Chateau Cos d'Estournel 2003
Bordeaux Red Blends from St. Estephe, Bordeaux, France
Winemaker's Notes"The prodigious, fantastic 2003 Cos d'Estournel is a candidate for “wine of the vintage." A blend of 68% Cabernet Sauvignon (unusually high for this chateau), 30% Merlot, and 2% Cabernet Franc, 17,500 cases were produced from low yields. An inky/blue/purple color is accompanied by a compelling perfume of black fruits, subtle smoke, pain grille, incense, and flowers. With extraordinary richness, full body, and remarkable freshness, elegance, and persistence, this is one of the finest wines ever made by this estate. The good news is that it will be drinkable at a young age yet evolve for three decades or more. Kudos to winemaker Jean-Guillaume Prats and owner Michel Reybier."
In the old Gascon language, the word ‘Cos' means ‘The Hill of Pebbles'. Appropriately named, Château Cos d'Estournel is situated on the banks of the Gironde River between Pauillac and St. Estèphe, where the property is clearly defined by the hill of Cos, reaching to a height of almost 65 feet. It is today owned by Michel Reybier, and continues to be managed by a member of the Prats family under the direction of Jean-Guillaume Prats.
70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot and 1% Cabernet Franc
James Suckling - "An intense and exotic nose with mulberries and blueberries, that give way to spices. This is wild, full-bodied and rich with a plummy/porty palate with exuberant tannins. A unique power and richness, put leave this for eight years at least."
Wine Spectator - "Gorgeous aromas of blackberry, spice and mineral. Full-bodied, with ultrafine tannins and a long, long finish. This is first-growth quality. Best after 2012"
The Wine Advocate - "Two terrific efforts from this vintage, the 2003 Cos d’Estournel (70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot and the rest Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc) remains one of the superstars of the vintage. It offers an opaque ruby/purple hue as well as notes of incense, camphor, licorice, creme de cassis and graphite. Full-bodied, opulent, incredibly fresh and well-delineated, it can be consumed now and over the next decade. Kudos to the team at Cos d’Estournel."
Wine Enthusiast - "With its aromas of new wood, spice and black fruits, this promises from the start to be a powerful, polished wine. It is dense, very ripe (from the high percentage of Merlot in the blend), but still packed with tannins. It’s a massive wine, bringing together the heat of 2003 with the big tannins of Saint-Estèphe. Imported by Diageo Chateau & Estates. "
International Wine Cellar - "Red-ruby. Knockout nose combines currant, espresso, earth and exotic spices. Wonderfully round and sweet, with outstanding volume and density. A spherical, seamless wine that saturates the entire palate. The huge but lush tannins coat the teeth. This is accessible now but has the sheer material for long aging."
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Chateau Cos d'Estournel Winery
Château Cos d'Estournel is a Grand Cru vineyard located in St. Estephe. Its oriental facade is adorned with three pagoda turrets, all cast in a soft golden sandstone. Château Cos d'Estournel today covers 170 acres separated from Château Lafite, along the southern edge, by the stream between St. Estephe and Pauillac. The gravelly soil, over a flint, limestone and silicate subsoil low in nitrogen, has eroded over centuries to form steep ridges which perfectly drain the vineyards. The vineyards are planted 60 percent in Cabernet Sauvignon vines, 2 percent of Cabernet Franc, and 38 percent in Merlot. Naturally, the percentage of Cabernet or Merlot in the composition of each vintage depends on the climate which favors one grape variety or the other. View all Chateau Cos d'Estournel Wines
About St. EstepheView a map of St. Estephe wineries (saint ess-TEFF)
St.-Estèphe is the northernmost of the 4 communes hugging the Dordogne river in the Northern Haut-Médoc area of Bordeaux. While the appellation has no premier crus (first growths) of its own, it's southernmost chateau, Cos d'Estournel, is a highly acclaimed second growth, geographically separated from the famed Lafite-Rothschild in Pauillac by only a stream. Many believe Cos d'Estournel consistently produces wine of a first growth level.
Notable FactsWine from St-Estèphe typically matures more slowly than its southern counterparts. The soil is heavy and rich with clay, leading to wines with firm, muscular tannins and high acidity. Dark and opaque in color, the wines can be a bit austere in their youth, though most get softer as they age. Cabernet Sauvignon is the primary grape in most of the region's blends, although Merlot is important in helping to soften the wines. In volume, St-Estèphe creates the most wines of the top four Haut-Médoc communes. There are quite a few Cru Bourgeois properties, which are more approachable when young and, even better, lower in price. To get a feel for St-Estèphe, look for Cru Bourgeois like Chateau Haut-Beauséjour.
About France - Other regionsWhen it comes to wine, France is a classic. Classic blends, grapes and styles began in the country and they still remain. Think about it - people ask for a Burgundian style Pinot Noir, they refer to wines as Bordeaux or Rhone blends - Champagne even had to pass a law to stop international wineries from putting their region on the label of all sparkling wine.
The top regions of France are: Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Languedoc-Roussillon, Loire, Rhone. And these regions are so diverse! It makes sense that wine regions throughout the world try to emulate their style. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah are no longer French varieties, but international varieties. They may not be the leader of cutting edge technology or value-priced wines, but there is no doubt that they are still producing wines of great quality and diversity.
Customer ReviewsSign In to Add Your Review4 }div>4 out of 5 stars
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- 4 Stars: 1
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1 rating, 1 with reviewRon Blachman - Berkeley, CA44/5/2015
Tasted in April 2015. As a second great growth Cos d'Estournel is expected to bottle only those wines which meet a high standard; they also have a history of making very substantial wines that need time. This meets those criteria but I don't think it is particularly exciting - especially considering the price of such a wine. The 2003's I've had reminds me in some ways of the 1961's and 1964's both rather hard-edged, both took a lot more time to reach maturity than I expected. By the time they were really ready the 61's (a supposed vintage of the century) were fascinating, sometimes exceptional in some respects but a bit tired, too; the 64's came around very slowly and those that didn't go funky could be astounding examples of aged claret but hey remained somewhat hard-edged even then. I don't know which way this 2003 is going. It is still too young by a decade or more. Definitely decant this wine as it is throwing a bit of sediment. It took two hours for the nose to blossom and it is complex and starting to mature but I wonder if the bouquet will mature before the wine is as round on the palate as I'd like. This wants until 2023 or later. Who knows, maybe by then it will be astounding but right now it is still rather hard and there are much better St Estephe around for less money.
- Big & Bold
Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
- Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
- Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
- Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.
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