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.
Medium-deep crimson. Complex dark plum, dark chocolate, espresso aromas with herb garden notes. Richly flavoured dark plum, praline roasted chestnut toasty flavours, fine plentiful chalky tannins. Firm and minerally at the finish. Very good mid-palate density and richness. Lovely wine with superb balance and potential longevity. 65% cabernet franc, 35% merlot. Vinification in oak vats, followed by 20 months maturation in French oak.
(97-98) points, The Vintage Journal (May 2022)
A blend of 65% Cabernet Franc and 35% Merlot, the 2021 Ausone is a strong candidate for the title of wine of the vintage. Wafting from the glass with aromas of wild blueberries and raspberries mingled with rose petals, violets, exotic spices, vine smoke and blood orange, it's full-bodied, seamless and sensual, with a satiny attack that segues into a deep, layered mid-palate of breathtaking precision and intensity without weight. Built around bright acids and ultra-refined tannins and concluding with a resonant, perfumed finish, this profound young Ausone represents the essence of this great limestone terroir. I am not in the habit of drinking six-month-old Bordeaux cask samples, but this is one wine that would have sorely tempted me to make an exception to that rule if my appointment at the estate hadn't been one of the first of the day!
(97-100) points, Wine Advocate (April 2022)
Full-bodied, but so elegant and fresh, with a silky, elegant tannin texture. Very deep and expansive. Lots going on already with plenty of perfume. Blueberries, cloves, lavender and some wild-berry notes. Dark cocoa, too. Some espresso character at the end. Wonderful interplay of spices and fruit. Long. It keeps going.
(96-97) points, JamesSuckling.com (May 2022)
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.