2018 Cos D'estournel
Robert Parker | 98+ RP
James Suckling | 98 JS
An incredible wine from this estate that’s as good as anything in the vintage, the 2018 Château Cos D’Estournel checks in as 74% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Petit Verdot that was brought up in 50% new French oak. While some 2018s are going to offer pleasure right out of the gate, this isn’t one of them, but rather it’s a backward, tannic powerhouse of a wine that has flawless balance as well as a level of purity that’s off the charts. Thrilling crème de cassis fruit, notes of lead pencil, damp earth, cedarwood, violets, and acacia flowers, full-bodied richness, masses of ultra-fine tannins, and a great, great finish all make for a legendary Saint-Estèphe that will need a good decade of bottle age yet evolve for 50 years or more. If you are tempted to try a bottle in its youth, it needs lots of air.
Jeb Dunnuck | 98+ JD
The 2018 Cos d’Estournel is a blend of 74% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot and 1% Cabernet Franc, aged in 50% new oak barriques. The alcohol weighs in at just over 14.5%. Sporting a deep purple-black color, it needs a lot of swirling to begin to unlock a powerful nose of crème de cassis, stewed plums, wild blueberries and chocolate-covered cherries, followed by nuances of Sichuan pepper, star anise, tree and clove oil, plus a waft of charcoal. The full-bodied palate is densely packed with taut, muscular black fruits and earthy layers, framed by super firm, ripe, grainy tannins and seamless freshness, finishing very long and wonderfully earthy. A very impressive behemoth, this is going to need a good seven to 10 years to truly show its stuff and should drink for a good 40 years and beyond.
Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 98+ RP
The 2018 Cos d’Estournel is a racy, powerful Saint-Estèphe that is going to need quite a bit of time to find its center. Today, it is tightly wound, but all the energy is there. Lush and extravagantly ripe, the 2018 possesses tremendous depth and plenty of energy to back it all up. Here, too, I found the wine a bit more expressive and giving en primeur.
Antonio Galloni | 98 AG
A little closed on the nose, and also on the attack. There is a wall of tannin here but backed up by voluptuously ripe fruits that major on damson and fig, overlaid with cinnamon and saffron spices. Lilting acidity through the finish keeps a sense of momentum. This is powerful with ambition, and it carries it off perfectly. 65% of production went into the grand vin. 1% Petit Verdot makes up the blend, and the wine was aged in 50% new oak (a little lower than the usual 60%). Drinking Window 2028 - 2045.
Decanter | 97 DEC
Big, rich and smoky in nature, with powerful fruits and dense tannins, this is a wine that is straining at the limits but still within balance. Rich, smoky flavors shine along with the black plum fruit and bright acidity. It will age for many years.
Wine Enthusiast | 96 WE
This is a bird of a different feather, with a ripe, sleek, and very polished feel as creamed loganberry, plum and boysenberry flavors spill forth, flanked for support by singed alder and incense notes, while black tea and savory threads curl around the finish. Long, showy and lovely. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Best from 2024 through 2038. 16,600 cases made.
Wine Spectator | 96 WS
Wine Details for 2018 Cos D'estournel
|Type of Wine
: Picture in your mind a combination of cedar, lead pencil, blackcurrant, plum and mineral aromatics, and texture that caresses your palate like a playful lover. The experience is thrilling from the first whiff to the final seconds of a tannic, generous finish - that is what you'll get from a Bordeaux Red
Red Bordeaux Blend
: The inhabitants of the Bordeaux region of France have been cultivating wine-grapes for thousands of years. Ancient Roman ruins litter the vineyards from Saint Emilion to Graves where the art of blending Bordeaux varietals has been practiced and perfected over a very long history. Bordeaux’s climate, terroir and soils, though varied, provide the optimal growing conditions for the red grape varietals planted in the region.
Rarely listed on the labels as “blend,” the red wines of Bordeaux are perhaps the most artfully designed and celebrated in the world. The calculated art of blending the native Bordeaux varietals is impressively accomplished in the most famous winegrowing region in the world. The phrase Bordeaux Blend which seems to have been coined by British wine merchants in the 19th Century relates as much to wines made from the blend as to the grape variety combination itself.
Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec and occasionally Carmenere are the lead characters in the creation of Red Bordeaux Blends. Each plays a part in their own fashion and implemented in various combinations and percentages in each appellation within Bordeaux. Red Bordeaux Blends are majorly composed of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, roughly making up 90% of all Bordeaux Blends. Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec (occasionally Carmenere) are also important components and vital to the production of the region’s red wines.
For simplicity, the winegrowing region of Bordeaux can be divided into three main appellations producing Red Bordeaux Blends; the Left Bank (Medoc), Right Bank and Pessac-Leognan (Graves). The Left Bank has a terroir comprised of a wide variety of gravel, stones, sand, limestone and clay soils on a natural terrain of gentle slopes. This sets the stage perfectly for the production of Cabernet Sauvignon, which is the dominant grape of the Left Bank. For example, Chateau Lafite (Paulliac) is composed of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon.
The Right Bank is dominated by clay and limestone with sand and gravel, but the clay in the Right Bank is distinctly its own and adds to the health, growth and vitality of the vines of the varietals grown here. Right Bank wines are typically 80% Merlot-based, which are often denser, richer and mature earlier than those of the Left Bank (with exceptions – Petrus for example). Merlot is a vital component to Pomerol winegrowing and making. Cabernet Franc also plays a major role in the Right Bank, most notably, in Saint Emilion, where the infamous vineyards of Chateau Ausone and Chateau Cheval Blanc are planted to 55% and 52% Cabernet Franc, respectively. Chateaux that produce wines with a majority of Cabernet Franc are considered “old school” producers, but have perfected the use of Cabernet Franc, which was originally used as a blending grape.
Pessac-Leognan (Graves) enjoys a temperate climate, natural hygrometry influenced by the ocean, and has a terroir composed of gravelly soil over a clay subsoil on sloping, hilly terrain. Natural drainage due to the hilly terrain as well as the gravelly soil structure are perfectly attuned to the Cabernet Sauvignon grape vine, which prospers under these conditions. Pessac reaps the benefits of having the terroir of both the Left and Right Bank as it contains gravel and clay. The clay sub-soil allows the growth and success of Merlot, as well as Cabernet Franc. It is home to the only First Growth not in the Medoc. The 50-hectare vineyard of Haut Brion is planted to 45.4% Merlot, 43.9% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9.7% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot.
The percentage of Petit Verdot and Malbec may be lesser in quantity, but not in quality. They are vital to the region’s creation of Red Bordeaux Blends. The combination of Bordeaux varietals is legendary in the region, around the world and has influenced winegrowers worldwide to plant and vinify wines which resemble those of Red Bordeaux Blends.
: Wine is the lifeblood that courses through the country of France, pulsing with vigorous pride and determination. Viticulture is not just a hobby or an occupation in France; it is a passion, a cherished tradition that has been passed down through generations of wine stained hands. Winemaking is a beloved art that has been ingrained in the culture, an aptitude instilled in sons by fathers and the hallmark for which France’s reputation was built, allowing it to be renowned as, arguably, the most important wine producing country in the world.
For centuries, France has been producing wines of superior quality and in much greater quantity than any other country in the world. It boasts some of the most impressive wine regions, coveted vineyards and prestigious wines on earth. The regions of Bordeaux, Burgundy, Rhone, Sauternes and Champagne have become the benchmark, for which others aspire to become. Legendary producers such as Chateaux Margaux, Domaine De La Romanee Conti, Chapoutier, d’Yquem and Dom Perignon are idolized world-wide.
France has stamped its name on nearly every style of wine, from the nectar-like sweet Sauternes to hedonistic Chateauneuf Du Papes classic Bordeaux and Burgundy, to its sparkling dominance in Champagne. Many of the most infamous grape varietals in the world, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay originated in France and are not only beloved, but utilized in the creation of some of the greatest wines on earth. French wine production commands the attention of the wine market year after year. With over 860,000 hectares under vine, and numbers close to 50 million hectoliters of wine produced annually, France dominates the market and sets the standard for not only product quality, but also quantity.
France’s many contributions to the world of wine have been absolutely indispensable. The country is the originator of the term “Premier Cru,” coined the term Terroir (a French term so complex there is no literal translation) and has laid the blueprint for a structured appellation system, which others have implemented in their own countries. French vineyard techniques and winemaking practices are mimicked world-wide. California vintners have been replicating Rhone style wines for decades, South America has adopted the French varietal of Malbec and countries around the world are imitating Burgundian styled Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
With vast diversity in terroir, France is home to some of the most hospitable winegrowing locations on earth. The combination of topography, geology, climate, rainfall and even the amount of sunlight combined with the long historical tradition of winegrowing and making, has allowed the vintners of France to not only hone their skills, but learn from nature to create a product that like the world in which it resides… is very much alive.
Chateau Cos D'estournel
: Terroir is a French term for all the natural environmental forces which affect a wine-growing region, from soil structure to each and every nuance of the climate. It is so complex that there is no English translation. It is vital to the success of vine growth and grape ripening. Wine-growers around the world take great pride in the terroir in which they are granted. This is especially true for Chateau Cos d’Estournel.
Cos d’Estournel lies at the entrance to Saint-Estephe; a village in the northern reaches of the Medoc. Ideally situated at the heart of an undulating landscape of rolling contours that serve as inspiration for its name. “Cos” is derived from the word for “hill of pebbles,” in the old Gascon dialect. Here on a plateau of deep gravel which encompasses the core of the site of both gravel and clay, while both hills sloping downward benefit respectively from eastern and southwestern exposures. The exposure along with soil type of each plot planted down to each row as well as respect for nature and environmental concerns determine the selection of grape varieties and growing techniques.
Here, the terroir dictates winegrowing. It is not the ideal to plant the varieties desired or thought to excel in the terrain but decided solely by nature. It is mastery of nature’s design with human understanding and appreciation that allows for this geographical and geological hot-bed to thrive. Merlot is found to the east where clay-limestone soils are prevalent. Cabernet Sauvignon is grown on the highest parts of the plateau, where drainage is ideal. Cos d’Estournel benefits from an unparalleled combination of soils and exposures which allows the wine to expresses itself through its unrivaled genius collaboration of human and natural contribution.
Its prized location, nestled between the Gironde Estuary and the Atlantic Ocean, is where the oceanic climate tempers the extreme weather conditions and where Louis Gaspard d’Estournel planted the seeds of the iconic chateau that we know today. Upon inheriting the property in 1791, he was deeply convinced that the terroir of the hill of cos was exceptional. He invested massively in the acquisition of neighboring lands swelling the property from 14 to 45 hectares. His passion, innovation and respect for the land and nature led to the tremendous success that Cos d’Estournel still enjoys to this day. He worked tirelessly to propel his property to top tier status. Sadly, he died in 1853 but the fruits of his labor would come to fruition when in 1855, when Cos d’Estournel was officially classified a Second Growth Bordeaux.
Today, the property is owned and operated by Michel Reybier who is committed to the same excellence implemented by the man whose name remains on the door of this exceptional estate. He was so moved by the extraordinary personality of the estate and the audacity of its founder that when looking to procure a Bordeaux property, he said that it would be “Cos and only Cos.” Since taking control in 2000, he has implemented the planting of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon, which are used to produce the Cos d’Estournel Blanc and Les Pagodes De Cos Blanc. Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot were planted to supplement Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot in the second wine, Les Pagodes De Cos. The flagship remains true to its identity and to what nature dictated, blended of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, and married on the optimal growing hill of pebbles. 32,000 cases are produced annually.