Something about Chateau Cos d’Estournel
The superb pagodas of Cos d’Estournel sit on the heights of Saint-Estèphe. Louis-Gaspard d’Estournel, known as “The Maharajah of Saint-Estèphe”, inherited this estate. Founded in 1811, the estate is located on the Cos hillside and was gradually shaped by this visionary who went to the four corners of the world to bring his wine and to win new customers. Even today, the estate benefits from a terroir of great complexity and incredible richness. The 91-hectare vineyard is made up of a mosaic of 61 parcels that is planted with two-thirds Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest completed with Merlot, and a small proportion of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.
Since 2000, Cos d’Estournel, a Second Classified Growth of 1855, belongs to Michel Reybier. Anxious to continue the work of its founder and take a decisive technical lead, he constructed the first vinification cellar with a gravity system in 2008. From the reception of the harvest to the bottling, the whole process takes place without a single pump. This avoids excessive handling of the juice. This new technology is part of a quest for excellence in the field and it allows the handling of grapes with a greater respect. From the great terroir of Cos d’Estournel come three wines: Grand Vin Cos d’Estournel, Pagodes de Cos and Cos d’Estournel Blanc.
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Two terrific efforts from this vintage, the 2003 Cos d'Estournel (70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot and the rest Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc) remains one of the superstars of the vintage. It offers an opaque ruby/purple hue as well as notes of incense, camphor, licorice, creme de cassis and graphite. Full-bodied, opulent, incredibly fresh and well-delineated, it can be consumed now and over the next decade. Kudos to the team at Cos d'Estournel. Drink: 2014-2024
The 2003 Cos d’Estournel revels in a vintage that shone in Saint-Estèphe. In some ways it is a prototype of the 2009 however, the 2003 feels more natural, more a product of the growing season than a premeditated crowd-pleaser like the 2009. It has that almost gregarious bouquet with plush raspberry ripple, vanilla pod, crème de cassis and pencil lead aromas. As I have noted previously, it has shed a lot of baby fat in recent years, less flamboyant than in its youth. What is so surprising is the delineation evident in this wine, something that it shares with the 2003 Montrose and a virtue denuded many other Left Bank 2003s, especially in the southern Médoc. Maybe at the moment the Montrose just has the edge but that should take nothing away from one of the best 2003s you will find. Tasted at the Cos d’Estournel vertical in London. Drink 2020-2050.
Gorgeous aromas of blackberry, spice and mineral. Full-bodied, with ultrafine tannins and a long, long finish. This is first-growth quality. Best after 2012. 15,000 cases made.
Nuanced and rich and drying. Biscuity and fine but this is just a bit suppressed. Inky. Low key. Fades a bit on the finish. (Average group score: 17)