The 2018 Ausone is a blend of 60% Cabernet Franc and 40% Merlot. Deep garnet-purple in color, rather predictably, the nose is almost completely shut-down on first sniff, taking considerable aeration to begin to reveal its jaw-dropping perfume of ripe black cherries, wild blueberries and plum preserves, leading to suggestions of candied violets, molten chocolate, licorice and crushed rocks with subtle cedar and pencil lead hints. The medium to full-bodied palate (14.5% alcohol) is so tightly wound and nuanced at this stage, it requires a lot of focus unravel all that is going on here. In short: a lot. The ripe, rich, black and blue fruit layers eventually give way to the beautifully cerebral earthy/minerally subtext, carried by fantastically well-knit tension, delivering an incredibly long, foundation-shaking finish. If the earth doesn't move when you drink this, you're probably not doing it right.
100 points, Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Wine Advocate (Mar 2021)
The 2018 Ausone is mind-blowing. The aromatics alone are mesmerizing. I don't know what more to say. Cabernet Franc is so expressive, so vibrant so nuanced. Rose petal, cinnamon, star anise and sage meld into a core of red fleshed fruit. The 2018 doesn't impress with opulence or richness, rather it is a Saint-Émilion that is all about persistence and energy. I won't be at all surprised if it merits a higher score in the future. Readers who can find it should not hesitate. The 2018 is a viscerally thrilling wine of the highest level.
99 points, Antonio Galloni, Vinous (Mar 2021)
Aromas of blackberry, black cherry, licorice, iodine and dried shitake mushroom. Opens and changes to violets and lavender. Full-bodied and tight with creamy and refined tannins that run the length of the wine and takes you down into the depth of the wine. Needs years to open yet it’s already so gorgeous to taste. Try after 2027.
99 points, James Suckling (Mar 2021)
The perfumes of this wine just pour from the glass. They measure up to the promise of the black tannins and dark, dense fruits, the monumental structure and juicy black-plum flavors. The whole ethos of this wine is towards long-term aging to great power and intensity for the future. Drink from 2028.
98 points, Roger Voss, Wine Enthusiast (May 2021)