Chateau Ausone building and rebuilding

Just visiting Chateau Ausone is something very special. Ausone is one of the eight top wines in Bordeaux (Next to the five First Growths, Petrus and Cheval Blanc) and also the smallest of them all. Whit its 7ha (16acres) it is about 10 times as small as a Medoc First Growth. Ausone, producing between 15.000 and 18.000 bottles yearly, is NOT open for visitors. We felt privileged driving up to Saint Emilion to visit Ausone and meet the charming owner Alain Vauthier. Ausone has been renovating for so many years that their crane has become something of a new Saint Emilion landmark. The way they are renovating here is totally different from what we experienced at elsewhere. Everything is done in the way they were building in the 18th century. Monsieur Vauthier is very strict on this: no concrete or cement or any contemporary building material is allowed to be used. He knows concrete dries in matter of days and his chalk and limestone needs at least a year before it reaches its full strength. “Il ne faut pas être pressé”, you can’t be in a hurry, is his dry comment on the questioning looks on our faces. The underground quarries of Chateau Ausone are used to (barrel)age the wines. These quarries were in a very bad condition and needed extensive renovations, i.e. the addition of new support structures, preventing the entire structure from collapsing. Again no modern building materials were used, no concrete, no nothing. In these caves everything looks like it has been there for centuries. In these same caves Monsieur Vauthier personally took samples from a barrel for us to taste. Normally not a loss for words, I didn’t know what to say after tasting this magnificent monumental wine, which sells by the way for € 1350 ($ 1800) per bottle. The owner then showed us what he was doing with the chateau itself. Ausone employs 7 masons who have to be able to work in the traditional way. Every chunk of stone used on the renovation is “cut to measure” from giant block of stone by Ausone’s own masons. Monsieur Vauthier believes magnetism and induction influences the comfort of living in a house. As a result all the wiring for the electricity has to be done in a very special way to prevent those effects. He had to search for a long time to find an electrician who could and would work in this manner. The same attention to details he applies to the acoustics in the chateau. Again the choice of materials and the way they are applied are very important to him, as he wants to be the one living in the chateau in the future. “You can’t be in a hurry”, I think the crane at Ausone will remain the Saint Emilion landmark for a while…

Ronald with Alain and Pauline Vauthier of First Growth "A" Ausone

Ronald with Alain and Pauline Vauthier of First Growth “A” Ausone

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