This week’s random Tuesday tipple is the Chateau Ausone 2001. Ausone is without doubt a big name, one of the traditional heavyweights of the Bordeaux right bank and certainly up there with the five left bank premier crus or first growths of the 1855 Classification- Lafitte, Latour, Margaux, Haut Brion and Mouton.
The right bank didn’t feature in the 1855 Classification but St. Emilion has it’s own classification system. Ausone sat at the top of the St. Emilion hierarchy (Premier Grand Cru Classe A) along with Cheval Blanc until 2012 when they were joined by Pavie and Angelus. 10 years ago in 2004 Parker called the Ausone 2001 “the wine of the vintage”. By all accounts, 2001 was a pretty alright vintage, though definitely overshadowed by the outstanding 2000.
Still an Ausone is an Ausone and there is a lot of expectation attached to this wine when it finally gets poured into our tasting glasses. The bottle had been open for 3 hours but the wine had not been decanted- shame that- I think it could have done with a good aeration.
Very dense and tight on the nose- plums and cooked black sweet fruit, smoke, liquorice and sweet spice (sort of vanilla-ish). On the palate , I was struck by how much minerality there was, almost slate like, with less fruit intensity and juiciness than the nose suggested. Clearly a complex wine but not quite as intense, lingering or nuanced as I’d hoped. Tannins still pretty evident and very drying. Seemed to have quite a super dry almost dusty finish.
The host noted that the 2001 Ausone is selling in Hong Kong for around HK$5000 vs the 2000 which sells at around HK$10,000, and the 2001 is therefore a “value” proposition.
“Value”, of course, being entirely relative, I concluded that this one didn’t blow me away by any stretch of the imagination and there are plenty of other interesting wines I could try within a $5000 budget….