About Château Ausone
Château Ausone vies with Cheval-Blanc to be Saint-Émilion’s most prestigious estate. Named after the Roman poet Ausonius who once resided in this area, Ausone is one of four Premier Grand Cru Classé (A) wines in the classification of Saint-Émilion (along with Angélus, Cheval Blanc and Pavie).
Quite possibly the oldest winemaking estate in the entire region, the vines of Château Ausone occupy the same site as a villa owned by the Roman poet and proconsul Ausonius nearly 2000 years ago. The connection to the current name is clear to see, but the Vauthier family have owned these hallowed vineyards for several centuries into the 12th generation with Pauline.
Ausone stands tall over the town of St-Émilion itself, with a mere seven hectares of entirely classified vines – making it the single smallest First Growth in any appellation, on any Bank. Clinging precariously to steep, ancient slopes comprised of clay and limestone with particularly shallow soil cover, it has been said that Ausone is one of few properties in the region where one can simply tell from the sight of its terroir that the wine is exceptional. There are Cabernet Franc vines that are more than 100 years of age (planted 1906).
Striking chunks of limestone are immediately obvious, and it comes as no surprise to learn that such is the extent of said geological influence that there are deep quarries running beneath the vines. Actively worked between the 13th and 19th centuries, the dormant mines are now used by the Vauthiers to store oak barrels at a temperature of 12 degrees and a steady year-round humidity of 97% – in fact so effective are these limestone cellars that a dehumidifier had to be installed!
Aside from producing some of the greatest, rarest wine on Earth, Ausone’s terroir is exceptional for its consistency. Vintage after vintage, both the Grand Vin and the second wine excel whilst others stumble – the latter representing a minuscule 10% of the total production of an already dramatically small amount.