Led last week by Pontet Canet and then Palmer yesterday leading Estates have released at 30% discount to last year’s release price, captivating the market and creating brilliant upside potential for buyers who have managed to secure an allocation. This morning sees the release of another giant, the Chateau which is arguably on the hottest run of form of any, Cos d’Estournel. St. Estephe is rumoured to be among the great villages of 2019, which often benefits in year’s born in the crucible heat and sunlight, the Cabernet Sauvignon vines basking in the sunshine and ripening to perfection. It also benefits from immediacy to the Gironde and from greater proximity to the Atlantic, creating two fronts of protection against cold and frost early on in the season and heat towards the end. As such, it comes as no surprise Cos d’Estournel 2019 is an erudite, regal wine, inducing ethereal flavours, splendid balance and notable torque; a towering accolade from a Chateau that if for a small stream separating it from Pauillac would have been a First Growth.
James Suckling and Lisa Perrotti-Brown have already released there scores. James Suckling awards it the same as 2018 with 98-99 points, calling the 2019 ‘A very powerful and structured Cos. It’s full and layered, but not overpowering in terms of fruit. It’s more about the abundant, very fine tannins. It’s a classic wine with historical grip and power. Real Bordeaux. Sophisticated and provocative.’ Lisa Perrotti-Brown gives it a score of 97-99+ saying ‘With the 2019 vintage, Dominique Arangoïts and his team managed to beautifully capture the heart and soul of Cos d’Estournel and of the 2019 vintage. I promise you, in 20, 30, 40+ years’ time, it is this incredible story that unfolds in the glass that will steal the hearts of true lovers of the vine, not a three-digit score’. It is clearly a great Cos d’Estournel in the making, however the most important news is that it has been released at a 22% discount to last year’s release price and 13% discount to the average price of any vintage scored 98 points or above from James Suckling. The price today is £1,368 per case of 12, or £684 per case of six.
Cos d’Estournel was named eponymously after Louis-Gaspard d’Estournel who inherited the Estate in 1810. He found particular success in India where his wine sold at prices far above his rivals and he became known as “the Maharaja of Saint Estephe”. To celebrate this success, he built the pagoda style property which today is still one of the most recognisable sites in Bordeaux from which their second wine Pagodes derives its name. Cos d’Estournel is an impressive wine, intense in youth with a masculine structure and concentrated fruit; it develops slowly but beautifully to release a unique perfume of incense not found in other Bordeaux wines.
Also released this morning is the superb second wine of Cos d’Estournel, which is one of the second wines of the vintage, a perennial claim of the wine. It has been awarded 94-95 points from James Suckling who says ‘This is really minerally and salty with spices, such as cloves. Full-bodied, yet tight and beautiful. Chewy, yet focused and bright. Very integrated. Hard not to drink.’ It has to be considered as one of the best value wines of the world at this price point, how do they do it? The reason for this high score is twofold; firstly, Les Pagodes de Cos comes from very similar vines as the first wine and is made with the same savoir-faire. Secondly, it derives from one of the best vintages ever. The latter point is worth further thought: In poorer vintages selection can be more severe, with more grapes going into the Second Wine and less into the first. However, in truly great vintages, most of the vines in the best parcels produce very healthy fruit, as such the Second Wines are made from first wine quality grapes. Les Pagodes de Cos is made from the same vines and exacting standards that are used to make the Grand Vin. However, Pagodes uses a smaller percentage of the Estate’s older vines and spends less time in oak with a lower percentage of new oak. One of the reasons for this is that the Pagodes is designed to be approached younger.
Some argue that Second wines should be considered as wines in their own right, they are, after all, some of the best wines in the world. However, they remain one of the best bargains in the fine wine market, priced today at £186 per case of six and at a discount of 7% to last year’s release, this is one for any collector.