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Bordeaux 2016: Château Cos d’Estournel

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

Cos has done it again. Following on from a successful 2015 [in what was actually a pretty tricky vintage for St Estèphe], 2016 is perhaps the most successful vintage here since the fabulous 2010. As ever the precision is exceptional. The wine is defined by a wonderful seam of bright, voluptuous fruit. There are many layers to the palate and the tannins are beautifully refined. The balance overall is exceptional. This is potentially epic Cos in a new sense. Pagodes de Cos [some 55% of the estate’s production] also looks very good in 2016, in a vintage that is clearly very successful for St Estèphe. Finesse and harmony are the hallmarks again here.

The technical team at Château Cos d’Estournel described an atypical year, with significant rain in the early growing season. Over 400mm of rain fell in the first three months of the year, rain which continued into March. Flowering occurred in remarkably good conditions in June before the summer sun and drought set in. A brief spell of rain in early August helped spur veraison. Cool nights complimented the warm days, helping the grapes retain aromatic freshness. Further rainfall [as everywhere else] on September 13 helped final tannin ripening. The harvest occurred in very good conditions. Picking started on September 26 at Cos, finishing on October 15.

The results speak for themselves. 2016 has delivered exceptional balance to the red wines at Cos – it is a beautiful vintage here. The winemaking has also shifted somewhat since the heady days of Cos 2009 and that’s no bad thing. The wines this year sit very happily at smidgen above 13%. It shows just how far freshness, beautiful fruit and top quality of the tannin can take you, a product of both the wonderful Cos terroir but also the winemaking savoir-faire.

Cos Blanc also looks fresh and zesty with lots of zap and zing. It is Bordeaux’s most northernmost white wine made up in the Médoc coastal area. The vineyards are close to those of La Goulée [notes on that appetizing red a bit later….]. Analysis on the comparatively modest approach to pricing of Château Cos d’Estournel this year [released at 120 euros a bottle, same as 2015] can be found here on the Liv-Ex site.

The notes on the following wines were taken at Cos on Monday 3 April, 2017. Hope you find them useful.

Pagodes de Cos, St Estèphe, 2016

Mid depth; glossy looking; earthy purple at edge; mineral quality to the plum fruit; cherry but perfumed again; more emphasis on the cherry; precise; attractive; cool entry; precision and polish; black cherry; nicely poised and composed. [50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 46.5% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot, 0.5% Cabernet Franc, 13.02% alc, TA 3.3, pH 3.61, IPT 65, 30% new oak; represents 55% of production]. Tasted 3/4/17. Drink 2023-2036. 93-95+

Château Cos d’Estournel, Grand Cru Classé, St Estèphe, 2016

Deep and saturated colour; opaque at core; beautiful; really precise; lovely seam of tight fruit; black cherry, some graphite; beautiful plum tones; layers of flavour; voluptuous, supple and remarkably deep; a new ‘epic’ here in fact; smoky characters; lovely fruit purity and length; really polished and refined. [76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot, 1% Cabernet Franc, 13.07% alc, TA 3.3, pH 3.66 IPT 69 60% new oak; 45% of production]. Tasted 3/4/17. Drink 2024-2045. 96-100

Château Cos d’Estournel Blanc, Bordeaux Blanc, 2016

Pale straw and green; very steely; mineral, oyster shell; saline notes; fruity zappy and nice acidity on the palate; lovely tension. Excellent. [75% Sauvignon Blanc, 25% Sémillon, 12.75% alc TA 4.5, pH 3.11; 5000 bottles produced]. Tasted 3/4/17. Drink 2020-2026. 92-94+


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