Robert Parker 88
Long-time readers of this publication know that I believe Ausone is the most intellectually challenging wine made in Bordeaux. The wine often tastes as if it needs 40-50 years to shed some of its astringency and closed style. With that caveat in mind, the 1989 seemed significantly less impressive than in previous tastings. Certainly it is nowhere near the quality of the 1990. The 1989 reveals amber at the edge, and a green tobacco and mineral-scented, hard-edged nose of musty wood and earthy fruit. This mid-weight wine is spicy and elegant, with moderate body, and a boatload of astringent tannin in the harsh finish. It requires a minimum of 10-15 more years of cellaring. Anticipated maturity: 2005-2020.
Anticipated maturity: 2005-2020
(In magnum) Already quite pale and brick-coloured with considerable evolution at the rim. Markedly light nose in this company. Sweet, chunky and dusty with a dry, inky finish. Not fine, relatively neutral in fact. A medicinal quality to the fruit and some quite dusty tannins. Diffuse, heavy.
The 1989 Ausone is a good but not great wine, certainly one that ought to have been far better given the benevolent growing season. The nose is well defined with dark berry fruit, mocha, leather and undergrowth scents, fully matured but nicely focused. The palate is medium-bodied with slightly better acidity and more freshness than the 1990. The tannins feel rather rugged – certainly an Ausone that needs to look up the word “finesse” in the dictionary, yet there is good substance and an agreeable pencil lead tinged finish. What is it missing? Just a sense of personality. Tasted at the Ausone vertical in London.
Anticipated maturity: 2018-2032