When you taste Château Ausone (and frankly all of the wines that exist in the Vauthier portfolio) there is a real distinct thread that runs through all of them. There's a common theme of elegance, finesse and a sense of weightlessness that is not what you would expect from a region known for full-bodied tannic reds. However these wines remain powerful and with a high concentration of tannins, yet the purity of fruit, the finesse and the exceptional balance in the wines make them feel ethereal on the palate. Alain Vauthier changed his winemaking style in 2012; he reached the conclusion that tannic structure needs to play second fiddle to purity of fruit. The fruit must dominate the palate first with the tannins sitting in the background. He believes greater longevity comes from wines with a better balance, they can also be enjoyed younger too. To achieve this meant taking a more delicate approach to tannin management in the winery. Asked what he does to extract such delicate tannins, Alain replied: “Virtually nothing. I don’t extract”.
The tannins that come through in the wine are naturally infused by a long but very gentle maceration on the skins. Alain's son Edouard jokes that “doing nothing”, in his father’s terms, is actually an incredibly intricate and obsessive approach to protecting the wine in all its parts, its natural perfumes and flavours - particularly from oxygen following maceration. Alain has always been obsessed with perfection and even "doing nothing” has been perfected.
Another key influence in the change of style came as the result of investment into a density machine used for sorting grapes prior to fermentation. These machines were initially invented for the pea industry, sorting through petit pois. Since introducing them to the winery they have worked brilliantly for Vauthier’s wines, initially trialled at Château Ausone in 2012 before being rolled out across the whole portfolio.