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Château Ausone, Saint-Emilion 2006

Red Wine from France - Bordeaux
Rich, racy pure intense Ausone, very long and tenacious in the mouth with excellent scented length. Long term wine but very classy. 55% cabernet franc 45% merlot.
Price: £539.00 Bottle
Price: £3,234.00 Case of 6 (out of stock)
Low stock
Code: CS6231

Wine characteristics

  • Red Wine
  • Medium-bodied
  • Cabernet Merlot
  • 13.5% Alcohol
  • Oak used but not v. noticeable
  • Now to 2035
  • 75cl
  • Cork, natural

St Emilion, Pomerol

Saint-Emilion

There is an ancient history of wine making in the area of St Emilion, with Roman viticulture attested to in the poetry of Ausonius after whom the Première Grand Cru Château Ausone is named. The vineyards and much visited town have been awarded UNESCO world heritage List status as a cultural landscape and are enjoying a period of particular dynamism and prosperity.

Merlot is the dominant grape here with cabernet franc in earnest support and some supporters of the more difficult to ripen cabernet sauvignon. The soils, damper and cooler than those of the Médoc, are responsible for this and merlot performs beautifully in the clay, limestone, gravel and other alluvial deposits that make up the vineyard soils. Much is made of the clay based soils of the area but the picture is a broader than that.

If we ignore the areas down by the river and on its flood plain and the satellites that we discuss elsewhere, there remain two main areas where the quality of the wines speaks for the...
Saint-Emilion

There is an ancient history of wine making in the area of St Emilion, with Roman viticulture attested to in the poetry of Ausonius after whom the Première Grand Cru Château Ausone is named. The vineyards and much visited town have been awarded UNESCO world heritage List status as a cultural landscape and are enjoying a period of particular dynamism and prosperity.

Merlot is the dominant grape here with cabernet franc in earnest support and some supporters of the more difficult to ripen cabernet sauvignon. The soils, damper and cooler than those of the Médoc, are responsible for this and merlot performs beautifully in the clay, limestone, gravel and other alluvial deposits that make up the vineyard soils. Much is made of the clay based soils of the area but the picture is a broader than that.

If we ignore the areas down by the river and on its flood plain and the satellites that we discuss elsewhere, there remain two main areas where the quality of the wines speaks for the terroir.

The first is up on the plateau that abuts the border with Pomerol. A continuation of the plateau of sand and gravel that defines the best wines of Pomerol, this area is home to the most sought after of all Saint-Emilions, Château Cheval Blanc. The second group of properties are to be found on an escarpment east of the town of Saint-Emilion, where a thin layer of topsoil overlays a bedrock of sandstone on south-facing slopes that end suddenly and precipitously. Though the best wines of the second group are less highly regarded than the best of the first group there are superb wines in both.

Unlike its Pomerol next door, the wines of Saint-Emilion have access to a classification system akin to that of the 1855 Médoc version. Established in 1955, the Saint-Emilion classification is redrawn every ten years, which always causes a legal rumpus as demoted properties seek redress for the insult. Wines are assessed on several criteria such as soils, aspect and vine age and are tasted for typicity. Once accepted at one of the three levels the wines are required to adhere to stricter appellation rules than their supposedly lesser fellow estates with regard to yields and ageing.

The levels of the classification begin with the Grand Cru Classé properties of which there are several hundred (there are 800 or so estates in Saint-Emilion in total). Above this is Première Grand Cru, with 18 member currently, and at the top the Premières Grands Crus (A) which consists of the Châteaux Cheval Blanc, Ausone, Angelus and Pavie, the latter two having been promoted in 2012.

At its best Saint-Emilion should be should be rich, full-coloured, spicy and apparently sweet, and the best properties balance these qualities with finesse length. No white wines are made.

Pomerol

Despite not having a classification system like the Médoc and Saint-Emilion, Pomerol has an enviable reputation for some of the very best Bordeaux wines that can fetch eye-watering prices. However, at its best Pomerol produces sublime wines with a rich, almost fleshy, velvety flavour. It's worth buying the best which are never cheap.

The appellation is tiny, only 785 hectares, but within this flat but bijou acreage there are a great number of small estates with few of the grand châteaux that crop up throughout other Bordeaux districts. The land is effectively a great bank rising in gentle terraces from the Dordogne and Isle rivers, consisting of a good deal of clay leavened by gravel and sand in varying quantities depending on where you stand. The sandiest slopes, making the lightest wines, are on the lower slopes close to the Dordogne, and the best terroir is considered to be up in the north-eastern corner where the clay is at its thickest. Here you will find the big names of the appellation such Châteaux Pétrus, La Fleur Pétrus, Lafleur and Vieux Château Certan. Nowhere is more than 40 metres above sea level.

Merlot is at least 80% of planting and is similarly represented in any blended wines, though many are pure merlot. Cabernet franc is runner up here, with cabernet sauvignon and malbec also permitted.

The influential Moueix family have been incredibly important in the development of Pomerol’s reputation as a fine wine appellation, both as négociants and as owners of some of the finest properties. Pétrus, Lafleur Pétrus, Hosanna and Providence are all under their ownership.
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Château Ausone

Ausone and Cheval Blanc were long ago recognised as the two outstanding properties of Saint-Emilion, classified as premier grands crus classés (A). More recently and more controversially they have been joined by Pavie and Angelus, whose recent vintages have fetched high prices, but whose track record has a much shorter span.

Ausone is supreme among the properties on the limestone plateau above the town of Saint-Emilion, neighbour to other great premier cru (B) vineyards such as Belair-Monange – once in the same ownership – and Canon, while Cheval Blanc is at the other end of the appellation, next to Pomerol.

Ausone has a very long history dating back to Roman times (it is named after the Bordeaux resident and Roman poet Ausonius) and was once owned by the British Knollys family, but in 1891 it belonged to the Dubois-Challon family whose descendant – Alain Vauthier – runs it today with the help of his daughter Pauline.

From 1974 to 1995 two branches of the family were at loggerheads and no significant investments were made, and there has been a marked improvement in the depth and quality of the wine since Alain Vauthier took full control, though the elegance and finesse of the vineyard with 55% cabernet franc and 45% merlot were always evident.

With only seven hectares and a production at most of 2000 dozen, Ausone is the smallest of Bordeaux's first growths (Cheval Blanc makes five times as much and used to make more). The Vauthier family, however, control close to 100 hectares ...
Ausone and Cheval Blanc were long ago recognised as the two outstanding properties of Saint-Emilion, classified as premier grands crus classés (A). More recently and more controversially they have been joined by Pavie and Angelus, whose recent vintages have fetched high prices, but whose track record has a much shorter span.

Ausone is supreme among the properties on the limestone plateau above the town of Saint-Emilion, neighbour to other great premier cru (B) vineyards such as Belair-Monange – once in the same ownership – and Canon, while Cheval Blanc is at the other end of the appellation, next to Pomerol.

Ausone has a very long history dating back to Roman times (it is named after the Bordeaux resident and Roman poet Ausonius) and was once owned by the British Knollys family, but in 1891 it belonged to the Dubois-Challon family whose descendant – Alain Vauthier – runs it today with the help of his daughter Pauline.

From 1974 to 1995 two branches of the family were at loggerheads and no significant investments were made, and there has been a marked improvement in the depth and quality of the wine since Alain Vauthier took full control, though the elegance and finesse of the vineyard with 55% cabernet franc and 45% merlot were always evident.

With only seven hectares and a production at most of 2000 dozen, Ausone is the smallest of Bordeaux's first growths (Cheval Blanc makes five times as much and used to make more). The Vauthier family, however, control close to 100 hectares in the region, and their Château du Fonbel, which The Society often follows, is excellent value for those daunted by the cost of Ausone, which world demand makes very expensive.

In the early years of the 21st century there has been considerable restructuring of the vineyards and cellars, as well as refurbishment of the château itself, securing Ausone's unique position for future generations.
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Bordeaux Vintage 2006

The brilliant 2005 vintage was always going to cast something of a shadow over its successor, but there were very good wines made in every appellation of Bordeaux in 2006. Certainly the quality is more uneven than in 2005 but from the best and most fastidious producers there are wines of balance, finesse and complexity that is unique to the region.

July in Bordeaux was the hottest on record but was followed by a cooler, overcast August which slowed the ripening process but added finesse. The perfect start in September was followed by storms in the middle of the month, heavy in the northern Médoc, and rot was encouraged which may have caught out those who were careless in the care of their vines or who harvested late. However, the grapes were high in sugar and those who picked before the rains were clearly at an advantage.

Finesse, charm and expressive fruit with good structure for keeping are the characteristics of the year’s successful wines. They are closer in style to the wines of...
The brilliant 2005 vintage was always going to cast something of a shadow over its successor, but there were very good wines made in every appellation of Bordeaux in 2006. Certainly the quality is more uneven than in 2005 but from the best and most fastidious producers there are wines of balance, finesse and complexity that is unique to the region.

July in Bordeaux was the hottest on record but was followed by a cooler, overcast August which slowed the ripening process but added finesse. The perfect start in September was followed by storms in the middle of the month, heavy in the northern Médoc, and rot was encouraged which may have caught out those who were careless in the care of their vines or who harvested late. However, the grapes were high in sugar and those who picked before the rains were clearly at an advantage.

Finesse, charm and expressive fruit with good structure for keeping are the characteristics of the year’s successful wines. They are closer in style to the wines of the 2001 and 2004 vintages, both of which are very attractive for mid-term drinking, and all of which are less dense than the exceptional 2005s. The 2006s often have more body than the 2001s and 2004s.
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2006 vintage reviews

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