Robert Parker 94
One of the vintage’s most compelling wines (what’s new about that?), Alain Vauthier’s beloved 2004 Ausone has closed down considerably since I tasted it out of barrel, but it remains among the most concentrated wines of the vintage. Furthermore, along with Petrus, it will probably be the longest-lived. A dense purple color is accompanied by a celestial perfume of blue and black fruits, wet stones, flowers, and incense. On the palate, the wine exhibits exceptional power and concentration, but this historic terroir has also provided a surreal lightness to the wine’s impression. Beautiful flavors, sensational depth, and abundant structure suggest this 2004 will not be close to full maturity for 8-10 years. It should last for four decades.
Anticipated maturity: 2007-2047
Good deep ruby. Currant, minerals and nutty oak on the nose. Lush, sweet and pliant on the attack, then more closed in the middle palate, with a chewy, rather serious texture and impressive density for the year. The black fruit flavors are complicated by minerals, dark chocolate and mocha. Finishes with a rather powerful tannic spine that will require a good decade of patience. I can envision the 2006 evolving in a similar direction.
[50:50 Merlot:Cabernet Franc with yields of around 32 hl/ha – some of the lowest anywhere in 2004.] Very dark blackish purple. Looks quite shiny. Very reticent on the nose. Quite strict – much more austere than other recent Vauthier vintages. Lots of taut, very fine tannins, very much a long-term wine which may need quite a few months more to show at its best. Fine grained, the palate builds towards the very long finish. For the moment this is a taut spring that is all promise and little current pleasure.
Anticipated maturity: 2014-2020