Chapelle d'Ausone 2003

Vintage
2003
Country
France
Region
Bordeaux,St Emilion
Size
750ml
Rating
WA93,WS89
Grape
Cabernet Sauvignon
$428.00
SKU:
W-106-0208-QT-203
Description

One of the best second wines I have ever tasted, the 2003 Chapelle d’Ausone is rivaled by the 2003 Carruades de Lafite and 2003 Forts de Latour. Dense ruby/purple to the rim with an extraordinary nose of flowers, figs, black raspberries, blueberries, and sweet cherries along with striking minerality and precision, this exquisite second wine represents the essence of Ausone. It should drink well for 25+ years.

No one in Bordeaux has made greater progress in taming the extraordinary potential of this noble terroir than Alain Vauthier, an obsessed perfectionist if there ever was one. He has instituted a Draconian selection at this tiny estate, both in the vineyard and the cellar, and the second wine, Chapelle d’Ausone, has also become one of the region’s finest wines. Prospective purchasers should be aware that Ausone requires 10-20 years of cellaring before it approaches maturity. - WA93

Intense aromas of crushed berry, chocolate and raspberry jam. Full-bodied, with fine tannins and a medium finish. A bit short. Best after 2010. 1,375 cases made. - WS89

The Winery

There is no way to verify if the property we know as Chateau Ausone, was truly the original Lucaniac villa dating back to the fourth century which belonged to the famed Roman poet Ausonius. What we do know is, if you go to the lower portion of the Bordeaux wine estate, you can find numerous archaeological remains of an ancient Roman villa. Among the ruins, you’ll find mosaics that show the estate was known as “La Villa du Palat.” Regardless of where the poet planted his Bordeaux wine vineyards, Ausone has been produced for close to 4 centuries under the name honoring Ausonius.

St. Emilion is filled with history. The medieval tower at Chateau de Villeneuve, belonged to Geffroy de Lescours in the 14th century. The tower resides slightly outside the walls of the Saint Emilion village. The structure changed its name from the Tower of Ausonius around 1590. The change was instigated by Geoffroy de La Chassaigne. La Chassaigne was known as an antiques enthusiast and the brother-in-law of Michel de Montaigne, the famous author of the “Essais.”

In 1563, his father, Joseph de La Chassaigne, created the suburban villa of Ausone at Le Bouscat. Chateau Ausone is one of the few famed Bordeaux wine estates that have seldom changed hands over the years. In fact, only 3 different families have owned this St. Emilion estate since it was originally created. Which is quite a feat when you consider the amount of musical chairs that takes place with all the buying and selling of Bordeaux chateaux.

The Lescours family from the 13th to the 16th centuries. This was followed by Jacques de Lescure and his heirs in the 17th century. At the close of the 17th century, The Chatonnet-Cantenat family along with the Dubois-Challon-Vauthier family took over. Alain Vauthier who manages Chateau Ausone with his daughter Pauline Vauthier today are direct descendants. Alain Vauther managed to take over the estate after a long and heated court battle with the other half of the family. It was rumored that a takeover bid was placed by Francois Pinualt in 1997 who made a reported of the equivalent of 17 million Euros per hectare. As a point of reference, Chateau Cheval Blanc was sold at about the equivalent of 15 million Euros per hectare at close to the same time.

In the pre Vautheir era, the winemaking was handled by Patrick Delbeck. Tasting those wines shows how much progress has been made since the Vauthier era began. The Delbeck wines are frankly, boring. They technically well made, but dull. There was no second wine at the time. In those days, Ausone got along on its previous reputation. Tasting the wines today is all anyone needs to see the difference.

When you ask almost any Bordeaux wine maker or Bordeaux chateau owner to name the best terroir in Bordeaux, the overwhelming majority say it belongs to Chateau Ausone. That terroir, along with the skills of Alain Vauthier have turned Chateau Ausone into one of the best producers in the world! Prior to the Vauthier era, the fruit was not picked at full phenolic ripeness. Little selection was employed. Chateau Ausone did not have make a second wine. Those are only some of the reasons the Bordeaux wine produced at this estate starting in 1995 is better than at any time in recent history. With the 1999 vintage, Chateau Ausone began producing compelling Bordeaux wine of a singular quality that every taster should experience. At least once. One of the early decisions made by Alain Vauthier was to bring in Michel Rolland to aid in the blending. In 2013, Ausone decided not to renew the contract with Michel Rolland. The blending is now done in house by Alain Vauthier, Pauline Vautheir and the long time cellar master Philippe Baillarguet. 2013 Ausone St. Emilion 300x224 Chateau Ausone St. Emilion Bordeaux Wine The style of wine at Chateau Ausone is unlike most other wines. Minerality, from the massive limestone deposits in the soil is what most tasters notice. The fruit retains a beautiful purity. The wine is rich, full bodied and concentrated, yet it is not heavy. There is a lot of tannin, but the tannins are ripe. The wine offers powerful aromatics, filled with ripe black, blue and dark red fruits, accompanied by licorice, floral and crushed rock scents. Ausone is built to age. Millionaires with the funds to buy these wines, will need an equal amount of patience before the wines are mature.

The best vintages for Chateau Ausone are: 2014, 2012, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2001, 2000 and 1998. The 7 hectare St. Emilion vineyard is planted to a vine density that varies from 6,500 to 12,600 plants per hectare. It is the stated goal of Chateau Ausone to eventually have all their plantings at closer to 12,600 vines per hectare. However, this is being done a few vines at a time. The entire process will take several decades.

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. The vines are old, in fact the average age of the vines are 50 years. However, Chateau Ausone also has some of the oldest vines in St. Emilion. There are Cabernet Franc vines that are close to 100 years of age. The oldest were planted in 1906. Yields are low at Chateau Ausone. On average, they are close to 33 hectoliters per hectare. The St. Emilion vineyard of Chateau Ausone is planted to 55% Cabernet Franc and 45% Merlot. There is also a small portion of Cabernet Sauvignon planted at Ausone as well. Cabernet Sauvignon is only included in the second wine.

To produce the wine of Chateau Ausone, the vinification takes place in wood vats. Malolactoc fermentation takes place in oak barrels and the wine is aged in 100% new, French oak barrels up to 24 months, depending on the character ad richness of the vintage. Changes in the cellars of Chateau Ausone took place in 2009. Alain Vautheir acquired a number of small, stainless steel tanks that are used as holding tanks, until they have enough fruit from a given vineyard block to fill a single wooden vat. Keeping the fruit in these stainless steel tanks allows him to control the temperature and sanitary conditions. The vats can be readily moved with a forklift, once there is enough fruit ready to be gently poured into — and to fill one of the oak fermenters. There is a second wine, La Chapelle de Ausone, which is on average a blend of 50% Merlot and 50% Cabernet Franc. Although a very minor portion of Cabernet Sauvignon can be added as well in select vintages.

The Vauther family owns other properties in St. Emilion, Chateau Moulin St. Georges, Chateau Fonbel, Simard and Haut Simard. In 2014, the Vauthier family added another chateau to their growing portfolio with the purchase of Chateau La Clotte. Alain Vauthier also consults with other estates in St. Emilion on their vineyard management and wine wine making techniques. - Information from The Wine Cellar Insider

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