Jean-Guillaume Prats got into a lot of trouble last year with his 2009 Cos d’Estournel. Some critics thought it was over-the-top, too alcoholic and far too much of a good thing. Others, Robert Parker included, thought it close to perfection. For me the wine tasted last November looked brilliant. The 2010 is, in fact, identical in alcoholic content to 2009, but it does manage a little more freshness and grip – though that is relative.
2010 Cos is an extremely fine wine, saturated in colour, flavour and concentration. It has great depth and purity and conceals a lot of very ripe and expertly managed tannin. It feels very complete and doesn’t feel warm at all. It is clearly of first growth quality. Remarkably, in a vintage that has shown a lot of hard edges, with quite a lot of angular and very structured wines, Cos remains very polished and sleek.
There is an apparent hint of warmth on the second wine, Les Pagodes de Cos, in fact less alcoholic than the grand vin, and it has the same acid and pH parameters. I imagine it must be the concentration of the grand vin that conceals the alcohol. How misleading the statistics are. Nevertheless Cos is almost a full degree more alcoholic than arch rival Chateau Montrose, St Estephe’s other de-facto premier cru. With these two wines it’s a case of chalk and cheese. More on Montrose next.
The season at Cos was pretty much the same as everywhere else in the northern Medoc. The unsettled weather during flowering affected the Merlot, lowering yields and the months of July, August and September were very dry. The harvest spanned September 27 to October 3 for the Merlot, October 5 to 10 for the Cabernet Sauvignon. The Cabernet Franc was picked on October 6. The yields were 38 hl/ha. Cos d’Estournel itself represents 55% of the production, the remainder going into the second wine Les Pagodes de Cos.
Goulee, a Médoc, was also shown and should represent good value for money. It is a sophisticated wine with the Prats stamp, very strong on Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend [80%] and feels fresh, layered and complete. Yields here were even lower at 30 hl/ha.
The following wines were tasted at Chateau Cos d’Estournel on Tuesday 5th April 2011:
Chateau Cos d’Estournel
Deep sublimated look; legs; ripe, plush and very seductive nose; layered and intense aroma – bodes well; real ripeness and density here, some mineral, black fruits too – ripe and very attractive on the nose; quite satiny palate; intense and full but also focused; real concentration in the mid-palate. Tannins extremely well managed. Some grip at the end which makes it feel very complete. Real length. Very first growth. 96-98+/100 [78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot. 14.5 alc, IPT 91, pH 3.5] Tasted at the Cos 5th April 2011.
Les Pagodes de Cos
Deep, thick and concentrated look; legs; thick and ripe, some marzipan hints, very ripe nose; minerals and stone too; creamy note to the nose; thick palate, ripe, precise; some tar, this is very concentrated in feel. Lots of ripe tannin. Some warmth on the finish. 92-94+/100 [62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 38% Merlot alc 14.13% IPT 73 pH3.51] Tasted at Cos d’Estournel 5th April 2011.
Goulee by Cos d’Estournel
Deep and dense, saturated; legs; ripe fruit, quite thick and strong in feel, fat too; very precise palate, layers and focus; some freshness too, feels complete; very well mannered, dense and intense on the palate, very good. Nicely handled palate and fine tannin – polished. 88-90+/100 [80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot alc 13.74 pH 3.52, IPT 79] Tasted at Cos d’Estournel 5th April 2011