This morning sees the release of another giant, the Chateau which is arguably on the hottest run of form of any, Cos d’Estournel. The 2020 release is a truly exceptional expression of the vintage with Lisa Perrotti-Brown of The Wine Advocate admiring, “I love the way this Cos d’Estournel shimmies and shines—a unique vintage signature expressed so beautifully at this estate!”. Perrotti-Brown awards it with a stellar score of 96-98 points praising the wine’s “amazing elegance and grace contrasted by jaw-dropping energy”. James Suckling grants it 97-98 points: “This is a very refined, polished Cos with superb finesse and length”, while Jeb Dunnuck notes, “It stays tight, focused, and seamless, and is a brilliant example of the vintage.” Offering the signature 2020 vintage freshness, paired with ripe tannins and an impeccable balance, this is certainly a wine to hold, as described by Neal Martin of Vinous Media, “This is a finely crafted, very succinct Cos d’Estournel that may well be hiding something up its sleeve for after bottling, and I suspect it will gain more spine during its barrel aging.”
The release price today is £900 per case of six or £1,800 per 12 IB. This year Cos d’Estournel has been released with a special label designed to celebrate Michel Reybier’s two decades at the helm of the Estate. The unique pagoda-inspired Cos D’Estournel palace is painted in gold on the black background. The exquisite design along with the exceptional quality of the release makes it a standout piece in any Bordeaux collection. Historically, wines released under special black and golden labels become highly sought-after collector’s items and their market value increases exponentially, as shown in the table below. The most famous example is Mouton 2000, a wine which was immortalised with a black bottle and golden ram to mark the Chateau’s 650th anniversary. Since then, the price of Mouton 2000 has hit £20,000, a 1,166% increase on release and a price 33% higher than the legendary 100 point 1982. Margaux 2015 also famously rocketed in 2015 on the announcement of its special anniversary bottling – this has increased 147%, while Angelus has shown collectors 93% returns since 2012.
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, Les Pagodes de Cos. It 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.
The 2020 Pagodes is a rich yet elegant expression offering, as noted by Lisa Perrotti-Brown of The Wine Advocate, “pretty, open-knit scents of stewed black plums, boysenberries and warm cassis, plus savory hints of charcuterie, woodsmoke, black truffles and bouquet garni. Medium-bodied, the palate is packed with crunchy black fruit flavors and dried herbs accents, supported by bags of freshness and well-managed, grainy tannins, finishing with great length and a lively skip in its step.”
Available today at £186 per case of six or £372 per 12 IB, this is an exceptional value St. Estephe from one of the region’s greatest Estates.