Chapelle d'Ausone 2016
• Domaine: Château Ausone
• Appellation: Saint-Emilion
• Classification: Second Wine, 1er Grand Cru Classé A
• Origin: Right Bank, Bordeaux, France
• Importer: Laguna Cellar
Many Wine Critics agree if there was one place to visit in Bordeaux and one wine to try, it would be Château Ausone. Since the mid 1990s, the wines from this extraordinary estate have skyrocketed in terms of quality, making it one of the jewels of the Right Bank. Laguna Cellar would like to introduce you to the Second Wine of this St-Émilion Premier Grand Cru Classé A estate, Chapelle d’Ausone. Production at Château Ausone is so small, it is very difficult to get both the grand vin and second wine from this estate. Some argue the wines of Château Ausone are harder to find then the wines of the rarified Pomerol property Château Pétrus.
The property derives its name, Château Ausone, from the legendary Roman poet Ausonius who is said to have lived in a villa on its steeply sloped limestone hills. Ausonius referenced Bordeaux in one of his many poems, writing: “Bordeaux is my homeland, with its gentle breeze, its merciful sky, the generous gifts of its fertile soil, its long Spring and its warming morning mists. The mighty tidal river, below the vine-bedecked slopes, foams and boils as it surges towards the sea like a wave.” Whether he lived at the actual property remains in question. Regardless, visitors can find Roman ruins in the vineyards and records of Ausonius living in Bordeaux throughout history.
Château Ausone is one of a handful of Bordeaux estates that is family owned and has always been. As a matter of fact, only three different families have owned and managed the vineyard since the property’s inception. Château Ausone is presently managed by a father daughter team - Alain and Pauline Vauthier. The tiny, 7-hectare vineyard is nestled in the dramatic slopes of the limestone hills in Saint-Émilion. The vines at Château Ausone are 50 years old on average with some of the older plots reaching a hundred years of age.
The vines of Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot sit in a steeply terraced, limestone amphitheater that is not only gorgeous to look at but considered universally by vignerons to be the best terroir in Bordeaux. The vines are the star of the show here, pulling nutrients from the rich limestone terroir, thriving in the shelter from the steep terraces, and enjoying the moderate climate. The second wine benefits from the exact winemaking techniques as the grand vin. And the vines which are 45 to 50 years of age are tended to using techniques that are inspired by biodynamic and organic viticulture.
Chapelle d’Ausone is a unique expression of Bordeaux. Due to their limestone terroir, it possess an incredible minerality, coupled with a pleasant and vibrant acidity. This wine is meant to be enjoyed while waiting for the intense and concentrated grand vin to come around. As a bottle of Château Ausone demands time in the cellar – typically 15 to 20 years of bottle ageing. Chapelle d’Ausone is the perfect answer for those who aren’t willing to wait so long.
"The 2016 Chapelle d'Ausone is gorgeous. Supple, silky and inviting, the 2016 offers plenty of near and medium term appeal. Soft contours and lifted, floral aromatics make the 2016 very easy to enjoy, even in the early going. The 2016 spent 20 months in barrel, 100% new."- Antonio Galloni, vinous.com, (January, 2019), Ratings: 92, Drink: 2021-2036
"A blend of 56% Cabernet Franc, 22% Merlot and 22% Cabernet Sauvignon, the deep garnet-purple colored 2016 Chapelle d'Ausone sings of black raspberries, kirsch and plum preserves with hints of unsmoked cigars, pencil lead, lavender and chocolate box plus a waft of garrigue. Medium-bodied and fantastically elegant in the mouth, the red and black fruit layers are beautifully framed by firm yet fine-grained tannins and lovely freshness, finishing long and minerally." - Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (11/30/2018, Interim Issue), Ratings: 94+, Drink: 2020-2040