The winery is located in the Saint-Émilion area high on a terrace overlooking the Dordogne valley. Nearby are the remains of a large Roman villa. This may have been the home of the Bordeaux-born Roman poet Ausonius (310-395), who also owned vineyards here. Famous is the cathedral-like wine cellar carved into the rock. The estate was owned by the Vauthier and Dubois-Challon families for 250 years. After a long dispute, Alain Vauthier bought the shares from Madame Dubois-Challon in 1996 and is now the sole owner. In 1997 Alain Vauthier separated from Pascal Delbeck and engaged the well-known French oenologist Michel Rolland (*1947) as consultant. He is now responsible for the vinification himself.
It has been awarded the highest "Premier Grand Cru Classé A" in all classifications (last in 2012). The vineyards cover only 7.3 hectares of vines on a flat layer of light, calcareous clay soil over permeable limestone. They are planted half with Merlot and half with Cabernet Franc, the vines are on average over 50 years old. The colourful and extremely long-lasting red wine is aged for 16 to 22 months in 100% new barriques. Every three months the barrels are decanted to remove the deposit. The wine is fined with egg white, but mostly no filtration.
The wine needs a long period of development. It is also known as "Château Pétrus des Saint-Émilion" and is one of the most expensive wines in the world. Particularly outstanding vintages are 1976, 1978, 1982, 1983, 1985, 1989, 1990 and 1998. One bottle of the 1849 vintage was tasted by a prominent group of people in 1995 at a pre-Phylloxera event organised by the famous wine collector Hardy Rodenstock (1941-2018). The then 146 year old wine tasted like an old port and received excellent ratings. Only about 2,500 cases of wine are produced annually. The excellent second wine is called "Chapelle d'Ausone".
Image rights: Château Ausone