Wine Spectator 92 points - I do not understand the critics of Alain Vautier, who now has sole control of Ausone and is taking the estate's quality to a higher level. Moreover, the wine is consistent, with great depth and richness on the mid-palate, without sacrificing Ausone's 40-50+ years of longevity. As I suspected, the 1996 is beginning to shut down. I left it in the glass for nearly 30 minutes and was impressed with the nuances that developed. The color is a dense ruby/black/purple. Reluctant aromas of blueberries, blackberries, minerals, flowers, truffles, and subtle new oak eventually emerge. Elegant on the attack, with sweet ripeness, and a delicate, concentrated richness, the hallmark of this wine is subtlety rather than flamboyance. A sweet mid-palate sets it apart from many of the uninspiring Ausones of the eighties and seventies. The wine is stylish, and presently understated, with tremendous aging potential. Anticipated maturity: 2008-2040.
"Full red-ruby. Exotic aromas of black cherry, cassis, minerals, smoke, clove and mint. Thick with extract, but with Ausone classic restrained sweetness and mineral backbone. Sound acidity gives the flavors superb clarity and grip. Finishes with extremely persistent, subtle fruit and noble, palate-saturing tannins. Extraordinarily fine for a right-bank wine from this vintage." - Stephen Tanzer 93 points