Though it has never been absolutely proven, Chateau Asone is rumoured to be the 4th century home of a Roman villa belonging to the classical poet Ausonius - and indeed, part of the estate does contain archaeological remains of a Roman villa. Needless to say, it’s a local estate of great pedigree and despite its incredibly lengthy history, it has only changed familial hands three times, culminating in the 17th century with the Dubois-Challon-Vauthier family, in whose descendents hands it remains today.
Widely regarded among Bordeaux winemakers to be home to some of the best terroir in the region and that terroir, along with the skilled hand of Alain Vauthier, have made it one of the best producers of Bordeaux wine in the world. Renowned for its unique flavour and rich, full-bodied minerality, the 2016 has been lauded for its “regal” yet “stunning and ethereal” character, and widely regarded as one of THE wines of this year’s vintage.
Dark plum, roasted chestnut aromas. Substantial and involved wine with concentrated ripe dark plummy blackberry fruits, brambly yet sinuous tannins and plenty of mocha oak. Powerful and generous yet lovely precision and line. Elemental and richly flavoured with al dente grippy firmness. Panforte and plum flavours at the finish.
99 points, Langton's
The 2015 Ausone is the embodiment of class. A seamless, mind-blowing wine, the Ausone boasts extraordinary purity and finesse. The flavours are deep and unctuous throughout, and yet the wine is remarkably vivid. A host of sweet floral notes and exotic spices are fused into the eternal finish. In 2015, Ausone is as good as it gets. Readers who can find the 2015 should not hesitate, as it is truly magnificent... it took the most extraordinary discipline to spit this wine during my tasting. It is every bit that profound. The 2015 is 50% Cabernet Franc and 50% Merlot that will spend 20 months in French oak, 85% new. The Merlot was brought in between September 29 and October 2, while the Franc came in between October 8 and 10.
97-100 points, Vinous
"Very intense and aromatic Ausone with rose petals, fresh herbs, dark berries and raspberries. Full body and great intensity and brightness. Purity and focus reminiscent of crushed grapes. Such beauty, greatness and elegance to this wine. Goes on for minutes. Needs four or five years to come completely together but so long and beautiful. Try drinking in 2021." 99 Points, James Suckling
Composed of 50% Cabernet Franc and 50% Merlot aged in French oak barrels, 85% new, for 20 months, the 2015 Ausone features a deep garnet-purple colour and comes bounding out of the glass with expressive plum preserves, wild blueberries and cherry pie aromas plus fragrant nuances of roses, licorice, Indian spices, baker’s chocolate, new leather and cedar chest plus a touch of underbrush. Big, rich, opulent and full-bodied in the mouth, it is laden with bold blue and black fruits, superbly supported by very firm, very finely grained tannins and wonderfully seamless freshness, finishing with long-lingering exotic spice hints. 2024-2052.
99 points, Wine Advocate
The 2015 Ausone is a blend of 50% Cabernet Franc and 50% Merlot this year, cropped at 30 hl/ha between 29 September and 2 October for the Merlot and 8-10 October for the Cabernet Franc. Matured in 85% new oak, it has a very intense bouquet of small dark cherries, cassis, violets and incense, a hint of blood orange originating from the Merlot tucked underneath. The palate is medium-bodied with svelte tannin, seamlessly integrated oak. It is an intense Saint Emilion with a superb arching structure on the finish, while maintaining sufficient freshness from start to finish. It grips the mouth a little more than some of its peers, implying that it will need longer in bottle, but it will be worth the wait. Patience advised for this great Ausone courtesy of Alain and Pauline Vauthier.
95-97 points, Wine Advocate
This magnificent wine brings together the great fruit of the vintage with a complex structure. The acidity, ripe tannins and the power of this dense wine are enormous, as is its aging potential. With that acidity and tannic structure, and with the perfumes from the Cabernet Franc, this wine will evolve slowly and with a measured pace. Drink from 2028.
100 points, Wine Enthusiast, December 2018
An utterly perfect wine from Alain Vauthier, the 2015 Château Ausone offers off the hook notes of crème de cassis, black raspberries, toasted spice and dried flowers, with more floral and mineral characteristics developing with time in the glass. Amazingly deep, full-bodied, pure and ethereally textured, with building density and tannin, it’s one of those wines that need to be tasted to be believed. Unfortunately, the production is minuscule (and expensive). A wine that will make your heart rate jump, give it 4-5 years of cellaring and I suspect it will keep for as long as you’d like to hang on to bottles. It’s a tour de force in wine and the wine of the vintage in 2015.
100 points, JebDunnuck.com (November 2017)
St.-Émilion is the star of Bordeaux’s Right Bank, north of the Dordogne River. The rich red wines produced in St.-Émilion, based on Merlot and Cabernet Franc, are less tannic and generally more fruit-driven in flavour than the Cabernet-based wines of Left Bank. Merlot thrives on the plateaus high above the Dordogne, where the soil is filled with sand and clay, a perfect medium for creating opulent, fruit-forward wines. With a typically savoury character, St.-Émilion wines are sometimes called the “Burgundies of Bordeaux.” These refined reds, with loads of finesse, are elegant companions to beef, chicken, pork and duck.
The wines of St.-Émilion were not included in the famous 1855 classification of Bordeaux, which ranked wines of the Left Bank. In 1955, St.-Émilion published its own classification, based on soil analysis, wine quality and reputation of the properties. Unlike the 1855 classification, St.-Emilion’s system requires properties to continuously prove themselves. The list is revised regularly, most recently in 2012. There are two tiers within the classification, Premier Grand Cru Classé and Grand Cru Classé. There are currently just 18 Premier Grand Cru properties and 64 Grand Cru Classé properties.
The St.-Émilion appellation is home to hundreds of individual producers, enhancing the variety of wines made there. Many of the properties remain small, family-run enterprises, unlike the large châteaux of the Left Bank. The area is also the base of France’s controversial micro-châteaux or garagiste wine movement; these innovative winemakers operate outside the traditional classification system, making very high quality (and very expensive) highly extracted wines.