2021 Cos d'Estournel Blanc, Bordeaux
Including fully 29% Sémillon, the 2021 Cos d'Estournel Blanc is a terrific effort from holdings in the northern Médoc. Offering up aromas of confit citrus, crisp orchard fruit, lime zest, pastry cream and freshly braked bread, it's medium to full-bodied, layered and incisive, with chalky structuring dry extract and a penetrating finish. There's no question that it's one of the Médoc's most interesting white wines.
William Kelley, Wine Advocate (Apr 2022)
The 2021 Cos d'Estournel Blanc contains slightly more Sauvignon Blanc this year (71%); proprietor Michel Reybier told me that was because it was more successful in the vineyard. Picked between September 17 and October 9 and matured in 8% new oak, it has a lovely bouquet of citrus fruit, white peach and hints of peony on a nose that opens nicely in the glass. The palate is well balanced with a fresh, vibrant entry, and obviously more concentrated than the Pagodes, with a lively and quite weighty, phenolic finish. This has great potential.
Drink 2024 - 2045
Neal Martin, vinous.com, (May 2022)
This is layered and serious, with intense yet subtle notes of dried pineapple, lemon, crushed stones and shells. Salty. Long and driven with vivacity and energy. So minerally, in every sense. Grabs hold of you. 71% sauvignon blanc and 29% semillon.
James Suckling, jamessuckling.com (May 2022)
Intense, pure and long, again with marked tension and acidity. Persistent fruit with a floral-citrus nuance. Pebble-sucking finish. Clean cut, if a little hard on the finish but should develop further.
Drink 2023 - 2030
James Lawther, jancisrobinson.com (May 2022)
About this WINE
Château Cos d`Estournel is named after its 19th century owner, Louis-Gaspard d'Estournel, and it was he who built the bizarre oriental edifice that is a landmark for any tourist in the Médoc. Today Cos d'Estournel is without doubt the leading estate in St-Estéphe. It is located in the south of the appellation on the border with Pauillac and its vineyards are superbly sited on a south-facing gravel ridge with a high clay content, just north of Lafite.
Cos d'Estournel is typically a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 38% Merlot and 2% Cabernet Franc - do not be fooled by the relatively high Merlot content, as these are full-bodied, dark, brooding tannic wines when young which develop a complexity and intensity that can rival many top growths from Pauillac.
In 1998 the Prats family sold Cos d'Estournel to The Tailan Group. Cos d'Estournel is classified as a 2ème Cru Classé.
St Estèphe is the northernmost of the most important communes of the Médoc and borders Pauillac on its southernmost border, with only a gully and stream separates it from Ch. Lafite. To the north lies the Bas-Médoc.
St Estèphe is defined by the depth of its gravel, which is ubiquitous but of varying depths and occasionally very shallow, when clay predominates. This keeps the soil cooler and wetter than its counterparts so that the wines can appear fresh in lighter vintages, but superbly successful in hot, dry years.
The best châteaux in the south of the commune have the deepest soil and the thickest gravel. Cos d'Estournel has an exceptional terroir with its vineyards being located on a south-facing ridge of gravel with excellent drainage.
St Estèphe is the least gravelly of main Médoc communes and in the north of the commune the vineyards are heavier and more clay-based leading to a rustic style of wine being produced.
The wines can appear austere in youth with a discernable ferric note at some châteaux, but the best typically display good depth of colour, pronounced acidity an tannins in youth and are exceptionally long-lived. At their best, they are the equal of almost any Bordeaux. The well-regarded St Estèphe co-operative controls the production of about half the appellation.
Cos (Ch. Cos d'Estournel), Ch. Montrose, Ch. Calon-Ségur, Ch. Lafon-Rochet, Ch. Les Ormes de Pez, Ch. Beau-Site, Ch. Cos Labory, Ch. Phélan-Ségur
Sauv.Blanc & Sémillon
The blend used for White Graves and Sauternes and rarely encountered outside France. In the great dry whites of Graves, Sauvignon Blanc tends to predominate in the blend, although properties such as Smith Haut Lafite use 100% Sauvignon Blanc while others such as Laville Haut Brion have as much as 60% Sémillon in their final blends. Sauvignon Blanc wines can lose their freshness and fruit after a couple of years in bottle - if blended with Sémillon, then the latter bolsters the wine when the initial fruit from the Sauvignon fades. Ultimately Sauvignon Blanc gives the wine its aroma and raciness while Sémillon gives it backbone and longevity.
In Sauternes, Sémillon is dominant, with Sauvignon Blanc playing a supporting role - it is generally harvested about 10 days before Sémillon and the botrytis concentrates its sweetness and dampens Sauvignon Blanc`s naturally pungent aroma. It contributes acidity, zip and freshness to Sauternes and is an important component of the blend.
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Sauvignon Blanc 71%, Sémillon 29%
This is produced in small volumes from vines grown right up towards the mouth of the Gironde Estuary, benefitting from cooling ocean breezes. This has wonderful tension, an expert balance between delicacy and vibrancy. The nose is bright and aromatic, with fresh white peaches, acacia flower and lemongrass. The palate is zesty and taut with a hint of salinity. Layers of lemons, limes and passionfruit are plumped out with fresh apricots, orchard fruits and a creamy note from the well-integrated 7% new oak. There is a core of steely minerality and a touch of lemon-pith bitterness to the wonderfully long finish. Drink 2027-2045.
Our score: 17.5/20
Berry Bros. & Rudd, April 2022
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