Chateau Ausone is a very old property with medieval historical significance. In it's more recent history, the wines from the chateau suffered from lower quality and a lessened reputation in the middle of the 20th century. Ausone began to return to it's historical positon of greatness with the hiring of Pascal Delbeck in the 1970s. Delbeck was in charge of Ausone beginning with the 1976 vintage. As of 1995, he no longer played a role in the winemaking but remained in charge of the vineyards.
The property had been owned for generations by a partnership of the Dubois-Challon family and the Vauthier family. In the mid 1990s, the Vauthier family gained sole ownership of Chateau Ausone. Alain Vauthier controls all aspects of the winemaking. He began using Michel Rolland as the consulting wine-maker beginning with the 1995 vintage.
The 7 hectare St. Emilion vineyard is planted to 55% Cabernet Franc and 45% Merlot. It is the stated goal of Chateau Ausone to eventually increase the amount of Cabernet Franc to 65% of their vineyard. There is also a small portion of Cabernet Sauvignon planted at Ausone as well. Cabernet Sauvignon is only included in the second wine. The vine density ranges from 6,500 to 8,000 vines per hectare for most of the vineyard.
However, today, over 15% of their vineyard is now planted with 12,600 plants per hectare. The newer plantings are at all the higher levels of density. It remains a distinct possibility that eventually the vine density of Chateau Ausone will be at the 12,600 plants per hectare level.
However, this is only being done a few vines at a time. The entire process is expected to take several decades. Vineyard management practices are done with an eye to organic and biodynamic farming techniques.
The steep, hillside terroir with its grades of 15% to 20% is clay with limestone and limestone over Asteria limestone in the soil. This is what gives the wine of Chateau Ausone its intense mineral character. As you move further down the steep slopes, you find more clay and limestone soils.
Most common varietal blend of Chateau Ausone
- 55% Cabernet Franc
- 45% Merlot
- Small portion of Cabernet Sauvignon
FOOD PAIRINGS AND SERVING
Chateau Ausone is best served at 15.5 degrees Celsius, 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The cool, almost cellar temperature gives the wine more freshness and lift. This wine matches well with many different kinds of meat, as well as Asian dishes, dessert and pasta.
An exuberant, sweet, forward Ausone with layers of dark berry fruit, sweet spices and floral notes. The wine is charming, delicious now and not heavy although there is quite a firm backbone of ripe tannins in the background. A gorgeous Ausone that is surprising how open and accessible it is now. 50-50 Cab Franc and Merlot in this vintage with 85% new barrels used.
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