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Ausone owes its unique quality and longevity to a magic marriage of situation and soil. The steep slopes of the vineyard are arranged like an amphitheatre, facing southeast, which gives perfect exposure and maximum protection, and the soil is a mixture of clay and sand on limestone. When old vines and the ability to pick the entire vineyard quickly, due to the small size, are added to the recipe the result is something special. Ausone grows in bottle in a highly individual way, expanding and becoming more ample, although always retaining its scent and finesse.
Ausone has only 7.3 hectares of vines and its vineyards (Merlot 50%, Cabernet Franc 50%) flourish on a steep, south-east facing slope, protecting them from cold north winds and westerly rain. Those vines at the top of the slope thrive on limestone (the `St.Emilion plateau') whilst those further down benefit from a clay/loam topsoil (the 'Côtes').
Ausone struggled during the 1950s and 1960s, but with the hiring of new régisseur Pascal Delbeck in 1976, the estate returned to producing wines worthy of its outstanding historic reputation. Recently Ausone has been at the very peak of its form and with the ubiquitous Michel Rolland now acting as consultant, it is now producing ultra-rich, lush, exotically fruity wines that require a minimum 10 years of bottle ageing.
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
Bordeaux 1959 was proclaimed the wine year of the century by overzealous journalists. Even though it was an excellent year, it simply was not the best of the century. The year started off with ideal weather conditions. Summer was perfect all the way until the autumn, when the rains came in mid-September. But the rains made way for hot, dry weather, thus setting a magnificent stage for the start of the harvest. The result was a truly ripe and juicy crop. The reds are typically full-bodied, with soft acidity and a fat mouthfeel that comes from the high alcohol content. Even though the vintage is generally compared to 1961, it has much in common with the 1949. The Sauternes vintage was equally a success and the region produced some very long-lived wines. Once again the Château Lafite-Rothschild achieved complete success, sharing the title of best wine of the vintage with the Haut-Brion. Right on their heels is the Pétrus, which should be decanted for at least three hours before drinking, and the La-Mission-Haut-Brion.