By Chateau Ausone
The 1989 Ausone from Chateau Ausone, Saint-Emilion, Bordeaux
The revered 1989 vintage from the illustrious Chateau Ausone emerges as one of the stellar exemplars of Saint-Emilion's formidable potential. My personal chronicles of this wine span decades, yet I find myself repeatedly drawn to the singular character that the 1989 vintage bestows upon its fortunate connoisseurs.
A Vintage Speaks: The Remarkable '89
In the exalted echelons of fine Bordeaux, certain vintages achieve a mythic status; the 1989 is such a year. It was a season kissed by benevolent weather, allowing grapes to reach an impeccable balance of ripeness and acidity, laying the groundwork for an exquisite expression of terroir.
Climatic Serendipity and Oenological Mastery
The 1989 growing season can be likened to an ideal symphony—the early warmth ushering vigneron diligence, followed by spells of rain, and culminating in a harvest-time crescendo. These elements have coalesced within the glass to offer an oenophile's dream: a wine from Chateau Ausone with robust tannins, complex layers of dark fruit, and an elegant underpinning of minerality that seems whispered directly from the limestone heart of Saint-Emilion.
A nose graced by notes of blackcurrant and plum evolves into truffles and aged leather, signifying a maturity that investors yearn for—when purity meets poise. On the palate, one uncovers a compendium of sensations; rich cassis commingles with earthy nuances, hinting at cedar, under a seamless integration that only genuinely accomplished vinification can achieve.
Contemplating wine investment? The rarity and prestige that clings to this nectar propose an opportunity not merely to possess but to be part of Bordeaux's storied legacy. I consider it to be one of the investments with profound potential for both maturation in bottle and appreciation in value. The 1989 Ausone is undeniably a beacon for connoisseurs tracing the contours of vinous excellence.
The Summation of Sensations
As we broach on perhaps a plateau in this wine's evolutionary chronicle, it's evident that the 1989 Ausone has sculpted its niche in the annals of enology. Its consummate alliance with nature's bounty in 1989 provides an investment dialogue conversant in flavours, textures, and enduring worth underpinning its distinction in one's cellar portfolio.
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Scores and tasting notes
Tasted at the Ausone vertical in London. Showing more maturity than the 1990, nevertheless I prefer the bouquet on the '89, that shows less volatility and a little more cohesion and lushness. Raspberry, wild strawberry, some lovely Cabernet Franc aromas showing though with hints of green pepper and Provencal herbs (fennel and thyme.) The palate is medium-bodied, slightly coarse tannins on the entry, well balanced, perhaps almost rustic in style, more dryness than the 1990 but more composed. The finish lacks a touch of complexity, a little austere perhaps, but quite charming. Drink now-2018. Tasted December 2009.
Neal Martin - Wine Journal Nov 2010
Notes of melted caramel, coffee, fruitcake, and ripe currants are moderately intense in this relatively ripe year for Ausone. Nevertheless, in the mouth there is still high tannin, a somewhat attenuated finish with medium body and average quantities of red and black currant fruits. Drink it over the next 10-15 years. Last tasted, 11/02.
Robert Parker Jr - The Wine Advocate, 31 December 2002