Representing nearly half of the production, this estate's second wine, the 2009 La Chapelle d'Ausone, is an extraordinary effort. Better than many of the grand vins made during the 1970s and 1980s, it is an equal part blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc revealing an inky/blue/purple color along with notes of incense, blueberries, raspberries and crushed rocks (which give the wine a distinctive minerality). Medium to full-bodied as well as exceptionally pure, broad and opulent, it should drink well for two decades or more. Drink: 2012 - 2032
Tasted at Chateau Ausone. A blend of 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Franc, the Chapelle d'Ausone has a ripe, well defined bouquet with just a little more warmth than usual, macerated black cherries, cassis, a touch of dried lemon peel, gaining definition all the time as it rests in the glass. The palate is medium-bodied with fine but firm tannins, an enthralling sense of symmetry and focus here, the Cabernet Franc lending a little austerity to balance the ripe Merlot on the finish. Good length: as usual, this constitutes and over-performing Second wine. Tasted March 2010.
This is always made with the young vines. Full-bodied, with super velvety tannins and gorgeous mineral, dark berry and spice character. Lovely velvet texture. Amazing quality for a second wine. Best in 2017.
70% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc. What didn't go into Ausone. Bright crimson. Very sumptuous and ripe. Super-sweet. Very jazzy and intense. A little bit dry on the end. Very electric in its concentration. Quite luscious in a raw berry sort of way. Date tasted 30th March 2010. Drink 2016-2026.
Ausone's second wine is better than most other Saint Emilions but there are only 500 cases of it in 2009. A 70:30 blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc, receiving the same elevage as the Grand Vin itself. This has a very strong resemblance to its big brother with wonderful freshness, focus, intensity and definition. Opulent black fruit with a velvety texture. Super-silky, elegant and long. Even this humble second wine ranks among the best in St Emilion this year.
The nose has an attractive smoky quality behind which are bright red fruits. The palate has the richness of black fruits fleshed out by rounded tannins, all beautifully balanced by raspberry freshness that gives a racy feel to the finish. Drink 2016-2035.
If this is the year of the second wine - and given the expected prices of some of the first wines, it will be - then Chapelle is a great buy. It's lower in alcohol than Ausone and nearly as good. Aromatic and fine, with creamy, balanced tannins and oak seductively woven into the wine. The finish here lasts for at least a minute. The 100% new oak doesn't show. 15+ years.
Has the overriding freshness and finesse of the grand vin. Perhaps a touch 'fruitier' and round (70% Merlot) but clearly the same terroir and philosophy. Drink 2018-2035.
The second wine, La Chapelle d'Ausone, is remarkable, and in 2009, one of the great second wines of Bordeaux. Dense purple in color, with lots of incense, crushed rock, blueberries, and floral notes, the wine is dense, opulent, medium to full-bodied, and very pure and impressive. It should drink well for 20 or more years. (Tasted once.) Drink 2010-2030.
Two more brilliant wines from Alain Vauthier, but you might have to forgive me for not giving a potentially perfect score in 2009. Readers (and I) have been spoiled by my reviews of 2008, 2005, 2003, and 2000. Certainly, his 2009 may turn out to be as riveting, but at this stage, I would have to rate all those vintages just a notch or two higher.
Delivers blueberry and blackberry aromas, with hints of dark chocolate. Full-bodied, featuring chewy, rich tannins and a beautiful velvety texture. This is superb. Really structured.