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DSC_1113At that time, there were only two Grand Cru A in Saint-Emilion (now there are four: Ausone, Cheval Blanc, Angélus and Pavie); at that time, these wines were - from today's point of view - still "affordable"; today, the proportionality has been lost. Pure presige and speculation objects. What a pity! The favourite wine of my wife was (at that time) Ausone. Why Ausone in particular, I don't know. Certainly an excellent wine, but there are many other excellent wines in the Borderlais. So I bought one or two bottles for my wife (and me) from time to time, much to our delight. But then came the 1997 vintage, a weak vintage - also in Saint Emilion - but not at Château Ausone. Since 1995 (when he became the sole owner), Alain Vauthier has redistributed the various vineyards, used only the best plots for his first wine, made a lot of effort in the vineyards and carried out a strong selection. Anyway, the 97 was one of the few really good wines in St-Emilion. I was thrilled by this as early as at the barrel tasting and I immediately subscribed four bottles. Since then, we refer to these bottles as our "fall from grace", because at that time they cost double, almost triple the price of the preceding years. One "little detail" that I overlooked. The "fall of man" remained in the basement, we waited patiently for the day when the sin would be forgiven, on a very special day, a milestone birthday, at a social event or I know when and where... The right day did not come. At least, we didn't perceive it. Then, when the wine didn't increase at auctions (and at reviews), but showed constant shrinkage, I opened a bottle - on an almost ordinary day - and realized, there is still some, but not much of the "wow" left of this wow wine. Granted it still a good wine, arguably still one of the best of the vintage. But in the meantime, there was the 2000, the 2005, the 2009... However, for well over 1,000 francs (the bottle)! Our "fall from grace" is a stroke of luck.Ausone auf dem Zeltplatz So it happened that we opened the second last Ausone of the 1997 vintage on (my) half-round birthday. The day was fixed, but the circumstances rather a coincidence. We were on a camping site, so to speak at the very simple life: Tent, gas stove, folding table, etc. So that's where the "Fall of Man" came into the glass. A wine that cost more than 300 francs at the time, on the camping table in front of the tent, where an overnight stay doesn't cost a tenth of that. Who now says, these are true snobs, is probably right. But this story teaches me: 1. wines can be enjoyed everywhere. 2. Wines should not be saved until the ultimate right time has come. 3. High wine prices do not guarantee maximum enjoyment. 4. No let's not go there... Our "Fall of Man" was a beautiful wine, already very, very ripe. Much of its complexity has already been lost, it has slimmed down, everything has become a little weaker, the bouquet, the colour, the aromas, its power, the harmony... It has used up its potential and is beginning to say goodbye. The once great Ausone (of the weak 1997 vintage) has become a good wine, whose substance is not (anymore) enough to repeat the former wows.