- · Wine Advocate – Lisa Perrotti-Brown (97 – 100)
The 2018 Cos d’Estournel is composed of 74% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot and 1% Cabernet Franc and has 14.59% alcohol. Aging in 50% new barriques, it has a deep purple-black color and drifts effortlessly, gracefully, seductively out of the glass with slowly unfurling notions of blackcurrant cordial, wild blueberries, chocolate-covered cherries and plum pudding with touches of violets, licorice, wild roses and yeast extract plus a waft of loose tobacco. The full-bodied palate is built like a brick house with a solid frame of super firm, super ripe tannins and seamless freshness to back up the vibrant, crunchy, oh-so-muscular fruit, finishing long with loads of mineral layers. Amazing structure will keep this beauty for at least half a century and probably a full one!
“The wet weather in June didn’t affect the flowering because it was still quite warm,” winemaker Dominique Arangoits explained. While flowering was not an issue, yields were down slightly at Cos d’Estournel, coming in at 30 hectoliters per hectare. This was due in part to losses from early season mildew and very small Cabernet Sauvignon berries. There was also a little dehydration.
“In the end, what was interesting was the balance of the vines,” Arangoits continued. “There was great energy and fruit. Cabernet was surprisingly round. Merlot looks like Cabernet this year, and Cabernet looks like Merlot,” he laughed. “There was incredible tension in the Merlot.”
Winemaking was also not without challenges. “It was a hot harvest: 25-28 degrees Celsius outside,” said Arangoits. “We were able to cool the grapes very quickly. We decided to lower the temperature of fermentation to 28 degrees Celsius rather than 30 degrees to preserve the fruit. We felt this was key—preserving the fruit. The gravity cellar really helped with the gentle extraction this year. For whites, we were not so optimistic. But we were pleasantly surprised by the characters. The pHs were low, which is a good sign.”
- James Suckling – (98 – 99)
The beautiful integration of ripe fruit and ripe tannins gives the wine a layered and agile mouthfeel. Soft and gorgeous with silky tannins that really kick in at the finish and carry the wine for a long time.
- Decanter – Jane Anson (97)
This has some austerity on the attack, then announces its arrival in the inimitable way that Cos is able to do: with a slow build up of exotic spices, liquorice root, cedar and cassis. It stretches out through the palate and you keep waiting for the tannins to punch through like they did in 2010, but it doesn’t happen, even though this is a big wine with high alcohol and an IPT of 80. There’s a great menthol freshness on the finish, helped no doubt by a fresh 3.65pH. It has the luxurious signature of Cos, the glamorous touch that you look for in this wine – like at Mouton and at Angelus – that is part of their DNA, but it’s also married to elegance and a touch of slate minerality. This is a wine that you would be thrilled to own. 12mm of rain on 12 September and 20mm in mid-August were just enough to stop any blockages in ripening, although the 30hl/ha yield is low due to a touch of mildew and some concentration in September. This compares to a more generous 45hl/ha in 2016. 65% of production went into the grand vin. 1% Petit Verdot makes up the blend, and the wine is aged in 50% new oak (a little lower than the usual 60%). A candidate to upscore when in bottle. Drinking Window 2028 – 2042