"The 2003 Ausone is off the charts in terms of richness. While I gave a 3-digit score to the 2000, I think this profoundly concentrated wine may be even more sublime and exotic. Its inky/blue/purple color is followed by an extraordinary perfume of flowers, crushed rocks, sweet raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, and God knows what else. The impression is one of extraordinary richness and purity, and a multilayered texture yet a surreal lightness as well as laser-like precision. This exquisite offering must be tasted to be believed. Incredibly young, it will undoubtedly close down over the next few years, re-emerging after 15-20 years. It should last for 70-100 years. It is a wine for anthology!"
Château Ausone is one of the prestigious few Saint-Émilion producers with Premier Grand Cru Classé A status. It is relatively small compared to other top rated Bordeaux châteaux, and its 7-hectare (17-acre) vineyard is planted almost entirely to Cabernet Franc and Merlot. A small amount of Cabernet Sauvignon appears in its second wine, Chapelle d'Ausone.
The estate is named for the 4th Century Roman poet Decimius Magnus Ausonius, who owned extensive property in Bordeaux, including some vineyards. The modern château and property date back to the 18th Century. Ausone and its neighbor Château Bélair-Monange were owned by the same family for most of the 20th Century and shared Ausone's cellars. Despite its centuries-old history, Ausone has only been owned by three different families, though not always without contention: in the 1990s, a legal feud regarding inheritance plagued the estate.
Ausone's vineyard is on an elevated southeast-facing slope that is uncommonly steep for the region. Sheltered to the north and the west, the vineyard was spared from the devastating effects of the 1956 frosts that destroyed vines and vintages in many other parts of Bordeaux. Since the 1990s, Ausone has consistently received high critical praise, peaking with 100 points from critic Robert Parker for the 2000 vintage. A very limited production of fewer than 2000 cases annually makes Château Ausone one of the most expensive and sought-after Saint-Émilion wines.