1996 Château Cos d'Estournel St. Estèphe Wine Tasting Note


1996 Château Cos d'Estournel  (St. Estèphe) 94

The aromatics capture the wines mature essence with its earthy wet forest floor, tobacco leaf, cigar box and bright red fruits. There is lift in the fruit, coupled with a leafy, red berry assortment in the finish. This is probably close to fully mature, where it should remain for at least 15 or more years before entering its slow decline.

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The nose is already developed, as you find smoke, tobacco, cigar wrapper, cassis and a touch of green. But it's easy to move past the green notes, as there is so much to like about this wine. Full bodied, concentrated, and loaded with Asian spice, red fruits and wet earth. This is showing most of what it has today, but it could get better from here.

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What a difference this was compared to the previous bottle I tasted. This delicious St. Estephe produced from a blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon and 35% Merlot offers truffle, tobacco, wood, cassis, forest floor, Asian spice and blackberry with hints of mocha in the aromatics. Powerful, full bodied, round and classy, the wine is starting to enter maturity, ending in a long, spicy, black cherry and earthy finish. It's drinking great today, but in a few more years, it's going to be even better.

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From a blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon and 35% Merlot, this tobacco, cassis, spice, smoke, forest floor and gravel scented wine is on the lean, austere side. With hard tannins, the wine lacks elegance and charm. There is ample concentration in the wine, and a long cassis finish, but it's just not my style of Cos d'Estournel. With time, it might soften, but I would not bet on it. Fans of traditional styled Bordeaux wine might like this more than I did. I will need to try another bottle of this wine again in the near future to see if this was a poor showing of a specific bottle, or if the wine has not developed well.

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This combines sex appeal with power. It's a large scaled wine filled with ripe, spicy, black fruit. The tannins are round, allowing it to already show nicely. I'll hold mine for at least another decade.

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Dark with a purple hue. Tobacco, cigar ash, herbs, cassis, fruit and minerals took over your nasal senses while the palate enjoyed the deep, ripe black fruit. This, dense, full-bodied wine was very tannic. Needs time.

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COS Front Wine Tasting Notes, Ratings

When to Drink Chateau Cos d'Estournel, Anticipated Maturity, Decanting Time

Chateau Cos d'Estournel can be enjoyed early, with a long decanting, but it is not when the wine shows its best. The wine is much better with several years of bottle age. Of course that can vary slightly, depending on the vintage. Most vintages demand at least 12 to 20 years before the wine starts showing its best attributes.

Chateau Cos d'Estournel offers its best drinking and should reach peak maturity between 15-40 years of life. Young vintages can be decanted for 2-4 hours, or more. This allows the wine to soften and open its perfume. Older vintages might need very little decanting, just enough to remove the sediment.

Serving Chateau Cos d'Estournel with Wine, Food, Pairing Tips

Chateau Cos d'Estournel is best served at 15.5 degrees Celsius, 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The cool, almost cellar temperature gives the wine more freshness and lift. Young vintages can be decanted for 2-4 hours. This allows the wine to soften and open its perfume. Older vintages might need very little decanting, just enough to remove the sediment.

Chateau Cos d'Estournel is best served with all types of classic meat dishes, veal, pork, beef, lamb, duck, game, roast chicken, roasted braised and grilled dishes. Cos d'Estournel is also good with Asian dishes, hearty fish courses like tuna, mushrooms and pasta.

White wine of Cos d'Estournel and other wines of the estate

Chateau Cos d'Estournel also makes a dry, white Bordeaux wine Cos d'Estournel Blanc. The wine is produced from a blend of of approximately 80% Sauvignon Blanc and 20% Semillon grown north of Saint Estephe, in the Jau-Dignac and Loirac regions.

In 2018, to improve the quality of their white wine, the estate introduced a second white wine, Pagodes de Cos Blanc.

For the white wine of Cos d'Estournel, the terroir is a mix of sand, clay, small stones and limestone soils. The vineyard is close to their Goulee property, which is in the Medoc, directly north of Saint Estephe which is a naturally cooler terroir.

The debut vintage for Chateau Cos d'Estournel Blanc was 2005. For the first few vintages, the production was close to 100 cases.

Because the initial production was so small, the wine was not available for sale as a future until 2009. At that point, the production rose to close to 200 cases, which was considered enough for their white Bordeaux wine to be offered as a future.

To produce Cos d'Estournel Blanc, the wine is barrel fermented and aged in new and one year old, French oak barrels to maintain maximum freshness. There is no malolactic fermentation or skin contact. The wine is best enjoyed in its youth. The wine is sold as a generic AOC Bordeaux Blanc.

Cos d'Estournel Blanc is best served with all types of seafood and various cheeses.

Chateau Cos d'Estournel makes a second wine, Les Pagodes de Cos, which was first produced with the 1994 vintage. Originally, the second wine was called Marbuzet. The majority of the fruit came from their vineyard called Marbuzet, hence the name. The name was changed after both properties were purchased by Michel Reybier.

Today, the grapes used in the second wine, Les Pagodes de Cos can from time to time, include fruit from Marbuzet, their other estate in St. Estephe, as well as grapes from young vines and declassified wine intended for Cos d'Estournel.

Since 2005, Les Pagodes de Cos has morphed into one of the better second wines in all of Bordeaux. On average, Les Pagodes de Cos is aged in 40% new, French oak barrels.

In 2003, the Reybier group produced their debut vintage of Goulee by Cos d'Estournel from a vineyard they own in the Medoc, that is situated north of St. Estephe. In 2009 Michel Reybier and Chateau Cos d'Estournel purchased vineyards in Tokaji with they obtained the Hetszolo estate.

Michel Reybier is also an investor in Champagne, with a company he owns, The Pressoirs de France group. The company is a large supplier for bulk and inexpensive Champagne to the big supermarkets in England. The wine is sold as Michel Reybier Champagne.

More than just interests in vineyards takes place in Bordeaux for the owner of Cos d'Estournel. In 2019, they opened a high-end hotel in Saint Estephe, La Maison d'Estournel on the site of the previously named Chateau Pomys. The hotel has 14 well appointed guest rooms and suites, a restaurant and wine tasting bar.

Starting with the 2012 vintage, Cos d'Estournel began to use the Tesa system of anti-counterfeiting measure as well, allowing consumers to verify the authenticity of their bottle with the use of a bar code sticker that is placed on the label and the original wood case.