(55% cabernet franc and 45% merlot; represents production of 22 hectoliters per hectare): Bright red-ruby. Spicy pepper and oak notes dominate reticent strawberry, cedar and green coffee bean aromas. Gains in richness and density with aeration, with red fruit flavors picking up more sweetness and volume. Finishes bright and very lively, with strong but harmonious acidity giving it a light touch, although the youthfully chewy tannins betray a hint of greenness at the back. A very different Ausone from some of the powerfully structured behemoths of recent vintages.
Tasted blind. Dark-fruited and toasty. Juicy and fresh but a bit skinny. Not for the very long term? Lean and a bit tart. (JH)
Anticipated maturity: 2020-2028