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Château Ausone: Tasting & Drinking

After my first-ever visit to the tasting room at Château Ausone I left somewhat in awe of the wine. After a difficult growing season the Vauthiers had still managed to pull a rabbit out of the hat, and fashion a superb wine which was a clear candidate for wine of the vintage. I have since learnt that this is perhaps not an unusual reaction to visiting here and tasting the wine.

My earlier tastings tended to be focused on primeur barrel samples, or tastings of the wine just put into bottle, a sad side effect of the price tag worn by the finished product; these are not bottles I can casually add to the cellar in anticipation of future tastings as the wine matures. Indeed, short of befriending Johnny Depp or Matt Dillon, both reputedly acolytes of the wines of this estate, or a lottery win, or some serious schmoozing up to privileged wine trade friends, the likelihood of me ever kicking back with a mature bottle over dinner seems extraordinarily slim. Despite this, over the years I have managed to gain more experience of the wine as it matures, having tasted a decent number of vintages aged ten years, or older.

Château Ausone

Happily, although some wines presented at the primeurs seem to have the power to confuse and confound, I usually find the wine of Château Ausone speaking quite clearly. The Cabernet Franc gives the wine a pure and pointed, floral-tinged finesse, and it is this characteristic which, for my palate, I value most; the blend is typically dominated by Cabernet Franc, although only slightly, the usual figure being 55%. This places it apart within the appellation, one of only a handful of wines to feature this variety ahead of Merlot, the other obvious candidates being Le Dôme and Château Cheval Blanc (although there are others).

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