Château Ausone

The estate was founded by two families, the Chatonnets and the Cantenants. In more recent times, for two centuries, Château Ausone was the property of the Vauthier and the Dubois-Challon families. Today it belongs to Alain Vauthier and his sister Catherine, who bought their aunt Hélyette Dubois-Challon’s share in 1997. Alain Vauthier runs the estate and makes the wine. Since 2005 his daughter Pauline, a qualified oenologist, has been working with him. 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 château, 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. Roughly 1,500 cases of Ausone are produced each year. Barrels and bottles are stored in large, cool, humid galleries of unvarying temperature, which were cut out of the hill at the end of the 16th century to provide stone for the restoration of the Saint-Emilion town walls. Vinification is carried out in temperature-controlled oak vats. The wine is then aged in barrel for about 20 months. Château Ausone is a wine of marvellous balance, which nonchalantly defies the passage of time. Great vintages may expect a half-century’s lifespan. The wine is a combination of finesse and admirable fullness, with elegant fruit and smooth fleshy texture, which is never too massive.