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Chateau Ausone 2016

  • D100
  • RP99
  • WE99
  • JS98
  • JD98
750ML / 14% ABV
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750ML / 14% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Blend: 50% Merlot, 50% Cabernet Franc

Critical Acclaim

All Vintages
D 100
Decanter
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.
Barrel Sample: 98-100 Points
RP 99
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
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!
WE 99
Wine Enthusiast
Beautifully structured, this wine has elegance despite its heft and richness. It has the enticing acidity of the year as well as concentration and generous, spicy, perfumed Cabernet Franc. This is a wine to age and it will not be ready before 2025.
Cellar Selection
JS 98
James Suckling
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.
JD 98
Jeb Dunnuck
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.
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Chateau Ausone

Chateau Ausone

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Chateau Ausone, France
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The estate was founded by two families, the Chatonnets and the Cantenants. In more recent times, for two centuries, Chateau Ausone was the property of the Vauthier and the Dubois-Challon families. Today it belongs to Alain Vauthier and his sister Catherine, who bought their aunt Hélyette Dubois-Challon’s share in 1997. Alain Vauthier runs the estate and makes the wine. Since 2005 his daughter Pauline, a qualified oenologist, has been working with him.

The site is exceptional: divided between the limestone plateau and Saint-Emilion’s calcareous clay slope, facing east-south-east and sheltered on its north and west sides, Ausone was one of very few Saint-Emilions to come unscathed through the terrible frosts of February 1956. The 7 hectares of vineyard, lying in a single plot around the chateau, are planted with 55% of Cabernet Franc and 45% of Merlot. The vines are very old, with an average age of 50 years. Their low yield (33 hectolitres per hectare) in part explains the wine’s concentration and its potential for improving over time.

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St-Émilion

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Marked by its historic fortified village—perhaps the prettiest in all of Bordeaux, the St-Émilion appellation, along with its neighboring village of Pomerol, are leaders in quality on the Right Bank of Bordeaux. These Merlot-dominant red wines (complemented by various amounts of Cabernet Franc and/or Cabernet Sauvignon) remain some of the most admired and collected wines of the world.

St-Émilion has the longest history in wine production in Bordeaux—longer than the Left Bank—dating back to an 8th century monk named Saint Émilion who became a hermit in one of the many limestone caves scattered throughout the area.

Today St-Émilion is made up of hundreds of independent farmers dedicated to the same thing: growing Merlot and Cabernet Franc (and tiny amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon). While always roughly the same blend, the wines of St-Émilion vary considerably depending on the soil upon which they are grown—and the soils do vary considerably throughout the region.

The chateaux with the highest classification (Premier Grand Cru Classés) are on gravel-rich soils or steep, clay-limestone hillsides. There are only four given the highest rank, called Premier Grand Cru Classés A (Chateau Cheval Blanc, Ausone, Angélus, Pavie) and 14 are Premier Grand Cru Classés B. Much of the rest of the vineyards in the appellation are on flatter land where the soils are a mix of gravel, sand and alluvial matter.

Great wines from St-Émilion will be deep in color, and might have characteristics of blackberry liqueur, black raspberry, licorice, chocolate, grilled meat, earth or truffles. They will be bold, layered and lush.

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Bordeaux Blends

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One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World, especially in California, Washington and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde River, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.

In the Glass

Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines modeled after the Right Bank are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure. Wines from Bordeaux lean towards a highly structured and earthy style whereas New World areas (as in the ones named above) tend to produce bold and fruit-forward blends. Either way, Bordeaux red blends generally have aromas and flavors of black currant, cedar, plum, graphite, and violet, with more red fruit flavors when Merlot makes up a high proportion of the blend.

Perfect Pairings

Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb or smoked duck.

Sommelier Secret

While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties in specified percentages, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include equal amounts of Cabernet Franc and Malbec, for example. Occassionally a winemaker might add a small percentage of a non-Bordeaux variety, such as Syrah or Petite Sirah for a desired result.

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