1988 Château Ausone, 1er Grand Cru Classé (A), St Emilion Grand Cru, Bordeaux, France
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Roving Sommelier is passionate about premium quality wines. Along with the legendary Château Cheval Blanc, Château Ausone is many wine lovers’ favourite first rank château in St Emilion and has developed a fine reputation internationally, especially with connoisseurs of iconic Bordeaux vineyards.
What is more, over the years, as a top-flight restaurant wine buyer and sommelier, I’ve been very fortunate to get my hands on and taste many vintages of such rare and special wines. These highly prized jewels, amongst others are the cornerstone of my Roving Sommelier Collection.
Château Ausone is a Bordeaux wine from the Saint-Émilion appellation, currently one of only four wines, along with Château Angélus, Château Cheval Blanc and Château Pavie to be ranked Premier Grand Cru Classé (A) in the Classification of Saint-Émilion wine. The winery is located on the Right Bank of France’s Bordeaux wine region in the Gironde department, close to the town of Saint-Émilion.
Despite being one of the great names of Bordeaux, Ausone fell into decline until Pascal Delbeck was appointed winemaker in 1976. For several years Ausone was jointly owned by the Dubois-Challon and Vauthier families. After an unsettling time, feuding in the courts was brought to an end when the Vauthiers bought the Dubois-Challon shares in the mid-1990s. Alain Vauthier became managing director of Ausone, while Heylette Dubois-Challon won the right to live in the chateau until her death in 2003. Michel Rolland was appointed consultant oenologist in 2002.
The success of the wine produced at Ausone is attributed to a combination of exposure and the soil, a mixture of sand and clay on limestone unique to the district. The vineyard is 7 hectares (17 acres), arranged with the grape varieties of 50% Cabernet Franc and 50% Merlot, planted with a density of 6,500 vines per hectare. Due to the small scale of the vineyards, picking may be done at an optimal moment, usually in two afternoons. Of both the Grand Vin and the second wine Chapelle d’Ausone, the annual production averages little more than 2,000 cases.
1988 vintage was regarded as a great one with many top Bordeaux wines showing vibrancy of fruit, a good tannic structure, velvety texture and great complexity. This one has evolved beautifully and is a very memorable wine that deserves to be enjoyed on very special occasions with sumptuous food.
I suggest you decant this wine at least one hour before service and serve in top quality wine glasses. Best enjoyed with red meats, especially lamb and game dishes and in a convivial atmosphere.
Alcohol: 12.5% abv (75cl)
Grape varieties: Cabernet Franc and Merlot
Flavour Profile: Medium-bodied, Aromatic, Black Fruits, Spice, Velvety texture, Complex