Farr Vintners Logo

Ausone 2018

SubregionSt Emilion
Grape VarietyMerlot/Cabernet Franc

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 has an average age of 53 years but some vines are over 100 years old. It is planted with 55% Cabernet Franc, 45% Merlot and production rarely exceeds 2000 cases. In 2018 the blend of the grand vin is 60% Cabernet Franc, 40% Merlot and after ageing in 100% new oak for 20 months the production will be 20,000 bottles.

View all vintages of this wine | View all wines by Ausone

Tasting Notes

The 2018 Ausone is a blend of 60% Cabernet Franc and 40% Merlot. Deep garnet-purple in color, rather predictably, the nose is almost completely shut-down on first sniff, taking considerable aeration to begin to reveal its jaw-dropping perfume of ripe black cherries, wild blueberries and plum preserves, leading to suggestions of candied violets, molten chocolate, licorice and crushed rocks with subtle cedar and pencil lead hints. The medium to full-bodied palate (14.5% alcohol) is so tightly wound and nuanced at this stage, it requires a lot of focus unravel all that is going on here. In short: a lot. The ripe, rich, black and blue fruit layers eventually give way to the beautifully cerebral earthy/minerally subtext, carried by fantastically well-knit tension, delivering an incredibly long, foundation-shaking finish. If the earth doesn't move when you drink this, you're probably not doing it right. 2028 - 2068.

Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, Wine Advocate, March 2021

Aromas of blackberry, black cherry, licorice, iodine and dried shitake mushroom. Opens and changes to violets and lavender. Full-bodied and tight with creamy and refined tannins that run the length of the wine and takes you down into the depth of the wine. Needs years to open yet it’s already so gorgeous to taste. Try after 2027.

James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, March 2021

Tasted blind at Southwold 2018. Deep purple in colour but high in energy, with a bold, fragrant nose. Cassis, cherry blossom and violets together with seductive layers of sweet spice. The palate is highly polished, with plentiful silky tannins just containing a huge core of red and black fruit. Despite the richness and power, there is real vibrancy. Great drive, with a long, focused finish. Outstanding. Joint winner of Southwold 2018.

Thomas Parker MW, Farr Vintners, January 2022

Pauline Vauthier is the 11th generation of the family to be producing wine here. It's always such an incredible wine, and as ever you can see that they are playing a different game from so many others. The juice, the slate, the minerality, the drip-drip-drip of freshly squeezed berries, spice and barely-there tannins, the sapidity on the finish. Amazing!

Harvest ran from 25 September to 9 October. 3.6pH. 100% new oak.

98-100 points.

Drinking Window 2028 - 2042

Jane Anson, Decanter.com, April 2019

Tasted blind. 18.4 average score! Big and round and rather galumphing! Tea-leaf flavours. Chewy tannins on the end. Very, very youthful. Great undertow.
Drink 2030 – 2045

Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com, February 2022

Black core with narrow purple rim. Intense, aromatic if slightly charry cassis. Very fine fruit – intense but surprisingly juicy and fresh. Rounded yet powerful. Chewy and with a great undertow of terrific, perfectly ripe fruit and there's a much clearer influence of Cabernet Franc here, with that freshness it brings. Just fresh enough but would show a lot better if the sample were cooler.
Drink 2028-2040

Julia Harding MW, JancisRobinson.com, April 2019

Deep in colour, with inky, ripe black fruit on the nose that is layered with incense, toasted almond and rich liquorice aromas. The palate is dense and powerful, with mouthfilling, fine tannins that coat the mouth with velveteen richness. The fruit is incredibly intense, with very dark and ripe cassis, blackberry and black cherry at the core. The power builds with the complexity - notes of roasted coffee and dark chocolate come in waves over the fruit, and the glossy texture is lifted by harmonious acidity. The finish is very long, bursting at the seams with fleshy black fruit and toasted spices. Very impressive, with great ageing potential for those with patience.

Farr Vintners, Farr Tasting, March 2019

Ratcheting up the intensity, the 2018 Château Ausone has an essence of limestone-like character as well as thrilling notes of blackberries, black raspberries, white flowers, truffle, forest floor, and graphite. Possessing full-bodied richness, a deep, beautifully concentrated mid-palate, ample tannins, and a great finish, this is a powerful, layered Ausone that’s going to need 5-7 years of bottle age but should knock your socks off over the following 25+ years. The 2018 is a blend of 60% Cabernet Franc and 40% Merlot, brought up in a mix of new and used barrels.

Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com, May 2019

(60 Cabernet Franc, 40 Merlot) | 100% new oak for 20 months | Average vine age is 52 years old with a parcel close to the Chapel which are 110 years old. |The Merlot was harvested on the 25th and 27th September and the Cabernet Franc was harvested on the 3rd, 8th and 9th October. Extremely intense and incredibly perfumed, this is a very rich and power-packed Ausone and the fruit is almost impenetrable thanks to the density of the flavour. Deep crimson in colour and with immense spice and earth underpinning the majestic fruit, this is a frighteningly youthful wine and a vintage which one probably shouldn’t touch for thirty years. The nose gives away more about the wine than the palate, which is resolutely introverted, and it shows a glittering array of aromatics – fruit, spice, herb, flower and earth. One of the wines of the vintage, this is an anthem to Cabernet Franc and its awesome potential which was realised in 2018.

Matthew Jukes, MatthewJukes.com, April 2019
Read more tasting notes...

This is really exotic with wild-fruit character that I have seldom encountered in Ausone. Full-bodied yet reserved and very tight. Amazing depth and purity of fruit. Incredible beauty. Sexy.

James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com (241), April 2019

The 2018 Ausone is composed of 60% Cabernet Franc and 40% Merlot. The Merlot was harvested September 25 and 27, and the Cabernet Franc was harvested October 3, 8 and 9. Deep purple-black in color, it is an impenetrable wall to begin, unrelenting without persistent coaxing, at last uncoiling to offer glimpses at preserved plums, blueberry coulis, molten licorice and underbrush with emerging scents of lavender, iron ore, crushed stones, charcoal and Indian spices plus a waft of red roses. Full-bodied, rich, decadent and tightly knit, it offers layer upon layer of fruit, spice and mineral nuances with a firm frame of exquisitely fine tannins and bold freshness, finishing with epic length and heart-stopping beauty.

Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, Wine Advocate (April 2019), April 2019
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.