Château Cos d'Estournel 2011
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 2011 Cos d’Estournel exhibits a dense ruby/purple color and sweet, toasty, oaky notes intermixed with floral and forest floor characteristics. The complex aromatics suggest this is a top success in 2011. In the mouth, the wine is slightly more compact than one would find in a great vintage, such as 2009 and 2010, but it has impressive richness for the vintage as well as light to moderate tannin and admirable purity. It will benefit from 2-5 years of cellaring, and should keep for 15-20 years. Only 30% of the production was utilized for Cos D’Estournel, a blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc." - Robert Parker Jr., The Wine Advocate (4/29/2014, Issue 212), Ratings: 91, Drink: 2016-2036
"Powerful, very rich and very concentrated, this epitomizes the opulent style of Cos d'Estournel. A sense of extraction is overwhelmed by the huge, ripe fruit. It shows velvet texture at first, but then the tannins come on strongly, leaving a wine that will age over many years. Drink from 2022." - Roger Voss, The Wine Enthusiast (5/2014), Ratings: 94
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