EP23 Release: Cos d'Estournel 'It reminds me of a modern version of the 1990' Jeff Leve

Bordeaux Index

16 May 2024

Cos d’Estournel 2023

Today sees the release of Bordeaux's latest statement wine: Cos d'Estournel 2023.

Tasting this wine a few weeks ago, we felt it was a Cos that wonderfully finds the balance between classicism and modernity. Sleek and supple yet with ample form and structure this was a Cos out to make a statement. It was such an elegant wine, showing bags of St Estephe character and, importantly, so much ageing potential – a true Grand Vin.

“Reminiscent of old, great Cos, such as 1955 or 1982, but with so much more form and modernity.” James Suckling

From its peak high up on the St-Estèphe escarpment, it is the southernmost property in the appellation, looking down onto Lafite at the north end of Pauillac. Cos d’Estournel’s mystical eastern-inspired Château has always produced wines of exoticism and flair, power and precision. But that precision is becoming more and more focused. Since 2008, the first vintage in their state-of-the-art new winery – based on the laws of gravity, complete with four vats housed in glass lifts, removing the need for pumping the wine – there has been a notable shift in style towards a much more finessed and compact tannin structure. Indeed, the texture of the tannins in 2023 were so fine grained and layered yet with real drive and focus – there is no hint of excess on this year’s Cos.

“It's a beautifully elegant yet powerful wine in the making from this team.” Jeb Dunnuck

The estate’s ever-improving Deuxième Vin Pagodes de Cos 2023 is also available at GBP 396 per dozen. This is a serious second wine, and one which will benefit from a little time in cellar before approaching. It carries a quieter, subtler power than the Grand Vin, as you’d expect, but is nevertheless impressive. Bracingly fresh, and taut, with the signature gravelly tannins and spicy red fruit of Cos, the 2023 is a real delight – indeed, Antonio Galloni says, “with fabulous balance, Les Pagodes is exceptionally fine in 2023. The long, sustained finish is a thing of beauty.”

“I can't remember a young Cos with this much fruit concentration, yet there is nothing overdone here. I loved it.” Antonio Galloni

Add Cos d'Estournel 2023 to my cellar

Bordeaux Index En Primeur 2023

96-98pts Jeff Leve, The Wine Cellar Insider “It takes some coaxing to find the red, purple, and white floral bouquet, but it comes with swirling, along with Asian spice, smoke, tobacco, and liquorice. But, it is the palate that offers thrills with its silky, fresh, opulent textures. There is a vivid quality to the fruit, coupled with a relaxed character, finishing with black, red, and blue fruits complicated by Indian spices. It reminds me of a modern version of the 1990, with selection. The wine was made from blending 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 1% Petit Verdot, and 1% Cabernet Franc. 13% ABV, 3.75 pH. The harvest took place September 12 to September 29. This is the first vintage, since 2008 the estate green harvested. The Grand Vin was produced from 53% of the harvest. The wine is going to be approachable early in its life, yet it has the ability to age for decades. Drink from 2029-2060.”

95-97+pts Lisa Perrotti-Brown, The Wine Independent
“The 2023 Cos d'Estournel is deep garnet-purple in color. Energetic notes of cassis, wild blueberries, and fresh juicy raspberries pop from the glass, giving way to underlying hints of rose oil, black pepper, and anise. The light to medium-bodied palate is taut with tightly wound, shiny black and red berry layers, framed by firm grainy tannins and bold freshness, finishing long and minerally. The blend is 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 1% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Petit Verdot, with pH 3.75 and TPI 72.”

97pts Jane Anson, Inside Bordeaux “Step into Cos d'Estournel, with its richness, depths and layers of cocoa bean, liquorice, espresso, chocolate, exceptional chewiness on the tannins, making things fairly serious at this early stage, with a promise of slow-revealed pleasure over the decades ahead. First time doing green harvest in the vineyards since 2008, causing some worries over the late heat waves on already ripening grapes, but they have retained balanced alcohols here, and there is plenty of juice to lift things up on the finish. Harvest September 12 to 29 (last year finished September 22). 50% new oak for ageing, 53% 1st wine. In organic conversion (that began in 2021, but have had to extend after addition of a few more plots to the vineyard).”

95-97pts Antonio Galloni, Vinous
“The 2023 Cos d’Estournel is fabulous. Dark, resonant and inviting, the 2023 has so much to offer. All the elements are beautifully woven together. Black cherry, plum, licorice, espresso, mocha and incense fill out the layers. Readers will find a Cos endowed with tremendous substance and intensity. I can't remember a young Cos with this much fruit concentration, yet there is nothing overdone here. I loved it.”

94-96pts Neal Martin, Vinous
“The 2023 Cos d'Estournel, picked from September 12 to 29 and matured in 50% new oak, blossoms in the glass. The aromatics deliver nearly immediate gratification: black cherries, wild strawberries, crushed violet petals and vanilla pod. It’s all quite sumptuous but very well focused. The palate is medium-bodied with finely chiseled, slightly powdery tannins. It’s beautifully balanced with a very pure and seductive finish. This is a notably composed and assured Cos d'Estournel, almost a lesson in how less can be more. It’s only a couple of steps behind the previous vintage.”