The wines at Cos are characterised by exceptional balance and purity in 2019. The reds are very impressive indeed. Château Cos d’Estournel itself is fabulous, with real precision and focus. It displays great length and the tannins are super refined, with impressive texture. This is a St Estèphe that is evidently nudging perfection. Pagodes de Cos has lively plum and black cherry fruit tones and shows much refinement. The whites too look very good. They are more full-bodied than usual and weigh in at 14.4% alcohol – fractionally above the reds – but still retain freshness. This is the fifteenth white wine vintage here, and Cos blanc comes from a set of vineyards adjacent to the Gironde in the Médoc. Talking of Médoc, 2019 is also a very good vintage for Goulée. It is positive and energetic with a distinctively silky aspect. Overall bravo to Michel Reybier and his team led by technical director Dominque Arangoits.
A baker’s dozen from Pauillac feels a sufficiently good cross section from which to draw conclusions. And on the basis of these, Pauillac has had a pretty sensational year in 2019. Stylistically the very top wines feel like a combination of 2009 and 2010, with a fraction less extraction and even greater emphasis on purity. I’ve already posted individually on remarkable wines from Château Pichon Lalande and Château Pichon Baron but exceptional Pauillacs have also been made at Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste and Château Batailley. These are real crowd pleasers in 2019. Both châteaux have extremely popular followings and have been well priced too in this release campaign. Batailley continues its run of great form across the decade. It has finesse, sophistication and purity. Grand-Puy-Lacoste is a real treat. It has wonderful fruit and texture. Surely ‘GPL’ remains the best value fine wine in all Bordeaux? Talking of value, do consider Château Fonbadet and Château Pibran in 2019. Both have produced impressive wine. Other successes include Château Lynch-Moussas and Château Grand-Puy Ducasse. 2019 is also a good vintage to consider so called ‘second wines’ by the looks of it. Lacoste Borie from Grand-Puy-Lacoste is wonderful, Pichon Lalande’s Reserve was knockout and Les Tourelles de Longueville and Les Griffions from Pichon Baron also impressed.
Wow! Château Pichon Comtesse de Lalande is certainly one of the wines of 2019. It may very well become the wine of the vintage. The grand vin is extraordinarily compelling. It has fabulous levels of concentration and extract but isn’t the slightest bit heavy or overdone and tastes firmly of Pauillac. And while it weighs in at over 14%, it remains fresh and energetic. The tannins are suave and remarkably supple. Winemaker Nicolas Glumineau describes it as a ‘miracle’ wine. For him, his top benchmark previously was the 2010 vintage, but Glumineau feels he now has reached a new level in his own winemaking experience. “2019 is my personal benchmark now. Everything is in balance. There is great concentration but no heaviness. The juice was thick, full of flesh, but not in the bodybuilder sense, the fruit was fresh but not at all jammy.” If the grand vin is terrific Pauillac, Pichon Lalande’s ‘Reserve’ is also very impressive. It represents 50% of the overall crop at Pichon Lalande and was very competitively priced on release. Exciting wines here for sure. I’ll report later on Château de Pez, under the same ownership, in a later post on St Estèphe.
If 2019 is a Cabernet year, and the conditions certainly favoured the Cabernets, then there is no greater expression of this variety than in Pauillac. The Pichons – Château Pichon Baron and Château Pichon Comtesse de Lalande – make for intriguing comparisons each year, competitors set opposite one another over the D2 on the outskirts of the town of Pauillac itself. Château Pichon Baron has produced a thrilling wine in 2019. It is surely the equal of the wines made here in 2009 and 2010. There is power and purity to the Grand Vin and it has the most fine-grained tannins. It is stunning. There are two additional wines that come from this seventy-three hectare estate, Les Tourelles de Longueville, which traditionally is Merlot dominant, and the new Les Griffons de Pichon Baron, more evenly split between Cabernet and Merlot. They represent twenty-eight and twenty-three percent respectively of the estate’s production. Both look very promising in 2019. Château Pibran is the other property AXA Millésimes own in Pauillac. It has produced a wonderfully fresh and appetizing wine which should be on everyone’s radar given the price.