It’s always a treat to dine with friends when traveling. My first night in Bordeaux, I was fortunate to have dinner with Jean-Guillaume Prats, the director of the famed Chateau Cos d’Estournel, located in the Bordeaux wine appellation of St. Estephe. Prats is engaging, honest, fun and outspoken does not begin to describe his style. The noted broker, Francois Leveque joined us for dinner at La Tupina, the noted bistro located in Bordeaux, where we discussed the tepid 2010 Bordeaux futures campaign, the American market and the array of wines we tasted together.
For the dinner, I brought a flight of 2009 Right Bank wines and served them double blind to Jean Guillaume and Francois. To their credit, they found the wines, and gave all three St. Emilion wines high marks! If you’ve tasted and chatted with Prats, you’ll understand that is quite a compliment.
2010 Chateau Cos D’Estournel – Inky purple in color, the nose reeks of plum and blackberry liqueur, incense, blueberry, wood, gravel and smoke. In the mouth this big, powerful, tannic, fresh, structured Bordeaux wine demands attention. This requires serious time in the cellar before being approachable. This is a traditionally styled, muscular, powerful wine which ends with a long sensation of pure, dark berries, plums, freshness and a lot of tannin. 96-97 Pts
Jean-Guillaume Prats calls 2010 Cos d’Estournel, “A perfect definition of Bordeaux wine blending austerity, power and elegance.” Jean-Guillaume added; that he loves the 2009 Cos for its glamorous style, but that is a unique vintage for the chateau.
The 2010 Bordeaux vintage and campaign are destined to be known for not only the high quality of the wines, but for the extreme prices asked by many chateaux for their wines. Since Prats took over managing the property with the 2001 vintage, quality has ratcheted up at the estate, and prices have followed. In a surprise move, thanks to Prats, Cos was the first major Bordeaux chateau to reduce prices from 2009. Following his lead, the next round of releases from other properties also reduced their prices. Were those discounts enough to sell the wine to end users in the marketplace? Time will tell.
2010 Les Pagodes de Cos From an assemblage of 62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 38% Merlot, this is a brawny, focused and straight forward style of wine. In the mouth, the wine is tannic, fresh and filled with dark berries. Prats called this vintage a severe style of Pagodes that requires time. 90-92 Pts
2003 Chateau Cos d’Estournel - Deep ruby in color, the complex perfume is packed with Asian spice, minerality, crème de cassis, forest floor, smoke and tobacco scents in the aromatics. In the mouth, this powerful wine is refined and silky. It’s pure, intense and concentrated with spicy, blackberry and sweet dark fruits. Your palate is washed over with incredible layers of fresh fruit. The long finish is filled with roasted, spicy black and red fruits. There is not a hard edge or hair out of place in the seamless finish. This is showing well and will only get better over the next several decades. This is a serious wine that is worth looking at in today’s marketplace. As prices for 2010 Bordeaux are much more money and this is a better wine, if you have the funds, this is the wine to buy. When fully mature, I imagine my score could look stingy! 98 Pts
Tasting notes on the sublime 2000 Chateau La Mission Haut Brion and the fine 2000 Vieux Chateau Certan will be posted as soon as I get a moment. I’ll be adding more 2010 tasting notes and photographs from Bordeaux on a daily basis now that I am back home and have some time to spend typing away.