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2011 Ausone

2011 Ausone

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Featured Review
Combining power with great elegance, this wine displays superripe, rich fruits that are restrained by velvet tannins and the delicious perfumed character from Cabernet Franc in the blend. Juicy, rich, structured, it's a beautiful wine with a great future. Drink from 2020. Wine Enthusiast

Wine Enthusiast |

Critic Reviews

Combining power with great elegance, this wine displays superripe, rich fruits that are restrained by velvet tannins and the delicious perfumed character from Cabernet Franc in the blend. Juicy, rich, structured, it's a beautiful wine with a great future. Drink from 2020.

Wine Enthusiast | 97 WE
This is extremely open and aromatic, with exotic fruit. Extremely wild. Full body, firm, silky tannins and a long, focused finish. This is very persistent and long. A top wine for the vintage. Muscular and toned. The old vines of cabernet franc make the difference here. 55% cabernet franc and 45% merlot. Try in 2019.

James Suckling | 96 JS
Its bigger sibling, the 2011 Ausone increases the level of intensity, elegance, complexity, richness and length. Nearly a mirror image of the La Chapelle, just with more going on, the Ausone boasts a more saturated purple color, and the wine has everything in large, intense proportions. The finesse and delicacy of all its components are what make it such a remarkable wine. The quality of the tannins and purity of the fruit make this another legendary effort that should age for 30-40 years.

Robert Parker | 95 RP
(Château Ausone) The 2011 Château Ausone is a step up from the very ripe and sturdy 2010, but there is a slight spark missing here this year. Of all the First Growths on either bank, this wine is more along the lines of the 2011 Mouton-Rothschild, which is technically quite sound, but somehow all the constituent components do not add up to a completely convincing whole. The nose on the 2011 Ausone offers up a nascently complex blend of black cherries, dark berries, a touch of pine resin, coffee bean, woodsmoke and nutty new oak. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, young and primary, with a very good core, fine focus and a long, balanced finish that closes with fine-grained tannins. This is nicely polished on the backend and does not show any of the coarseness of less successful 2011s, and yet, there is not the same purity and poise on display here today as is found in the very best wines on the Right Bank in this vintage. Still a very good wine, but I was hoping for a masterpiece from Ausone in such a strong Right Bank vintage. (Drink between 2020-2060).

John Gilman | 92 JG
The 2011 Ausone mirrored my sentiments from barrel. It feels lush and generous on the nose, practically ignoring the modest growing season, with raspberry and blueberry fruit, crushed violet and hints of cracked black pepper. It seems to ratchet up through the gears with continued aeration. The palate is medium-bodied with firm tannin cloaked in layers of plush black fruit. It feels composed and focused although it does not quite deliver the persistence of the 2012. Of course, this is still very young but I suspect that it will not be the longest lived of recent vintages, preferring to give drinking pleasure over the next 12 to 15 years before leveling off. Tasted at a private dinner in Bordeaux.

Vinous Media | 92 VM

Wine Details for 2011 Ausone

Type of Wine Bordeaux Red : Picture in your mind a combination of cedar, lead pencil, blackcurrant, plum and mineral aromatics, and texture that caresses your palate like a playful lover. The experience is thrilling from the first whiff to the final seconds of a tannic, generous finish - that is what you'll get from a Bordeaux Red
Varietal Red Bordeaux Blend : The inhabitants of the Bordeaux region of France have been cultivating wine-grapes for thousands of years. Ancient Roman ruins litter the vineyards from Saint Emilion to Graves where the art of blending Bordeaux varietals has been practiced and perfected over a very long history. Bordeaux’s climate, terroir and soils, though varied, provide the optimal growing conditions for the red grape varietals planted in the region.

Rarely listed on the labels as “blend,” the red wines of Bordeaux are perhaps the most artfully designed and celebrated in the world. The calculated art of blending the native Bordeaux varietals is impressively accomplished in the most famous winegrowing region in the world. The phrase Bordeaux Blend which seems to have been coined by British wine merchants in the 19th Century relates as much to wines made from the blend as to the grape variety combination itself.

Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec and occasionally Carmenere are the lead characters in the creation of Red Bordeaux Blends. Each plays a part in their own fashion and implemented in various combinations and percentages in each appellation within Bordeaux. Red Bordeaux Blends are majorly composed of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, roughly making up 90% of all Bordeaux Blends. Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec (occasionally Carmenere) are also important components and vital to the production of the region’s red wines.

For simplicity, the winegrowing region of Bordeaux can be divided into three main appellations producing Red Bordeaux Blends; the Left Bank (Medoc), Right Bank and Pessac-Leognan (Graves). The Left Bank has a terroir comprised of a wide variety of gravel, stones, sand, limestone and clay soils on a natural terrain of gentle slopes. This sets the stage perfectly for the production of Cabernet Sauvignon, which is the dominant grape of the Left Bank. For example, Chateau Lafite (Paulliac) is composed of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon.

The Right Bank is dominated by clay and limestone with sand and gravel, but the clay in the Right Bank is distinctly its own and adds to the health, growth and vitality of the vines of the varietals grown here. Right Bank wines are typically 80% Merlot-based, which are often denser, richer and mature earlier than those of the Left Bank (with exceptions – Petrus for example). Merlot is a vital component to Pomerol winegrowing and making. Cabernet Franc also plays a major role in the Right Bank, most notably, in Saint Emilion, where the infamous vineyards of Chateau Ausone and Chateau Cheval Blanc are planted to 55% and 52% Cabernet Franc, respectively. Chateaux that produce wines with a majority of Cabernet Franc are considered “old school” producers, but have perfected the use of Cabernet Franc, which was originally used as a blending grape.

Pessac-Leognan (Graves) enjoys a temperate climate, natural hygrometry influenced by the ocean, and has a terroir composed of gravelly soil over a clay subsoil on sloping, hilly terrain. Natural drainage due to the hilly terrain as well as the gravelly soil structure are perfectly attuned to the Cabernet Sauvignon grape vine, which prospers under these conditions. Pessac reaps the benefits of having the terroir of both the Left and Right Bank as it contains gravel and clay. The clay sub-soil allows the growth and success of Merlot, as well as Cabernet Franc. It is home to the only First Growth not in the Medoc. The 50-hectare vineyard of Haut Brion is planted to 45.4% Merlot, 43.9% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9.7% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot.

The percentage of Petit Verdot and Malbec may be lesser in quantity, but not in quality. They are vital to the region’s creation of Red Bordeaux Blends. The combination of Bordeaux varietals is legendary in the region, around the world and has influenced winegrowers worldwide to plant and vinify wines which resemble those of Red Bordeaux Blends.

Country France : Wine is the lifeblood that courses through the country of France, pulsing with vigorous pride and determination. Viticulture is not just a hobby or an occupation in France; it is a passion, a cherished tradition that has been passed down through generations of wine stained hands. Winemaking is a beloved art that has been ingrained in the culture, an aptitude instilled in sons by fathers and the hallmark for which France’s reputation was built, allowing it to be renowned as, arguably, the most important wine producing country in the world.



For centuries, France has been producing wines of superior quality and in much greater quantity than any other country in the world. It boasts some of the most impressive wine regions, coveted vineyards and prestigious wines on earth. The regions of Bordeaux, Burgundy, Rhone, Sauternes and Champagne have become the benchmark, for which others aspire to become. Legendary producers such as Chateaux Margaux, Domaine De La Romanee Conti, Chapoutier, d’Yquem and Dom Perignon are idolized world-wide.



France has stamped its name on nearly every style of wine, from the nectar-like sweet Sauternes to hedonistic Chateauneuf Du Papes classic Bordeaux and Burgundy, to its sparkling dominance in Champagne. Many of the most infamous grape varietals in the world, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay originated in France and are not only beloved, but utilized in the creation of some of the greatest wines on earth. French wine production commands the attention of the wine market year after year. With over 860,000 hectares under vine, and numbers close to 50 million hectoliters of wine produced annually, France dominates the market and sets the standard for not only product quality, but also quantity.



France’s many contributions to the world of wine have been absolutely indispensable. The country is the originator of the term “Premier Cru,” coined the term Terroir (a French term so complex there is no literal translation) and has laid the blueprint for a structured appellation system, which others have implemented in their own countries. French vineyard techniques and winemaking practices are mimicked world-wide. California vintners have been replicating Rhone style wines for decades, South America has adopted the French varietal of Malbec and countries around the world are imitating Burgundian styled Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.



With vast diversity in terroir, France is home to some of the most hospitable winegrowing locations on earth. The combination of topography, geology, climate, rainfall and even the amount of sunlight combined with the long historical tradition of winegrowing and making, has allowed the vintners of France to not only hone their skills, but learn from nature to create a product that like the world in which it resides… is very much alive.


Subregion Saint Emilion

Overview

Producer Chateau Ausone : There is something poetic about Chateau Ausone; from the natural amphitheater where the vines rest sheltered from severe elements, to its rich and illustrious history, to the very wine itself that seems to sing an unrivaled tune of greatness. Perhaps it is because the name is derived from Decimus Magnus Ausonius, a Roman poet born in Bordeaux in 310AD and considered one of the greatest of his time.

It is speculated that this historic property dates back to the time of Ausonius and that his original villa once resided here. The poet and winegrower’s imposing estate, Lucaniacum whose wine was extolled of in his poetic oratory has left significant signs of his once dominating presence at Ausone. Agricultural implements, mosaics depicting vines and fragments of statues have been found in the deep limestone caverns under the Chateau which is now the fermenting and aging location for Ausone’s wines. The family who owns this magnificent property today, insists this was the nascent of a 2,000 year history of cultivation of one of the greatest wines in the world.

Unlike most estates in Bordeaux, Ausone has remained a family affair, and has seen only three family ownerships in its long and memorable history. Very few properties have the luxury of not having to play musical chairs in regards to ownership or control. Today, the estate rests faithfully in the hands of the Vauthier family, who credit as much of Ausone’s success to its deep history as it does to the fortunate location of its vines. While many estates were hard-hit by devastating ice storms over the years, Ausone enjoyed astonishing immunity. Though, the Vauthiers insist it was good fortune and not entitlement.

Nature concentrates its gifts in favor of the wine here at Ausone, where 7 hectares of vines are spread across small terraces. Surrounded by stone, the parcels are sheltered by the wind, while enjoying generous sunshine from South-Eastern exposure and the perfect amount of shade in the afternoon. The proximity of the Dordogne and Isle rivers meet nearby and assist with creating the ideal microclimate, ensuring growth of the finest fruit in the Right Bank.

A portion of vines that grow on the plateau are made up of asteriated limestone, where their roots seek out a modicum of energy in the rock. On the hill, the vines anchor themselves in limestone with clay soil; the clay provides a welcoming amount of moisture when drought conditions prevail. The growing conditions are so accommodating for optimal balance that the land is coveted by many growers not only in the Right Bank, but in all of Bordeaux. Many producers enviously claim that Ausone is in possession of the greatest terroir in all of Bordeaux.

Chateau Ausone is the jewel of the estate which exudes the power and mineral profile of its main varietal, Cabernet Franc. The Cab Franc vines are some of the oldest in St. Emilion, with some being more than 100 years of age. Merlot is the second component helping to round out the wine with a pure and chiseled structure allowing finesse and freshness to linger long on the palate, finishing with exquisite balance; a monumental wine of subtle elegance. A second wine is fashioned at the estate which is crafted similarly to its elder sibling. However, where the flagship vines are on average fifty years old, the vines used to produce Chapelle d’Ausone are cultivated in younger sections which will later on be use for its flagship. Chapelle d’Ausone is comprised of Cabernet Franc, Merlot and is mingled with the slightest amount of Cabernet Sauvignon. Ausone’s hallmark taste is omnipresent, with its elegance and passionate display of varietals. Yields are kept extremely low, producing a mere 1,500 cases, in the best vintages. Chateau Ausone is highly sought after; its prestige, and limited accessibility, has made this nearly mythical wine quite elusive on today’s market.

When collectors look to Chateau Ausone, they may see its investment potential. Enthusiast may see an ethereal wine that should be celebrated with family and friends at the best of times. But, to the ones farming this historic and prestigious property, with purple hands that carefully tend to the vines and fruit, their eyes reflect pride, gratitude and good fortune. Two thousand years of cultivation in a prime ecosystem has not only placed Ausone in league with the greatest wines in the world, but also secured its place in history.

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