Château Ausone 2016
• Domaine: Château Ausone
• Appellation: Saint-Emilion
• Classification: Premier Grand Cru Classé A
• Origin: Right Bank, Bordeaux, France
• Importer: Laguna Cellar
Château Ausone is not a wine casually served. Its "minuscule production", once observed Robert Parker Jr., "makes it nearly impossible to find commercially." Even the professionals in the wine trade don't get to taste it often. Bordeaux-domiciled independent wine critic Jane Anson (formerly columnist for Decanter magazine) commented how most critics are limited to tasting it at en primeur barrel sampling, and won't see it again for 10 or 20 years, if ever.
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.
Like any great wine, the story behind Château Ausone is a story of a family who is committed to the land they were blessed with. It is a story of efforts made through many generations. The modern era of Ausone started with the marriage of Edouard Dubois and Mlle Challon in 1891. After Edouard's premature death in 1921, the property was managed by his widow and two children - Jean and Cécile. Jean died in 1974, leaving his half to his widow, Mme Dubois-Challon. The other half belongs to Cécile who married M Vauthier. The two branches of the family were cordial. But there were stories of internal bickering and constant friction due to differences in the philosophy of winemaking. Some say the wine of this esteemed producer from the 1960s and 1970s was mediocre. Maybe it had something to do with the disagreements over methods and practices. Finally, in the mid 1990s, the Vauthier family bought out Mme Dubois-Challon, a new era of Château Ausone was born.
The current head of the Vauthier family, Pauline, started working in the vineyards at the age of 18. Since she took over winemaking in 2005, Ausone has gone from one great vintage to another. Although not officially certified, organic farming is practiced in the vineyard. Due to the limestone soils of Ausone, the wine has incredible minerality, purity of fruit, and concentration. They are rich and full-bodied without being heavy. A bottle of Château Ausone demands time in the cellar – typically 15 to 20 years. Even during an average vintage in Bordeaux, Ausone shines. In truly remarkable vintages, Ausone takes off like a rocket ship. We have only one issue with this great estate: each year's allocation is simply too small to meet the demand from clients. Consider adding your name to our waitlist.
"The 2016 Ausone was mightily impressive from barrel. Bottled in July 2018, it has a very intense bouquet of black cherries, <em>cassis</em>, 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." - Neal Martin, Vinous, (January, 2019), Rating: 99; Drink: 2026-2070
"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!" - Lisa Perrotti-Brown, The Wine Advocate (11/30/2018, Interim Issue), Ratings: 99, Drink: 2022-2066
"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." - Jeb Dunnuck (2/28/2019) Rating: 98, Drink: 2023-2053
Château Cheval Blanc 2019$898.95
Château Cheval Blanc 2015Special Price $987.95 Average US Price $1,269.00
Château Cheval Blanc 2009Special Price $1,219.95 Average US Price $1,330.00
Château Cheval Blanc 2018Special Price $859.95 Average US Price $1,108.00
Château Cheval Blanc 2017Special Price $703.95 Average US Price $779.00