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  • Country ranking ?

    167
  • Producer ranking ?

    6
  • Decanting time

    4h
  • When to drink

    2020-2035
  • Food Pairing

    Beef

The Tb points given to this wine are the world’s most valid and most up-to-date evaluation of the quality of the wine. Tastingbook points are formed by the Tastingbook algorithm which takes into account the wine ratings of the world's best-known professional wine critics, wine ratings by thousands of tastingbook’s professionals and users, the generally recognised vintage quality and reputation of the vineyard and winery. Wine needs at least five professional ratings to get the Tb score. Tastingbook.com is the world's largest wine information service which is an unbiased, non-commercial and free for everyone.

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The Story

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

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Vintage 2023

Challenges and triumphs: the 2023 vintage in Bordeaux

The Bordeaux wine region has long been revered for its exceptional wines, shaped by a delicate dance between nature and human skill. However, the 2023 vintage was proof of the resilience and adaptability of winegrowers in the face of difficult weather conditions. From the relentless weather conditions to the current activity in the vineyards in November, this year has been a rollercoaster ride for Bordeaux winemakers.

One of the most important events that shaped the 2023 vintage was the unpredictable weather. Unpredictability prevailed: early warmth was followed by atypical cold spells, accompanied by sporadic and often intense rainfall. There were several periods of frost during the budding period, a danger that sent shivers down the spines of the winegrowers. Spring frosts, especially after the first budding, can be devastating for the sensitive vines and affect the yield and possibly also the quality of the grapes.

The summer months brought with them a number of challenges. Unusual heat waves and prolonged drought put the vineyards under additional stress. A lack of water can affect the quality and yield of the grapes, which can lead to smaller berries and an imbalance between sugar and acid content. But the winegrowers in Bordeaux have always been resilient and have used their expertise to adapt to these adversities.

There has been much speculation and hope about the quality of the 2023 harvest in the Bordeaux region. Despite the stormy weather conditions, we are cautiously optimistic about the overall quality of our harvest. Initial tastings and assessments suggest that the grapes that have weathered the storms, while yielding less, show promising complexity, concentration and a balance of sugar and acidity – a possible testament to the craftsmanship and expertise  - a vintage that could surprise with its quality and character.

 

Suckling, the first major critic to publish his views on Bordeaux 2023 vintage, is ebullient about the quality of the vintage. "In many ways, I like them better than many of the highly touted 2022s", he begins, "because they are so Bordeaux in their nature with their tensioned mouthfeels and energetic finishes. Many 2022s are very powerful and rich, highlighting the extremely hot and dry grape-growing conditions of the vintage. Some are almost international in their essence."

According to Suckling several senior chateau prefer 2023 to the widely celebrated 2022s, including L'Eglise Clinet's Noemie Durantou Reilhac, whilst Pierre-Oliver Clouet sees 2023 as "much more Cheval Blanc".

Like Jane Anson, he also notes that this is a heterogeneous vintage that favours "top terroirs and top winemakers", where you can find "terrific-quality wines, but they are different than 2022. I would compare these 2023s to 2019 or 2001 – even 1990 – for their freshness and balance of ripe fruit."

Suckling's top scoring wines include Canon (99-100), Le Pin (99-100) & Pavie (99-100), whilst value picks include Haut-Brisson (95-96) and de Ferrand (94-95).

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Tasting note

Be the first one to make a 20s tasting note!

Written Notes

I visited this property in mid-April and spent an hour with Edouard and Constance Vauthier, during which I enjoyed tasting their 2023s. The Grand Vin is made from a blend of 60% Cabernet Franc and 40% Merlot and has an alcohol content of 14%. This blend has the highest percentage of Cabernet Franc in recent years. Although the 2023 Ausone is delicate, it should not be underestimated due to its underlying power and intensity beneath its elegant, finesse-clad, and sophisticated core. The wine has an extremely seductive floral aroma (violets!) with great complexity, sublime structure, and excellent acidity. Huge amounts of fruit perfectly balance the oak. The aftertaste won’t end. It is difficult to say if it is better than the 2022s, but we will know that after bottling. 98-99p.

  • 99p

Toucher de tannin brillant, bouche complexe, dense, racée et élancée sur fond de fleurs poivrées qui se mêlent à un fruit d’une grande pureté. On le jugera sur le
temps long mais cet ausone s’est montré plus expressif que ses pairs lors des dégustations primeurs. 96-97

  • 97p

Dark ruby, purple reflections, subtle brightening on the rim. Spicy, red forest berries, fresh cranberries, a hint of herbs and blackberries, floral nuances. Juicy with ripe red cherries, balanced and fine, ripe tannins, fresh acidity, salty and mineral aftertaste, appears light-footed, a refined wine for the table.

  • 96p

Scented, blackberries, dark fruits, nuanced and detailed, spices, liquorice, floral, bright nose.
Fresh acidity, ripe tannins, dark fruits, anise, spices, detailed, layered, intense, textured, juicy, fine tuned, detailed, minerals, long finish. 96-98

  • 98p

I don't think I have tasted an Ausone like this. The purity of fruit and fluidity is so primary, like perfectly picked grapes with their juice. Then there is citrus freshness. It's muscular, with toned tannins that caress the palate and give a seamless finish. This really could push the boundaries for the character of Ausone, in the way of finesse with structure. Watch it. 60% cabernet franc and 40% merlot. 98-99

  • 99p

 Dark purple colour with violet hue and black core. Elegant yet persistent nose with freshness and precision, complex character, aroma reminiscent of blackberries, plums, mulberries, noble spices, elegant toasting and hints of cocoa powder. On the palate very sophisticated style with refined character, excellent tension, depth and length. 

  • 99p
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Origin

St.Emilion, Bordeaux
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