet Montrachet Grand Cru 2017
Incredible intensity and depth in this Montrachet in 2017. Focused, complex with layers of toasted nuts, white flowers and lots of minerals. Wonderful example of this grand cru vineyard. The wine stands out as clearly the most complex and intense from Sauzet. From 50-60 year old vines; only 4 barrels made.


99 points

1y 10m ago

 Neal Martin/BWW2022 - Best Bordeaux Wine Critic of the World, Wine Writer (United Kingdom)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Ausone . In a tasting of  25 wines 

The 1966 Petrus is often overshadowed by the 1961 and 1964, however, it remains a great vintage that has held up well. It has a much more reserved earthier bouquet than those aforementioned vintages, more black than red fruit infused with clove, autumn leaves and mahogany bureau. It is beautifully defined and noble, offering ash-like/fireside hearth scents with aeration. The palate is extremely well balanced with fine tannin that are slightly drier and more rigid than the 1964. That said, this bottle demonstrates more flesh than the previous one a couple of years back, a gentle sprinkling of white pepper towards the statesmanlike finish. This benefits from time in the glass, stretching its arms to reveal a deeper, slightly gripper Petrus than initially observed. Outstanding. Tasted at the Petrus dinner at Hide restaurant in London.

2y 23h ago

 Izak Litwar , Wine Writer (Denmark)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Ausone . In a tasting of  20 wines 

I participated in very interesting tasting in Copenhagen, February 2020, of mainly wines from 1970 vintage, but also some flights “face to face” in vintages 1975 and 1983. Wines were tasted semi-blind, meaning that we had the list with names, but didn’t know two “ringers” which were included in the tasting. We didn’t know either the order of wines served in each flight. Some great bottles showed up confirming indeed their splendid provenance. I simply don’t understand how several well-established wine-critics rate Pichon Comtesse, Mouton Rothschild and Montrose from 1970 that low? We absolutely didn’t complain about wines served that cold Friday evening in February 2020. It was awesome experience!

2y 5m ago

 Neal Martin/BWW2022 - Best Bordeaux Wine Critic of the World, Wine Writer (United Kingdom)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Ausone . In a tasting of  25 wines 

The 1961 Palmer is a wine that tends to deliver upon its gargantuan reputation and we were rewarded with an exemplary bottle here. It has a clear colour with modest bricking on the rim. The bouquet is difficult to encapsulate into words – utterly ethereal. Heavenly definition, almost Burgundy-like in purity with traces of pencil box and pressed violets. It grows in stature with each swirl of the glass and leaves you transfixed. The palate is bestowed beguiling balanced, almost symmetrical, framed by filigree tannin and pitch perfect acidity. Like the aromatics it coheres with aeration, the fruit undiminished by time even if it is no blockbuster. Quite the opposite – this 1961 Palmer is the apotheosis of finesse with just a hint of balsamic on the aftertaste. This Margaux can bring you to tears of joy. Tasted at the 1961 dinner Chairman Miaow’s in Hong Kong.

2y 6m ago

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