2008 Ch. Ausone, St Emilion

2008 Ch. Ausone, St Emilion

Product: 20088008785
Prices start from £4,139.58 per case Buying options
2008 Ch. Ausone, St Emilion

Description

Ch. Ausone was our first stop in St Émilion when tasting the 2008s and, it has to be said, it was quite an experience. We had heard that the quality was good on the Right Bank but we really were spoilt by our first taste of it. The entire Ausone stable showed very well but the Grand Vin was incredible; it was full of glorious dark fruit, so concentrated that one had the impression it was all concertina-ed together, just waiting to spring out at a future date. A lovely, silky smoothness denoted its First Growth quality, and there was depth and complexity with warm, sweet vanilla spice and a wonderful balsamic tang on the finish. ‘Wow’ featured in most of our notes; this was simply gorgeous.
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About this WINE

Chateau Ausone

Chateau Ausone

Chateau Ausone is named after the Roman poet Ausonius who owned over 100 acres of vineyard around Saint Emilion. It is perched on the hillside in the southern outskirts of the village of Saint Emilion.

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.

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St-Emilion

St-Emilion

St Emilion is one of Bordeaux's largest producing appellations, producing more wine than Listrac, Moulis, St Estèphe, Pauillac, St Julien and Margaux put together. St Emilion has been producing wine for longer than the Médoc but its lack of accessibility to Bordeaux's port and market-restricted exports to mainland Europe meant the region initially did not enjoy the commercial success that funded the great châteaux of the Left Bank. 

St Emilion itself is the prettiest of Bordeaux's wine towns, perched on top of the steep limestone slopes upon which many of the region's finest vineyards are situated. However, more than half of the appellation's vineyards lie on the plain between the town and the Dordogne River on sandy, alluvial soils with a sprinkling of gravel. 

Further diversity is added by a small, complex gravel bed to the north-east of the region on the border with Pomerol.  Atypically for St Emilion, this allows Cabernet Franc and, to a lesser extent, Cabernet Sauvignon to prosper and defines the personality of the great wines such as Ch. Cheval Blanc.  

In the early 1990s there was an explosion of experimentation and evolution, leading to the rise of the garagistes, producers of deeply-concentrated wines made in very small quantities and offered at high prices.  The appellation is also surrounded by four satellite appellations, Montagne, Lussac, Puisseguin and St. Georges, which enjoy a family similarity but not the complexity of the best wines.

St Emilion was first officially classified in 1954, and is the most meritocratic classification system in Bordeaux, as it is regularly amended. The most recent revision of the classification was in 2012

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Cab.Sauvignon Blend

Cab.Sauvignon Blend

Cabernet Sauvignon lends itself particularly well in blends with Merlot. This is actually the archetypal Bordeaux blend, though in different proportions in the sub-regions and sometimes topped up with Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot.

In the Médoc and Graves the percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend can range from 95% (Mouton-Rothschild) to as low as 40%. It is particularly suited to the dry, warm, free- draining, gravel-rich soils and is responsible for the redolent cassis characteristics as well as the depth of colour, tannic structure and pronounced acidity of Médoc wines. However 100% Cabernet Sauvignon wines can be slightly hollow-tasting in the middle palate and Merlot with its generous, fleshy fruit flavours acts as a perfect foil by filling in this cavity.

In St-Emilion and Pomerol, the blends are Merlot dominated as Cabernet Sauvignon can struggle to ripen there - when it is included, it adds structure and body to the wine. Sassicaia is the most famous Bordeaux blend in Italy and has spawned many imitations, whereby the blend is now firmly established in the New World and particularly in California and  Australia.

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Reviews

Customer reviews

The Wine Advocate98/100
Jancis18.5/20
Parker98/100

Critic reviews

The Wine Advocate98/100
Possibly the wine of the vintage, the 2008 boasts an inky/blue/purple color as well as a glorious perfume of spring flowers, blueberry and blackberry liqueur, camphor, truffles and crushed rocks. With great fruit on the attack and mid-palate, a medium to full-bodied, multidimensional mouthfeel and a skyscraper-like finish, this prodigious effort over-delivers, even for this phenomenal terroir. Give it 5-8 years of cellaring and drink it over the following 40-50 years.
Robert M. Parker, Jr. - 02/05/2011 Read more
Jancis18.5/20
55% Cabernet Franc (picked 20 Oct), 45% Merlot (picked 17 and 18 Oct). Deliberately not picked for over-ripeness. 27 hl/ha. 16,000 bottles - Polished blackish purple. Wonderfully exotic and ripe on the nose – very nervy and exciting, Really caresses the palate. Lovely sensuality with lots of acidity and tension but fully ripe black fruit flavours. So clean and brilliant! So finely etched. Still very dry on the end but not excessively so. Great punch and energy. Definitely like an electric shock.
Jancis Robinson MW - jancisrobinson.com - Apr 09 Read more
Parker98/100
Possibly the “wine of the vintage,” the 2008 boasts an inky/blue/purple color as well as a glorious perfume of spring flowers, blueberry and blackberry liqueur, camphor, truffles and crushed rocks. With great fruit on the attack and mid-palate, a medium to full-bodied, multidimensional mouthfeel and a skyscraper-like finish, this prodigious effort over-delivers, even for this phenomenal terroir. Give it 5-8 years of cellaring and drink it over the following 40-50 years.
Robert Parker- Wine Advocate- May 2011

The 2008 Ausone tasted much more forward and softer than most Ausones do at this stage, which is remarkable considering the extremely late harvest...Nevertheless, it is a packed and stacked St.-Emilion displaying unreal fruit density, and that liquid mineral component that comes from this steep, limestone vineyard. The wine possesses dense fruit, full-bodied power, remarkably sweet tannins, and more elevated acidity than in such years as 2000, 2001, 2003, 2005, and 2006. The acidity seems low because of the wealth and density of the fruit. I can conceive of drinking this Ausone with some degree of complexity in less than ten years...
Robert Parker- Wine Advocate - Apr 09 Read more