2020 Château Cos d'Estournel, Saint-Estèphe
£900 IB per case of 6x75cl EP
96-98 pts WA, 97 pts Decanter, 95-97 pts NM
Cos d'Estournel is a vineyard and winery in the Saint-Estèphe appellation of the Médoc. In the 1855 Classification, it was classified as a second growth and remains one of the most prominent and sought-after of all Bordeaux wines. Historically, the Cabernet Sauvignon-dominant grand vin has had a high percentage of Merlot compared with other Médoc growths, although this has lessened in recent years. Cos d'Estournel is dark, brooding and tannic when young, developing complexity and intensity with time.
The estate is situated in the very south of Saint-Estèphe, just north of Pauillac's Lafite Rothschild. The south-facing vineyard slopes gently down to the Jalle du Breuil stream which separates it from Lafite. In old Gascon, "cos" means "hill of pebbles", and the vineyard does consist of deep Quaternary gravels and clay on limestone bedrock. It covers 91 hectares (225 acres) and is planted 60 percent to Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest Merlot.
To celebrate 20 years since Michel Reybier acquired Cos D'Estournel, the 2020 has been specially bottled in a flacon.
The 2020 Cos d'Estournel is composed of 62% Cabernet Sauvignon and 38% Merlot. The harvest took place September 10–24 with a yield of 39 hectoliters per hectare. The alcohol weighs in at 13.46% with a pH of 3.9 and an IPT (total phenolic index) of 80. It is being aged in French oak barrels, 55% new. Deep purple-black in color, it pops with explosive scents of ripe red and black currants, black cherry preserves and black raspberries, followed by sparks of violets, wild sage, pencil lead and clove oil, with emerging hints of iron ore and damp soil. The medium-bodied palate has amazing elegance and grace contrasted by jaw-dropping energy, featuring a firm frame of finely grained tannins and just enough freshness, finishing with a whole firework display of mineral nuances. I love the way this Cos d'Estournel shimmies and shines—a unique vintage signature expressed so beautifully at this estate! 96-98 points Lisa Perrotti-Brown, WA
You need to take a little time to let the concentrated flavours seep out, this is a long hauler. The tannins build slowly but surely through the palate, sombre and serious right now, particularly for an estate that is known for its exuberance. The opulence is there if you give it time, and as the tannins elongate and relax, richer notes of bilberry fruits, toasted cedar, salted chocolate, turmeric and black pepper spice arrives. Harvest September 10 to 24. A 3.9pH is the highest since 2003, but any threat of low acidity is balanced by high tannins, and relatively low alcohol. A yield of 39hl/ha (43hl/ha in 2019). 97 points Jane Anson, Decanter
The 2020 Cos d’Estournel is a very different proposition to the Les Pagodes, more so than in other years. Much more intense on the nose of intense black fruit, it is beautifully defined, with enticing scents of blackberry, Dorset plum and topnotes of blueberry and briar. After 30 minutes in the glass, it develops more Saint-Estèphe-like traits: freshly tilled soil, cigar box and touches of warm gravel. There is an openness to these inviting aromatics. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannins (so different from the "iron girders" of yore). There is freshness and a sense of light in this Cos d’Estournel, though the backbone remains in situ on the cedar and mint finish (a nod to neighboring Pauillac, perhaps), then a lingering marine/seaweed note on the aftertaste. This is a finely crafted, very succinct Cos d’Estournel that may well be hiding something up its sleeve for after bottling, and I suspect it will gain more spine during its barrel aging. 95-97 points Neal Martin, Vinous
Subject to allocation, final confirmation and remaining unsold.