2011 Chapelle d'Ausone

Red Bordeaux Blend

France / Bordeaux / Libournais / Saint-Emilion

$1,140
RP 91
V 92
Size:
Quantity:

2011 La Chapelle d'Ausone, Saint-Emilion, France


14.0% alc./vol.
Grape Variety 55% Cabernet Franc, 45% Merlot
Appellation Saint Emilion

Château Ausone is the smallest of Bordeaux's 'big eight' (first growths), and its location is as spectacular as its wines; perched on the limestone hillsides that harbour the walled
town of Saint-Émilion. Production at Ausone is tiny.
Ausone has been under the inspirational Alain Vauthier since 1995, who has spared no
expense in establishing benchmark Saint-Émilion that often ages for 50-100 years. A new
cellar (retaining old oak vats) and renovation of the château has breathed new life into
Ausone.
Although the château was built in the 19th century, the site shows evidence of the roman activity, which gives the wine its name, commemorating the 4th Century poet Ausonius. Ausone's recent history begins in 1718 with the Cantenat family, who passed it on to Mlle Challon, whose husband, Edouard Dubois, is credited with Ausone's rise in the 20th century.
Dubois-Challon's son Jean inherited Ausone post WWII, during a lean period in quality, and it wasn’t until his widow took over in 1974 that Ausone improved. Mme Dubois-Challonshared ownership with the children of her stepdaughter Cecile and the Vauthier family, before relinquishing control to Alain Vauthier and his sister. Michel Rolland is consultant.

Vintage It was not an easy growing season... The Spring was remarkably warm and dry and flowering took place early and in fine conditions. However, by late June the heat was
becoming excessive and the lack of rain a real concern, with some vines actually in danger of shutting down.
July was cool and fortunately saw some rain, while August was mixed, cooler than average overall but with some heat spikes and some storms. September was warm and dry enabling the grapes to ripen fully, but the relative lack of heat in the key months of July and August meant that the wines do not have the richness and flesh which is found in the truly great warm vintages like 2009.
There was uneven ripening within the bunches of grapes, and this necessitated a huge
amount of work in the vineyard and the cellar, sorting out and rejecting the less than
perfect fruit.

Vineyards The 7-hectare St. Emilion vineyard is planted to a vine density of 6,500 to 12,600 plants perhectare. It is the stated goal of Chateau Ausone to eventually have all their plantings at closer to 12,600 vines per hectare. However, this is being done a few vines at a time. The entire process will take several decades. The steep, hillside terroir with its grades of 15% to 20% is clay with limestone and limestone over asteria limestone in the soil. This is what gives the wine of Chateau Ausone its intense mineral character. The vines are old, in fact the average age of the vines are 50 years. However, Chateau Ausone also has some of the oldest vines in St. Emilion. There are Cabernet Franc vines that are close to 100 years of age. The oldest were planted in 1906. Yields are low at Chateau Ausone. On average, they are close to 33 hectoliters per hectare. The St. Emilion vineyard of Chateau Ausone is planted to 55% Cabernet Franc and 45% Merlot. There is also a small portion of Cabernet Sauvignon planted at Ausone as well. Cabernet Sauvignon is only included in the second wine.

Harvest The grapes are hand-harvested with great emphasis on careful sorting on the vines. The bunches are brought to the cellar in small crates that prevent any damaging of the fruit.

Vinification/ Maturation The vinification is carried out in temperature-controlled oak vats with a vatting period of 4 to 5 weeks depending on the vintage. Malolactic fermentation is done in new oak barrels, then the wine is aged for 20 months in Ausone's limestone rock caves.

Tasting Notes Extremely dense with a nose of black and blue fruit, mushrooms and a nice smoky undertone. The palate is very concentrated and a superb texture that is plush, round and full in the mouth. Wonderful example of power without weight and a study in finesse. Almost exotic flavors on the very long finish. Love the balance and mouthfeel. Outstanding.

Cellaring Drink 2014-2054

RP 91

Robert Parker Wine Advocate

The beautiful second wine is Alain Vauthier’s 2011 La Chapelle d’Ausone. It possesses a dense ruby/purple color along with the nobility, class, finesse, precision, purity and copious blue and black fruits intermixed with a floral component, good minerality, and a medium-bodied, intense, rich personality. Never heavy or over-bearing, this is a beauty. As I have written many times in the past, the Vauthiers are making a “second wine” that is greater than many of the outstanding wines produced at this estate in the 20th century. This wine should drink well for 15 or more years. Reviewed by Robert M. Parker, Jr, Issue date: April 2014. Drinking window: 2014 - 2029.
V 92

Vinous

The 2011 Chapelle d'Ausone has a well-defined, quite focused bouquet with high-toned but precise red berry fruit, crushed stone and rose petal aromas. The palate is medium-bodied with fine delineation, lifted red berry fruit laced with truffle, black pepper and a touch of clove. Lovely cohesion on the finish, this is an excellent 2011 that is ageing with style. Tasted blind at the annual 10-Year-On tasting. Reviewed by Neal Martin, Issue date: September 2021. Drinking window: 2022 - 2032.

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  • CRITICAL REVIEWS
  • WINEMAKER NOTES
RP 91

Robert Parker Wine Advocate

The beautiful second wine is Alain Vauthier’s 2011 La Chapelle d’Ausone. It possesses a dense ruby/purple color along with the nobility, class, finesse, precision, purity and copious blue and black fruits intermixed with a floral component, good minerality, and a medium-bodied, intense, rich personality. Never heavy or over-bearing, this is a beauty. As I have written many times in the past, the Vauthiers are making a “second wine” that is greater than many of the outstanding wines produced at this estate in the 20th century. This wine should drink well for 15 or more years. Reviewed by Robert M. Parker, Jr, Issue date: April 2014. Drinking window: 2014 - 2029.
V 92

Vinous

The 2011 Chapelle d'Ausone has a well-defined, quite focused bouquet with high-toned but precise red berry fruit, crushed stone and rose petal aromas. The palate is medium-bodied with fine delineation, lifted red berry fruit laced with truffle, black pepper and a touch of clove. Lovely cohesion on the finish, this is an excellent 2011 that is ageing with style. Tasted blind at the annual 10-Year-On tasting. Reviewed by Neal Martin, Issue date: September 2021. Drinking window: 2022 - 2032.

2011 La Chapelle d'Ausone, Saint-Emilion, France


14.0% alc./vol.
Grape Variety 55% Cabernet Franc, 45% Merlot
Appellation Saint Emilion

Château Ausone is the smallest of Bordeaux's 'big eight' (first growths), and its location is as spectacular as its wines; perched on the limestone hillsides that harbour the walled
town of Saint-Émilion. Production at Ausone is tiny.
Ausone has been under the inspirational Alain Vauthier since 1995, who has spared no
expense in establishing benchmark Saint-Émilion that often ages for 50-100 years. A new
cellar (retaining old oak vats) and renovation of the château has breathed new life into
Ausone.
Although the château was built in the 19th century, the site shows evidence of the roman activity, which gives the wine its name, commemorating the 4th Century poet Ausonius. Ausone's recent history begins in 1718 with the Cantenat family, who passed it on to Mlle Challon, whose husband, Edouard Dubois, is credited with Ausone's rise in the 20th century.
Dubois-Challon's son Jean inherited Ausone post WWII, during a lean period in quality, and it wasn’t until his widow took over in 1974 that Ausone improved. Mme Dubois-Challonshared ownership with the children of her stepdaughter Cecile and the Vauthier family, before relinquishing control to Alain Vauthier and his sister. Michel Rolland is consultant.

Vintage It was not an easy growing season... The Spring was remarkably warm and dry and flowering took place early and in fine conditions. However, by late June the heat was
becoming excessive and the lack of rain a real concern, with some vines actually in danger of shutting down.
July was cool and fortunately saw some rain, while August was mixed, cooler than average overall but with some heat spikes and some storms. September was warm and dry enabling the grapes to ripen fully, but the relative lack of heat in the key months of July and August meant that the wines do not have the richness and flesh which is found in the truly great warm vintages like 2009.
There was uneven ripening within the bunches of grapes, and this necessitated a huge
amount of work in the vineyard and the cellar, sorting out and rejecting the less than
perfect fruit.

Vineyards The 7-hectare St. Emilion vineyard is planted to a vine density of 6,500 to 12,600 plants perhectare. It is the stated goal of Chateau Ausone to eventually have all their plantings at closer to 12,600 vines per hectare. However, this is being done a few vines at a time. The entire process will take several decades. The steep, hillside terroir with its grades of 15% to 20% is clay with limestone and limestone over asteria limestone in the soil. This is what gives the wine of Chateau Ausone its intense mineral character. The vines are old, in fact the average age of the vines are 50 years. However, Chateau Ausone also has some of the oldest vines in St. Emilion. There are Cabernet Franc vines that are close to 100 years of age. The oldest were planted in 1906. Yields are low at Chateau Ausone. On average, they are close to 33 hectoliters per hectare. The St. Emilion vineyard of Chateau Ausone is planted to 55% Cabernet Franc and 45% Merlot. There is also a small portion of Cabernet Sauvignon planted at Ausone as well. Cabernet Sauvignon is only included in the second wine.

Harvest The grapes are hand-harvested with great emphasis on careful sorting on the vines. The bunches are brought to the cellar in small crates that prevent any damaging of the fruit.

Vinification/ Maturation The vinification is carried out in temperature-controlled oak vats with a vatting period of 4 to 5 weeks depending on the vintage. Malolactic fermentation is done in new oak barrels, then the wine is aged for 20 months in Ausone's limestone rock caves.

Tasting Notes Extremely dense with a nose of black and blue fruit, mushrooms and a nice smoky undertone. The palate is very concentrated and a superb texture that is plush, round and full in the mouth. Wonderful example of power without weight and a study in finesse. Almost exotic flavors on the very long finish. Love the balance and mouthfeel. Outstanding.

Cellaring Drink 2014-2054

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