Three decades of Cos d'Estournel

Posted by Lukasz Kolodziejczyk on 26 May 2016

Three decades of Cos d'Estournel


It’s fascinating how the wines of Bordeaux mature and evolve for the better, and we were very lucky to experience this journey firsthand on a Wednesday in mid-May with Dimitri Augenblick, development director of Chateau Cos d’Estournels and well-known ‘best-dressed man in Bordeaux’.


This particular chateau is located in the St. Estephe appellation of Bordeaux, known for being the largest and northernmost appellation on the Left Bank of Bordeaux. It’s worth noting that this region produces more Merlot than any other. Compared to say, Pauillac, St. Estephe’s wines are more aromatic and fuller with a firm structure based on black fruit and spice with a hint of sweetness.


Cos has an illustrious history, painted largely by Louis Gaspard d’Estournel whose passion for horse and boats trading with the Middle East explains the oriental arches and towers around the property. Wines didn’t appear in Cos until 1810 but were rapidly expanded in 1820 when Cos acquired a number of adjoining properties. Today, the estate is 91 hectares under wine.


We were very fortunate to taste three vintages – 10, 20 and 30 years old – and I was very impressed with their consistency.


Wine 1

2006 Cos d'Estournel

A medium+ intense ruby core fading towards a light ruby core. The wine offers spicy aromatics with red peppercorn and cracked rock surrounded by ripe fruit such as raspberries, dark plums and blackcurrant. The palate is spicy and dense with fruit playing an excellent balancing role bringing roundness and freshness. Tannins are dry and rich, bringing lots of depth and dimension to the wine.


Generally speaking, 2006 was for a long time known to be rather inaccessible, but at this point they’ve become incredibly exciting wines with personality.



Wine 2

1996 Cos d'Estournel

Medium ruby core fading to a mahogany rim. The wine boasts a bouquet of stewed plums and cherries with balsamic highlighted by pencil shavings and cedar. There is a distinct yet subtle note of mint intermixed with clove and dry earth. The nose is attractive, and the palate brings an action of all the above with excellent proportion, refreshed just the right amount to drive this wine to an intense and deep finish.


I call the 1996 a ‘double bubble’. It’s great now, but has aging potential for another 10-20 years. Will it get even better? I think so. I expect this wine will become a little more nuanced and rounder with time.



Wine 3

1986 Cos d'Estournel

A mahogany/ruby core fading towards a light mahogany rim. The nose has an excellent maturity with welcoming aromas of coffee, undergrowth and pepper with dry plums and ripe black cherry. There is lots of roasted herb aromas mixed with earthy spice and Asian nuances, such as fish oil. The palate feels developed and intense, and a freshness and integration of all the flavours on the palate makes this wine very drinkable.


This vintage is, for me, a testament to the greatness of Bordeaux, achieving a plateau of full maturity with the ability to remain there for another 20-30 years.



This was an excellent opportunity to taste Bordeaux at its best from a bottle at the chateau, and with this in mind we’re offering these vintages individually, as well as in mixed-case format. Please contact for more information and prices.


As ever, the quote:

“Good wine is a necessity of life for me” – Thomas Jefferson


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