Cos d'Estournel's photo library has kindly provided this beautiful picture.
Inside the property
Cos d'Estournel is situated on the hill in Cos hamlet (lieu-dit) some 1.5 km after you pass Lafite on the road's left side (Route des Chateaux) and follow a sharply rising uphill 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 ownership changes, the most significant was the purchase of Cos by Louis-Victor Charmolüe in 1894, the owner of neighbouring Montrose. In 1917 however, he sold Cos to the Ginestet family. In 1970, the Ginestet family was joined by another branch of the Ginestet family, the Prats. Bruno Prats managed Cos d'Estournel until the change of ownership in 1998.
In 1998, Ginestet and Prats's families sold Cos to an insurance group Taillan and two 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 a 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 to more elegant, softer and more soil-reflecting ones. That new style's remained the same since 2014 vintage.
Aymeric de Gironde didn't stay long at Cos as he left for Troplong Mondot in 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 such prominent names like Vega Sicilia in Spain and Chateau de Beaucastel in Chateauneuf du Pape. Technical director Dominique Arangoïts has been at Cos since 2004.
Cos d'Estournel is 91 ha of vines, planted with 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Merlot. There are many parcels (61), among these small ones of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. The vineyard's average age is 45, but several vines are between 80 and 100 years old, and Grand Vin is made from vines with an average age of 55. The soil here is mostly gravel with large stones on the surface.
The vintages tasted below show different Cos' styles, making this property 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 many years, is excellent 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 of November 2017 in beautiful settings at Copenhagen's oldest wine merchant shop, Kjær & Sommerfeldt, created in 1875.
Cos d'Estournel 2020 (barrel sample) 98-99p
Tasted in May 2021. 62% Cabernet Sauvignon + 38% Merlot. 15% more Merlot in 2020 compared with the 2018 vintage. 13.46% alcohol. This wine is a very St.Estephe, much Cabernet Sauvignon, yet taking advantage of more Merlot in the blend. Grilled bacon, cigar box and tobacco, excellent midpalate, strong backbone, yet vibrant and juicy. Fantastic complexity and long-lasting finish. Spectacular effort.
Cos d'Estournel 2019 99-100p
Tasted twice - last time in February 2022. Consistent notes. 65% C. Sauvignon + 35% Merlot, 14% alcohol. The wine here breaks up with old-style Cos with the gentler and more soil character-oriented style, which started in 2014. Fabulous nose of blueberries and violets, flavours of tobacco leaf, grilled bacon, and graphite are typical for C. Sauvignon here. A scent of black winter truffle on the palate. Extremely refined and sophisticated on the nose and palate, multilayered with stunning complexity, depth and length. Touch down!!
Cos d'Estournel 2018 99-100p
Tasted three times - last time in December 2020. Consistent notes. 74% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot hit "bull's eye" in 2018! It's an extraordinary effort, iron-strong backbone, very concentrated and could be sliced in tranches, so fat are fruit and tannin. Creamy. There is elegance, sophisticated touch, astonishing complexity, style, and long, long finish. Wow! 14.59% alcohol (well-hidden by fruit), only 50% new barrels. All the wonderful promises from the barrel are now evident in the bottle!
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 and 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 imposing with no over-extraction, 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 was intense, fat and creamy on the palate and had a lot of oak. This wine displayed great complexity and a long finish.
Cos d'Estournel 2014 97p
Tasted in April 2018. It displayed a classic Bordeaux style, firm, tight, lot of fruit and tannin. Great acidity, impressive depth and finish.
Cos d'Estournel 2013 92p
Tasted in April 2014. 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. A lovely effort for the vintage and clever winemaking.
Cos d'Estournel 2011 94p
Tasted in September 2019. Powerful wine in classic Saint-Estephe style. The funny thing was that Jean-Guillaume Prats, manager of Cos, didn't overdo and over-extract this wine as he did to some extent with 2010. It's a cold climate wine with rough edges and rusticity. But don't be fooled - there are many good things to wait for. Huge concentration, depth, complexity and length.
Cos d'Estournel 2010 96p
Tasted in May 2013. Black fruit en masse and alcohol (cherry vodka) are very evident on the nose and palate, compelling wine with fat fruit and tannin. The fruit is on the border of over-ripeness, and this wine is hugely massive and imho not typical of Bordeaux. Close to Napa Valley style. Either you like it, or you hate it. I've to be neutral here and 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. This wine is well-made with fresh acidity, lovely balance, and a round finish despite lack of maturity. 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, much Saint Estephe style. Petit Verdot gives her backbone injection to the wine. Lovely balance and length.
Cos d'Estournel 2005 98+p
Tasted in November 2017. 78% C.Sauvignon + 19% Merlot + 3% C.Franc. Creamy wine, sweet and fat on the nose and palate. Extraordinary complexity and sophisticated touch. Exceptional balance and length. Just stunning wine, and it gives a 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. It, however, doesn't have the power and intensity of 2005 and 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, intense yet elegant, well matured 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 different style here than in previous vintages - very much Saint-Estephe. It keeps exceptionally well, fine acidity, strong backbone and great length, juicy and sappy, the scent of tobacco leaves and forest floor. It was a great effort indeed.
Cos d'Estournel 1985 96p
Tasted in November 2015. A noticeable scent of yoghurt, powerful, spicy with truffles, sappy, firm structure and backbone, lovely 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. The 1975 vintage hasn't an excellent reputation on Left Bank; many wines are too heavy and dry. I could feel the same soil flavours in 1975 Cos d'Estournel as in the 1925 version, added graphite and roundness, but this wine was without the 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. Excellent dark colour for a 62-year-old wine. Stunning nose of red fruit with great distinction and intensity. Yoghurt tones. Great complexity, power and elegance. Great length. Sheer delight! This wine was bought en primeur and has been stored all its life in Kjær & Sommerfeldt's cellars. Fantastic experience. Twenty 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 start, I was seduced by the catchy aroma of raspberry drops on the nose. An incredibly delicious wine with a lot of fresh raspberry fruit on the palate and sweetness. Great in everything. Many years are left in this wine. It's a 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. It was slightly tart on the palate, but the balance didn't suffer much. Quite elegant. A wine with big belief.
Cos d'Estournel 1925 93p
Tasted in October 2015, blind, during dinner at Domaine de Chevalier. It was a great wine bottle with truffles, remarkable elegance and finesse, and well-balanced and fine length. There were different guesses, but they were all wrong, and when Olivier Bernard revealed that this wine was Cos d'Estournel 1925, we were amazed. An achievement perfectly fits in the 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.