"Very scented, complex and layered with a classy nose full of ripe currants, smoke and sweet tobacco leaves. Graphite, charcoal, exotic herbs and cigar box. A hint of black truffle and tapenade, too. Full body with fine, silky tannins that highlight the juicy aspect of this wine. Dusty tannins gradually build up on the palate in a crescendo, following through to a juicy, precise and lengthy finish. Super-polished and refined. There is still cabernet verticality on the palate. The finest Ao Yun so far? It has a finish that lasts almost two minutes. 67% cabernet sauvignon, 17% cabernet franc, 10% syrah and 6% petit verdot. This is a blend of 23% of Xidang village, 21% Sinong, 32% Shuori and 24% Adong. Already drinkable now, but should hold until 2026."
98 points - JamesSuckling.com
"The 2019 Ao Yun has an intensely deep purple appearance. On the nose, there is already appealing, immensely powerful dark fruit showing abundant cassis, black cherry, bramble, blackberry and blueberry fruit with some subtle, leafy herbaceous character (sage, green bell pepper, mint) combining with very well-integrated new oak notes of vanilla, clove, toast and smoke (note that Ao Yun only sees around 35% new French barriques with the remainder being matured in stoneware vessels and old oak). On the palate, the wine is immensely full-bodied but far from heavy, with vibrant acidity and very coating, ripe, fine-grained and polished tannins. Dulou reports that this was the first vintage when the entire harvest was gravity-fed through their winemaking facility in Adong with much gentler crushing resulting in partially opened berries retaining seeds inside (even through to racking the wine off gross lees). He also now opts to ferment in narrow, higher-filled vessels, which results in easier cap management, a less-aerated cap with less thermal variation. All of which helps explain the refinement and integration of tannin in the 2019. There is a scintillating core of complex fruit, herbaceous character and subtle new oak notes that are harmoniously integrated. With its very long length, the 2019 Ao Yun is unsurprisingly very youthful and will show better from 2023 at the earliest, even if it can already be appreciated. It will also develop impressively in bottle over the next 15 years or so. In sum, 2019 is the completest statement to date of everything Ao Yun has aspired to be in terms of attaining the best blend achievable from this complex patchwork of vineyard sites stretched across different villages at markedly different elevations."
96 points - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate