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.
"Very exotic and fascinating with dark-berry, floral and violet aromas that follow though to a full body that is tight and polished with ultra-fine and driven tannins. They really are amazing. A wine with such strength and finesse at the same time. Confident and real Ausone. A blend of 50 per cent merlot and 50 per cent cabernet franc. Better after 2025."
98 Points, JamesSuckling.com
"The 2016 Ausone is magnificent. Seamless and supple, the 2016 hovers with striking aromatic nuance and layers of finely-knit fruit that gradually open in the glass. A whole range of floral and citrus notes perk up the sweet red/purplish berry fruit, with hints of lavender, blood orange and jasmine that develop as the wine is in the glass. The 2016 is a bit reserved today, but it is unquestionably very, very beautiful. 2026-2066"
97 Points, Antonio Galloni
"The 2016 Ausone was mightily impressive from barrel. Bottled in July 2018, it has a very intense bouquet of black cherries, cassis, cedar and light pencil box aromas emanating from the 50% Cabernet Franc. The palate is medium-bodied with supple, filigreed tannin that belies the density and structure of this Ausone. There is something agile about Alain and Pauline Vauthier's wine this year. Yet the wine also reveals considerable depth and concentration, gently but insistently gripping the palate with a touch of white pepper and Earl Grey toward the persistent finish. There is not a hair out of place on this Ausone – one of the finest produced in recent years. 2026-2070"
99 Points, Vinous
The 2016 Ausone is a blend of 50% Cabernet Franc and 50% Merlot. Deep garnet-purple colored, it's quite closed at first glance, slowly unfurling to reveal the most incredible perfume of violets, chocolate-covered cherries, warm black plums, Black Forest cake and roasted nuts with suggestions of charcuterie, wood smoke and cedar chest. The medium to full-bodied palate offers a quiet intensity of flavors that grow in the mouth to unveil layer after layer of black and red berries intertwined with beautiful savory notions framed by firm yet velvety tannins, finishing with epic length and amazing energy. It practically tingles on the palate!
99 points, Wine Advocate (December 2018)
The 2016 Château Ausone is up with the crème de la crème of the vintage and isn’t far off the thrilling 2015, although it shows a more seamless, elegant character. Loads of spice, crushed violets, floral notes and subtle oak give way to a full-bodied beauty that has thrilling cassis and black raspberry fruits, polished tannin, perfect balance, and a great, great finish. This thrilling Ausone needs 4-6 years of bottle age but will keep for 30 years or more.
98 points, jebdunnuck.com (February 2019)
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.