This beautiful picture has been kindly provided by Cos d'Estournel's photo library
Inside the property
Cos d'Estournel is situated on the hill in Cos hamlet (sector) just when you enter Saint-Estephe commune, some 1.5 km after you pass Lafite on the left side of the road (Route des Chateaux) via sharp uphill road on your way to Saint-Estephe. The name Cos which means "hill of pebbles" in Gasconian dialect, was given by its first owner, Louis Gaspard d'Estournel in 1810. After several changes of ownership, of which the most significant was the purchase of Cos by Louis-Victor Charmolüe in 1894, owner at that time of neighbouring Montrose. In 1917 however, he sold Cos to Ginestet family. In 1970, the Ginestet family was joined by another branch of Ginestet family, Prats and these combined holdings were managed by Bruno Prats.
In 1998, Ginestet and Prats families sold Cos to an insurance group Tailan and 2 years later, an entrepreneur, Michel Reybier purchased it. He appointed Jean-Guillaume Prats (son of Bruno Prats) as a general manager/winemaker. Jean-Guillaume Prats was responsible for great uprise in the quality and change to heavy, extracted and modern styled wine.
He left in 2013 and was replaced by Aymeric de Gironde and with his arrival, the style has changed from extracted and modern wines towards a more elegant, softer and more soil reflecting ones. 2016s here suits perfectly the latter style!
Aymeric de Gironde didn't stay long at Cos as he left for Troplong Mondot at the end of 2017. The owner, Michel Reybier, has taken then over managing duties. Consulting oenologist here is Pascal Chatonnet from Lalande de Pomerol, who among his clients has so prominent names like Vega Sicilia in Spain and Chateau de Beaucastel in Chateauneuf du Pape.
Cos d'Estournel is 91 ha of vines, planted with 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Merlot. There are quite many parcels (61) and among these small ones of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. The average age of the vineyard is 45 years, but there are several vines between 80-100 years old. Grand Vin is made from vines with an average age of 55 years. The soil here is mostly gravel with large stones on the surface.
The vintages listed below show different styles of Cos and this makes this property so incredibly interesting to follow. Especially the mix of power and elegance is thrilling! The competition between two Saint-Estephe giants, Cos d'Estournel and Montrose, vintage for vintage, which we've seen for so many years, is great to watch.
In addition to Grand Vin, a second wine Pagodes de Cos, white Cos d'Estournel and Goulée by Cos d'Estournel (mostly Merlot from Nothern Medoc) are produced.
Several vintages listed below were tasted on the 29th November 2017 in beautiful settings at Copenhagen's oldest wine merchant shop, Kjær & Sommerfeldt, created in 1875.
Cos d'Estournel 2019 (barrel sample) 98-100p
Tasted in June 2020. 65% Cabernet Sauvignon + 35% Merlot, 14% alcohol, 55% new oak. Wow, this is real, real enjoyment for one's senses! I think 2019 here definitively breaks up with old-style Cos and continues with the gentler and more soil character-oriented style which started since 2014 vintage. Max. 27 degrees C during alcoholic fermentation. Excellent presence of cigar box, tobacco-leaf and scent of grilled bacon, so typical aromas for Cabernet Sauvignon here. Extremely refined and sophisticated on the nose and palate, multi-layered with stunning complexity, depth and length. Touch down!!
Cos d'Estournel 2018 (barrel sample) 99-100p
Tasted twice - last time in September 2019. Consistent notes. 74% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot, really did hit "bull's eye" in 2018! A true monster, big, iron-strong backbone, very concentrated and could be sliced in tranches, so fat are fruit and tannin. Even though, there is elegance, sophisticated touch, fabulous complexity, style and long, long finish. Wow! 14.59% alcohol (well-hidden by fruit), only 50% new barrels.
Cos d'Estournel 2017 (barrel sample) 97-98p
Tasted in April 2018. 66% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot, 1% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot. Tight, strong well-balanced, aromatic, great acidity, refined and sophisticated. Great structure and depth. Long, long finish. Immensely impressive.
Cos d'Estournel 2016 (barrel sample) 97+p
Tasted in April 2017. This wine was very impressive with no over-extraction whatsoever, elegant, finesse and sophisticated, silky fruit and tannin which is the hallmark of the vintage, great acidity and fabulous length. Stunning effort.
Cos d'Estournel 2015 98p
Tasted in April 2018. This wine acted strong, fat and creamy on the palate and had a lot of oak too. Great complexity and a long finish.
Cos d'Estournel 2014 97p
Tasted in April 2018. It displayed a classic Bordeaux style, strong, tight, lot of fruit and tannin. great acidity, impressive depth and finish.
Cos d'Estournel 2013 92p
Tasted in April 2014. This wine was made in a modern style but I couldn't find any over-extraction in it. Aromatic and tasty cherries on the nose and palate, mineral with fine acidity, long meaty aftertaste. Really nice effort for the vintage and clever winemaking.
Cos d'Estournel 2011 94p
Tasted in September 2019. Strong and powerful wine in classic Saint-Estephe style. Funny thing was, that Jean-Guillaume Prats, manager of Cos at that time, didn't overdo and over-extract this wine as he did to some extent with 2010. This is really a cold climate wine with rough edges and rusticity. But don't be fooled - there is a lot of good things to wait for. Big concentration, depth, complexity and length.
Cos d'Estournel 2010 96p
Tasted in May 2013. Black fruit en masse but also alcohol (cherry vodka) very, very evident on the nose and palate, extremely powerful wine on the palate with really fat fruit and tannin. The fruit is on the border of over-ripeness and this wine is extremely massive and imho not at all typical Bordeaux. Close to Napa Valley style. Either you like it or you hate it. I've to be neutral here and I can't abstract from the fact that this is high-quality wine.
Cos d'Estournel 2009 98p
Tasted in November 2017. 65% C.Sauvignon + 33% Merlot + 2% C.Franc. Creamy and aromatic nose of black fruit with the scent of yoghurt, distinguished and intense. Great acidity, extremely complex and very long on the palate. Silky with great elegance. Absolutely nothing to complain about here. Perfect modern Bordeaux with style. One to enjoy over many years to come.
Cos d'Estournel 2007 89p
Tasted in November 2017. 85% C.Sauvignon + 12% Merlot + 3% C.Franc. Difficult vintage, especially for Merlot, that's why there is more C.S. in the blend. Despite lack of maturity, this wine is a nicely made with fresh acidity, nice balance and round finish. Should keep for another 6-10 years.
Cos d'Estournel 2006 93p
Tasted in November 2017. 78% C.Sauvignon + 20% Merlot + 2% P.Verdot. Rare inclusion of Petit Verdot in the blend. Potent on the nose and palate, juicy, graphite, tobacco, stylish, very Saint Estephe style. Petit Verdot gives here backbone injection to the wine. Fine balance and length.
Cos d'Estournel 2005 98+p
Tasted in November 2017. 78% C.Sauvignon + 19% Merlot + 3% C.Franc. Really creamy wine, sweet and fat on the nose and palate. Extraordinary complexity and sophisticated touch. Exceptional balance and length. Just stunning wine. Gives 2009 run for the money!
Cos d'Estournel 2004 94p
Tasted in November 2017. 74% C.Sauvignon + 23% Merlot + 3% C.Franc. Delicate on the nose, black fruit, yoghurt scent, quiet and coolish. Splendid backbone, depth and length. Impeccably made wine, which doesn't have the power and intensity than 2005, but shows more elegance.
Cos d'Estournel 2003 94p
Tasted twice - last time in November 2017. Not consistent notes. 68% C.Sauvignon + 30% Merlot + 2% C.Franc. Truffles, strong yet elegant, well matured, elegant and with a round finish. 2003 was a vintage experiencing very high temperatures (+40 degrees C in August) and wines from this vintage won't keep for many years. I tasted this wine 5-6 years ago (2012) and it was fresher and younger.
Cos d’Estournel 1986 95p
Tasted in November 2017. 68% C.Sauvignon + 30% Merlot + 3% C.Franc. A clearly different style here than in previous vintages - very much Saint-Estephe. Keeps extremely well, fine acidity, strong backbone and great length, juicy and sappy, the scent of tobacco leaves and forest floor. Great effort indeed.
Cos d’Estournel 1985 96p
Tasted in November 2015. An obvious scent of yoghurt, strong and powerful, spicy with truffles, sappy, big structure and backbone, great balance, complexity, depth and length. Motherf….. of wine, so potent and full of life, give it 20+ years more!
Cos d'Estournel 1975 88p
Tasted in October 2015, blind, during dinner at Domaine de Chevalier. 1975 vintage hasn't a great reputation on Left Bank, many wines are too heavy and dry. I could feel same soil flavours in 1975 Cos d'Estournel as in 1925 version added graphite and roundness, but this wine was without elegance and finesse of 1925.
Cos d’Estournel 1955 99p
Tasted in November 2017. Cork in ridiculously fantastic shape, promising that this wine will deliver. An amazing dark colour for a 62 years old wine. Stunning nose of red fruit with great distinction and intensity. Yoghurt tones. Fabulous complexity, power and elegance. Great length. Sheer delight! This wine was bought en primeur and has been stored all its entire life in the cellars of Kjær & Sommerfeldt. Fantastic experience. 20 years more at least - I'm pretty sure of that!
Cos d'Estournel 1952 97p
Tasted in November 2017. Danish bottling by Kjær & Sommerfeldt. Served blind in pair with Montrose 1952. I guessed this wine to be 1953 and from Saint-Estephe. From the very start, I was seduced by the catchy aroma of raspberry drops on the nose. An extremely delicious wine with a lot of fresh raspberry fruit on the palate and sweetness. Great in everything. Many years left in this wine. The stunning effort here.
Great pair of blasts from the past!!
Cos d'Estournel 1929 95p
Tasted in March 2019, blind, during dinner at Domaine de Chevalier. Fine old wine with the delicious aroma of truffles, sophisticated with great elegance and finesse. A real treat!
Cos d'Estournel 1928 92p
Tasted in November 2002. This wine displayed very ripe fruit with aromas of chocolate and cocoa. A bit tart on the palate but the balance didn't suffer much. Quite elegant. A wine with fine confidence.
Cos d'Estournel 1925 93p
Tasted in October 2015, blind, during dinner at Domaine de Chevalier. It was a great bottle of wine with truffles, remarkable elegance and finesse, well-balanced and fine length. There were different guesses, but all wrong and when Olivier Bernard revealed, that this wine was Cos d'Estournel 1925, we all were much surprised. What an achievement which perfectly fits in often used phrase - "there are only great bottles, not great vintages"!
Cos d'Estournel 1918 92p
Tasted in November 2018. Very elegant and refined with a sophisticated touch. Light on the palate and it tastes better than it is on the nose. Anyway, there’s nothing to be disappointed about here, as this wine still keeps well for its age. Chateau bottled.