An exotically scented second-growth that thinks it's a first-growth, Cos [COSS] is loaded with weightless power in 2016. This is one of the wines of the vintage, and it's comfortably under $200! The palate was astonishing: exquisite balance, perhaps the most precise and detailed Cos d'Estournel that I have encountered in many years of tasting at this address…The persistence, the reverberation in the mouth is quite magnificent…It really is a brilliant Cos d'Estournel that oozes class and sophistication, moreover, a wine that is going to give serious amounts of drinking pleasure over a very long period of time. Boom-and Cos drops the mic." - The Wine Advocate
Situated between Pauillac and Saint-Estèphe, and separated from Château Lafite by the stream known as La Jalle du Breuil (The Breuil Brook), the hill of Cos rises dominates the Gironde from the height of almost 65 feet. Certainly impressive to lay eyes on, and it's exactly what sets the wine apart as well - both in the bottle and on the label. In the old Gascon language, the word "Cos" means "The Hill of Pebbles." And as a matter of fact, the hill of Cos, which is situated on the banks of the Gironde, is an impressive accumulation of Quaternary gravel wrested from the distant mountains of the Massif Central and the Pyrenees and laid on Saint-Estèphe's limestone bed when the primeval river receded. These well-draining slopes formed by erosion have deep layers of gravel - making it not only a geological curiosity, but one of the most precious terroir in the world. Vines can root deeply into these arid soils looking for moisture. As a result the vines work hard and end up producing an intensely flavored and one-of-a-kind wine.
The 2016 Cos d'Estournel takes the 2016 baton and runs with it. A blend of 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot and 1% Cabernet Franc that was picked between 26 September and 15 October at 45 hectoliters per hectare, this fabulous Saint Estèphe will be matured in 60% new oak. The alcohol level this year is 13.07%, which proprietor Michel Reybier reminded me is almost 1.5% lower than in 2010. This is clearly a more classically styled Cos d'Estournel that is completely different than say, the 2009 Cos d'Estournel and the more flamboyant, exotic wines in recent years. It actually bears more stylistic similarities to its neighbor Montrose. It is extremely detailed with blackberry and a touch of boysenberry, the fruit almost "creeping up" on you by stealth and then underneath, an undertow of minerals, wet limestone and even flint. The palate has astonishing: exquisite balance, perhaps the most precise and detailed Cos d'Estournel that I have encountered in many years of tasting at this address. It segues into a Pauillac-like second-half with veins of graphite strafing the black fruit, but what marks this Cos d'Estournel is the palpable energy and tension allied with an effortless nature. The persistence, the reverberation in the mouth is quite magnificent, perhaps even longer on my second visit to the property compared to the first. It really is a brilliant Cos d'Estournel that oozes class and sophistication, moreover, a wine that is going to give serious amounts of drinking pleasure over a very long period of time. Boom—and Cos drops the mic. Tasted twice, almost three weeks apart, with consistent notes.
96–98. Barrel Sample. This perfumed wine is stylish and elegant. It is all about the magnificent and sophisticated fruit. At the same time, don't be fooled by the richness: the tannins are all there, a dense and concentrated core at the heart of this seriously ageworthy wine. It demands many years.
The finish is something else here. This is a wine that’s so powerful and tannic yet at the same time so polished and superb on the finish. Full-bodied, beautifully crafted and precise. This is a wine that really grabs your attention. The agility and power are more than impressive. Wow is the word.