Château Cos d’Estournel 2010
Château Cos d'Estournel stands out from the other Bordeaux châteaux in many ways. The exotic, pagoda-like architecture and ornate entryway conjure visions of distant lands in the mind’s eye. The unconventional is embraced here, and it serves this renegade Second Growth producer well. Their wines have an exotic and opulent quality yet maintain the longevity that many St-Estèphe producers possess. Though Château Cos d'Estournel was initially classified as a Second Growth in 1855 -- make no mistake, the wines of this producer consistently rival the top tier First Growths vintage after vintage.
The history of this estate begins with Louis Gaspard d’Estournel, whose love of the estate knew no bounds. He adored exotic places and designed the estate to resemble the architecture of the Orient. He saw the potential of the terroir at Château Cos d'Estournel due to the close proximity to Lafite Rothschild. He believed the terroir surrounding the estate was a viticultural goldmine and decided to snap up as many parcels of land around him that he could. Louis Gaspard d’Estournel’s devotion to the estate was almost an obsession; he would frequently drive himself into debt by acquiring parcels of land and expanded the vineyard from 14 to 45 hectares.
Under Louis’ watchful leadership, Château Cos d'Estournel did not participate in a negociant system because he loved selling wine directly to his loyal client base. He was a forward thinker and understood the importance of a global marketplace; frequently shipping his wines to foreign countries like India. Surprisingly, the long journey from France to the Far East facilitated the aging process, his wine often arrived in the various courts of the Indian kingdoms in great conditions. The terroir of Saint-Estèphe produces wines that give hints of spices, a perfect pairing with the food from India and other Far East cultures, well-known for their use of spices. The confident owner's devotion to creating quality wine paid off, earning him the title of “The Maharaja of St-Estèphe.” Unfortunately, he passed away before he could bear witness to the fruits of his labor when Château Cos d'Estournel was classified as a Second Growth in 1855.
The cellar of the estate is now a 100% gravity flow winery with wine elevators that replace pumps used in the traditional racking process. This yields a richer, more sensuous wine.
Château Cos d'Estournel is a highly versatile estate that makes both red and white wines. They stand out among many St-Estèphes due to their higher concentrations of Merlot, instead of the usual Cabernet Sauvignon. The white wines of Château Cos d'Estournel also dazzle, with their blends of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. Pagodes de Cos, their Second Wine is top notch and considered one of the best produced. Since the 1980s, Château Cos d'Estournel has catapulted into “Super Second” territory, with wines that rival First Growths. If he were alive today, Louis Gaspard d’Estournel would surely be very proud.
"The 2010 Cos d’Estournel has long been my preference over the 2009. That vintage kowtowed to the crowd and yes, to critics. The 2010 is less compromising but more intellectual. It has a scintillating, pixelated bouquet with intense black fruit, asphalt and mint aromas – vivid and bright, much more focused and certainly less flamboyant than the 2009. The palate is medium-bodied with a huge chassis; a Saint-Estèphe clearly built for the long-term with enormous grip and enthralling tension. As before, there is a liberal sprinkling of white pepper towards the finish and is exceptionally long. The 2010 is the finest Cos d’Estournel until the more finessed 2016 comes along. It is a deeply impressive wine but it will appeal more to those that prefer classic Bordeaux to one boasting tons of fruit, as pleasurable as that might be. Tasted at the Cos d’Estournel vertical in London." - Neal Martin, vinous.com, (October, 2018), Rating: 97, Drink: 2020-2060
"The 2010 is a more structured, restrained, less flamboyant version of the 2009. A final blend of 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot and the rest Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot that hit 14.5% natural alcohol, this wine (which represents only 55% of the estate's production) is full-bodied, classic and built along the lines of the 2000 (although that wine was made before Reybier acquired the estate and upgraded quality significantly). This wine exhibits beautifully pure notes of creme de cassis, blueberry liqueur, pen ink, graphite and hints of toast and vanillin. The wine is full and rich, and although aged in 80% new oak, the wood is a subtle background component. This beauty will take longer to round into shape than the dramatic and compelling 2009. Forget it for 5-8 years, and drink it over the following three-plus decades. These are two terrific wines from Cos d'Estournel. Proprietor Michel Reybier will have to continue his great success over the next decade without his top lieutenant, Jean-Guillaume Prats, who has taken another job, but the estate seems to be in superlative condition, and at the very top of its game." - Robert Parker Jr., The Wine Advocate (2/27/2013, Issue 205), Ratings: 97+, Drink: 2018-2048
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