|Subregion||France > Bordeaux > Right Bank > St Emilion|
Alain Vauthier has made massive improvements at Ausone since taking full control of the winemaking and management of his family property in 1997. The wines made here are now in a totally different league from those produced in the 1970's and 1980's. Ausone vies with Petrus and Cheval Blanc as the right bank's top Chateau. With production levels even less than those of Petrus, Ausone has become one of the most in demand and hard-to-find wines of Bordeaux. The 7 hectare vineyard (average age of vines is 50 years) is planted with 55% Cabernet Franc, 45% Merlot and production rarely exceeds 2000 cases.
The 2016 Ausone is a blend of 50% Cabernet Franc and 50% Merlot and it has a deep garnet-purple color. It is incredibly closed to begin, offering glimpses of juicy blackberries, plum preserves, and cedar chest, before unfurling to offer a whole array of exotic spices, sandalwood, violets, and notes of crushed rocks, plus a touch of smoked meats. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is so closed and tightly knit to start off, delivering peeks at mineral, floral, and opulent spice accents, with a rock-solid structure of grainy tannins and bold freshness, finishing with epic length. It needs a good 8 years+, but should cellar for at least 40 more!
The 2016 Ausone initially left me nonplussed, and so I left my glass for 10 or 15 minutes before returning to a different wine. The nose had opened up to reveal red cherries, wild strawberry, rose petals and touches of crushed stone and pencil shavings. The palate is medium-bodied with fine-boned tannins and perfectly matched acidity. This is very refined and fleshy, almost Burgundian toward the finish, with just the right amount of bitterness. A brilliant wine, but it needs time. Tasted blind at the annual Southwold tasting. 2026 - 2070
Very exotic and fascinating with dark-berry, floral and violet aromas that follow though to a full body that is tight and polished with ultra-fine and driven tannins. They really are amazing. A wine with such strength and finesse at the same time. Confident and real Ausone. A blend of 50 per cent merlot and 50 per cent cabernet franc. Better after 2025.
The incredible succulent power in Ausone puts a different perspective on other wines, as it so often does. The epitome of perfumed finesse. The yield is up at 40hl/ha, high for these poor limestone soils, and the remarkable clarity of expression that runs right through the delicate but fleshy raspberry and smoke-tinged palate is helped by a pH of 3.5 (compared to 3.6 last year). In my book this counts as one of the truly exciting signatures of the vintage and that is only boosted by the limestone terroir. Stunning, with enormous persistency and a finish that just doesn't want to quit. From a blend of 50% Merlot and 50% Cabernet Franc, aged in 80% new oak barrels. 98-100 points.
Drinking Window 2027 - 2050
Deep crimson. Very ripe nose and then rather chewy end. Drying finish. Not charming for the moment - even a little exaggerated. Though there is a broad panoply of fruit flavours that come rather precipitously to a drying end.
Alain Vauthier has made massive improvements at Ausone since taking full control of the winemaking and management of his family property in 1997. The wines made here are now in a totally different league from those produced in the 1970's and 1980's. Ausone vies with Petrus and Cheval Blanc as the right bank's top Chateau. With production levels even less than those of Petrus, Ausone has become one of the most in demand and hard-to-find wines of Bordeaux. The 7 hectare vineyard (average age of vines is 50 years) is planted with 55% Cabernet Franc, 45% Merlot and production rarely exceeds 2000 cases. The yield in 2016 is 40hl/ha with a 50:50 split between Cabernet Franc and Merlot in the blend. Just 25,000 bottles will be produced. Inky dark colour in the glass and profound in aromatics, with black cherry, black chocolate and coffee with a touch of barbecue smoke. The palate is initially rich, round and powerful with dense and concentrated black fruit, vanilla and sweet spice. Through the mid-palate the wine finds supremely impressive finesse and focus, with the acidity bringing lift and precision to the fruit, which is laser-like on a very long, complex, and ethereally intense finish. Without doubt one of the wines of the vintage and Grand Vin.
The 2016 Château Ausone is up with the crème de la crème of the vintage and isn’t far off the thrilling 2015, although it shows a more seamless, elegant character. Loads of spice, crushed violets, floral notes and subtle oak give way to a full-bodied beauty that has thrilling cassis and black raspberry fruits, polished tannin, perfect balance, and a great, great finish. This thrilling Ausone needs 4-6 years of bottle age but will keep for 30 years or more. 2023 - 2053.
The nose is restrained fragrant the palate has freshness but mid richness and concentration. Sweet fruit is supported by fine well integrated tannins the mid freshness gives a stylish elegance with at the back ripe black and red fruits. 2027-42
Cheap it will not be when it’s released, but this is a magnificent, even stately Ausone, with masses of colour, beautifully integrated 80% new oak, beguiling freshness, layered tannins and a core of fruit sweetness complemented by chalky minerality. 2028-40
The 2016 Ausone was mightily impressive from barrel. Bottled in July 2018, it has a very intense bouquet of black cherries, cassis, cedar and light pencil box aromas emanating from the 50% Cabernet Franc. The palate is medium-bodied with supple, filigreed tannin that belies the density and structure of this Ausone. There is something agile about Alain and Pauline Vauthier's wine this year. Yet the wine also reveals considerable depth and concentration, gently but insistently gripping the palate with a touch of white pepper and Earl Grey toward the persistent finish. There is not a hair out of place on this Ausone – one of the finest produced in recent years. Drink 2026-2070
The 2016 Ausone is a blend of 50% Merlot and 50% Cabernet Franc picked 10-14 October and 14-19 October, respectively, at 40 hectoliters per hectare. It is matured in 80% new oak with a light toasting, a move that Alain and Pauline Vauthier have made in recent years just to lessen the impact of the oak. There is a palpable...stateliness about the Ausone this year. It is extraordinarily pure and articulates its terroir as well as any vintage that I can remember over the last 20-odd years. It is not as flamboyant as other Saint Emilions, more correct and precise. The palate is very elegant and precise. I adore the exquisite balance of this Ausone, the precision and fineness of the tannin, the effortlessness that it conveys. This is classy and sophisticated, satin-like in texture with a long and sensual finish. Not an Ausone that is going to blaze across the sky, this is a cerebral, intellectual Ausone that will entrance for many years to come.
Drink Date 2022 - 2070
This is one of the most subtle and ethereal Ausones I have encountered in a while. It’s a full-bodied wine, yet one that’s very refined in texture, all the way to the extremely long finish. Shows real dignity and character. A throwback to the great years of the 1950s.
The 2016 Ausone is a blend of 50% Cabernet Franc and 50% Merlot. Deep garnet-purple colored, it's quite closed at first glance, slowly unfurling to reveal the most incredible perfume of violets, chocolate-covered cherries, warm black plums, Black Forest cake and roasted nuts with suggestions of charcuterie, wood smoke and cedar chest. The medium to full-bodied palate offers a quiet intensity of flavors that grow in the mouth to unveil layer after layer of black and red berries intertwined with beautiful savory notions framed by firm yet velvety tannins, finishing with epic length and amazing energy. It practically tingles on the palate! 2022 - 2066