Ausone 2003

SubregionSt Emilion

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Tasting Notes

Amazing! The limestone soils of Ausone appear to have been the perfect foil for resisting the extreme heat and drought of June, July and August, 2003. This black/purple-colored effort boasts a glorious nose of violets, truffles, lead pencil shavings, blueberry and blackberry liqueur. Full-bodied with staggering concentration, a voluptuous texture, low acidity and well-integrated, melted tannins, this deep, multidimensional, profound Bordeaux is beginning to drink exceptionally well. It should continue to do so for another two decades or more. Drink: 2014 - 2034

Score: 100Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (214), August 2014

Score: 100Robert Parker, Hedonists Gazette, May 2007

The 2003 Ausone is off the charts in terms of richness. While I gave a 3-digit score to the 2000, I think this profoundly concentrated wine may be even more sublime and exotic. Its inky/blue/purple color is followed by an extraordinary perfume of flowers, crushed rocks, sweet raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, and God knows what else. The impression is one of extraordinary richness and purity, and a multilayered texture yet a surreal lightness as well as laser-like precision. This exquisite offering must be tasted to be believed. Incredibly young, it will undoubtedly close down over the next few years, re-emerging after 15-20 years. It should last for 70-100 years. It is a wine for anthology!

No one in Bordeaux has made greater progress in taming the extraordinary potential of this noble terroir than Alain Vauthier, an obsessed perfectionist if there ever was one. He has instituted a Draconian selection at this tiny estate, both in the vineyard and the cellar, and the second wine, Chapelle d’Ausone, has also become one of the region’s finest wines. Prospective purchasers should be aware that Ausone requires 10-20 years of cellaring before it approaches maturity.

Score: 100Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (164), April 2006

There are only 18,000 bottles of this wine, which certainly will be a candidate for perfection. The limestone soils supported the heat and drought of 2003 better than the gravelly, sandy oils of St.-Emilion. Ausone obviously benefited perfectly from the climate. In addition, the little bit of rain that fell at the end of August was the magic key that opened the door to what looks to be a modern-day legend. Black/purple to the rim with an extraordinary nose of graphite, incense, licorice, Asian spice, and copious quantities of black and red fruits and that almost liquid minerality, this astoundingly great wine is the essence of Ausone and the essence of what makes Bordeaux so special. Will it evolve for 50, 75, or perhaps 100 years? Who knows? It is a magnificently concentrated, seamless, harmonious, brilliant wine that even after tasting a quarter million and twenty-six years on the road, it still gave me chills. If you can find it, if you can afford it, and if you have good DNA for aging, buy it. Anticipated maturity: 2020-2075.

Score: 96/100Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (158), April 2005

Made from 23 hectoliters per hectare, there are only 1,500 cases of the prodigious 2003 grand vin. A blend of 55% Cabernet Franc and 45% Merlot, it is one of the greatest wines I have ever tasted from cask. An inky/purple color is followed by an extraordinary crystalline, statuesque bouquet of flowers, raspberries, blackberries, liqueur of minerals, and a hint of quince. Extremely rich yet light and seamless with a nearly endless finish (it lasts for over 70 seconds), this is an ethereal, monumental effort. No one who knows proprietor Alain Vauthier will be surprised to learn that he has produced a 2003 Ausone that equals or surpasses his perfect 2000. A perfectionist in all senses, he oversees every detail, and constantly keeps his mind open for new winemaking techniques that might enhance Ausone’s extraordinary terroir. In contrast to the 2000 at a similar age, it comes across as more flattering because of low acidity and higher alcohol, I suspect it will close down and re-emerge in 10-20 years. This extraordinary terroir has produced an amazing 2003. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2050+.

Score: 98/100Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (152), April 2004

Loads of blackberry, plum and strawberry. Intense fruit. Layers of everything. Wonderful balance and refinement.

Score: 96James Suckling, Wine Spectator, February 2006

Score: 95/100James Suckling, Wine Spectator (April 04), April 2004

One of the standouts of the vintage

Score: 18.5Jancis Robinson MW, (April 04), April 2004

Score: 18.5+Farr Vintners, Southwold Bordeaux Tasting, January 2007

Score: 19Michael Schuster, The World of Fine Wine (1), April 2004

Please note that these tasting notes/scores are not intended to be exhaustive and in some cases they may not be the most recently published figures. However, we always do our best to add latest scores and reviews when these come to our attention. We advise customers who wish to purchase wines based simply on critical reviews to carry out further research into the latest reports.