Chateau Ausone 2018
Château Ausone is the jewel of the estate, a masterpiece of subtle elegance. Like a cathedral, it initially presents a big, powerful, mineral profile of Cabernet Franc.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
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.
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. Barrel Sample: 96-99.
The perfumes of this wine just pour from the glass. They measure up to the promise of the black tannins and dark, dense fruits, the monumental structure and juicy black-plum flavors. The whole ethos of this wine is towards long-term aging to great power and intensity for the future. Drink from 2028. Cellar Selection
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.
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.
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. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, the best of these are densely hued, fragrant, full of fruit and boast a structure that begs for cellar time. Somm Secret—Blends from Bordeaux are generally earthier compared to those from the New World, which tend to be fruit-dominant.