The 2009 Ausone has a sumptuous bouquet with pure blackberry, raspberry, rose petal and orange blossom aromas. The wine is beautifully defined blossoms with aeration. It becomes very liquorice and menthol-like after 10 minutes’ aeration. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin. It is not a powerful 2009 and it feels sleek and quite tensile. Pure red fruit linger in the mouth with a very deft, almost understated finish. So elegant, so Ausone. Tasted blind at Farr Vintners’ 2009 Bordeaux tasting.
Drink 2021 - 2050
Neal Martin, vinous.com (Mar 2019)
Tasted blind. Medium-concentration crimson. Sweet and almost coconut oaky nose. Thick, sweet and attention-grabbing but it does lack a bit of freshness. More to be marvelled at than to refresh. Lots of alcohol.
Drink 2019 - 2035
Jancis Robinson, jancisrobinson.com (Feb 2019)
A masterpiece in the making, proprietor Alain Vauthiers 2009 Ausone boasts a dense purple color along with notes of powdered chalk, crushed rocks and wild blue, red and black fruits. Extravagantly rich with great minerality, precision and freshness as well as a voluptuous texture (unusual for a baby Ausone), this is an extraordinary wine. Sadly, there are fewer than 1,200 cases ... for the world.
Robert M. Parker, Jr., Wine Advocate (Dec 2011)
Such a dreamy, perfumed aroma to this wine. Full-bodied, but wonderfully polished and integrated. It touches every millimeter of your palate and the texture makes you want to cry. It touches your soul. Goes on for minutes. Another perfect red?
James Suckling, Wine Spectator (Apr 2010)
Incredible nose of currants and blueberries. Flowers too. Licorice. Such purity on the nose of Cabernet Franc. Full body, incredible structure, with fabulous tannins and a long, long finish. Built out of stone. The prefect Ausone. Try after 2022.
James Suckling, jamessuckling.com (Mar 2012)
About this WINE
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.
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
The most widely planted grape in Bordeaux and a grape that has been on a relentless expansion drive throughout the world in the last decade. Merlot is adaptable to most soils and is relatively simple to cultivate. It is a vigorous naturally high yielding grape that requires savage pruning - over-cropped Merlot-based wines are dilute and bland. It is also vital to pick at optimum ripeness as Merlot can quickly lose its varietal characteristics if harvested overripe.
In St.Emilion and Pomerol it withstands the moist clay rich soils far better than Cabernet grapes, and at it best produces opulently rich, plummy clarets with succulent fruitcake-like nuances. Le Pin, Pétrus and Clinet are examples of hedonistically rich Merlot wines at their very best. It also plays a key supporting role in filling out the middle palate of the Cabernet-dominated wines of the Médoc and Graves.