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Chateau Cos d'Estournel 2003

Bordeaux Red Blends from St. Estephe, Bordeaux, France
  • JS98
  • RP97
  • WE95
  • V94
  • WS92
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Winemaker Notes

"The prodigious, fantastic 2003 Cos d'Estournel is a candidate for “wine of the vintage." A blend of 68% Cabernet Sauvignon (unusually high for this chateau), 30% Merlot, and 2% Cabernet Franc, 17,500 cases were produced from low yields. An inky/blue/purple color is accompanied by a compelling perfume of black fruits, subtle smoke, pain grille, incense, and flowers. With extraordinary richness, full body, and remarkable freshness, elegance, and persistence, this is one of the finest wines... View More

Critical Acclaim

JS 98
James Suckling

An intense and exotic nose with mulberries and blueberries, that give way to spices. This is wild, full-bodied and rich with a plummy/porty palate with exuberant tannins. A unique power and richness, put leave this for eight years at least.

RP 97
The Wine Advocate

Two terrific efforts from this vintage, the 2003 Cos d’Estournel (70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot and the rest Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc) remains one of the superstars of the vintage. It offers an opaque ruby/purple hue as well as notes of incense, camphor, licorice, creme de cassis and graphite. Full-bodied, opulent, incredibly fresh and well-delineated, it can be consumed now and over the next decade. Kudos to the team at Cos d’Estournel.

WE 95
Wine Enthusiast

With its aromas of new wood, spice and black fruits, this promises from the start to be a powerful, polished wine. It is dense, very ripe (from the high percentage of Merlot in the blend), but still packed with tannins. It’s a massive wine, bringing together the heat of 2003 with the big tannins of Saint-Estèphe. Imported by Diageo Chateau & Estates.

V 94
Vinous / Antonio Galloni

Red-ruby. Knockout nose combines currant, espresso, earth and exotic spices. Wonderfully round and sweet, with outstanding volume and density. A spherical, seamless wine that saturates the entire palate. The huge but lush tannins coat the teeth. This is accessible now but has the sheer material for long aging.

WS 92
Wine Spectator

Shows the heady ripeness of the vintage, with plum eau-de-vie, plum skin and blackberry confiture notes rolling along, lined with an ample roasted cedar edge that emerges fully through the finish. Not top-heavy, showing some aromatic lift, but this does have 03's roasted profile, which can come off as a touch heavy in the end.—Non-blind Cos-d'Estournel vertical (December 2015).

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Chateau Cos d'Estournel

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Chateau Cos d'Estournel, , France - Bordeaux
Chateau Cos d'Estournel
Château Cos d'Estournel is a Grand Cru vineyard located in St. Estephe. Its oriental facade is adorned with three pagoda turrets, all cast in a soft golden sandstone. Château Cos d'Estournel today covers 170 acres separated from Château Lafite, along the southern edge, by the stream between St. Estephe and Pauillac. The gravelly soil, over a flint, limestone and silicate subsoil low in nitrogen, has eroded over centuries to form steep ridges which perfectly drain... View More

Known for its big, bold flavors and supple texture...

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Known for its big, bold flavors and supple texture, Malbec is most famous for its runaway success in Argentina. However, the variety actually originates in Bordeaux, where it historically contributed color and tannin to blends but was susceptible to viticultural problems. After being nearly wiped out by a devastating frost in 1956, it was never significantly replanted, although it did flourish under the name Côt in nearby Cahors. Malbec was brought to Argentina in 1868 by a French agronomist who saw great potential for the variety in Mendoza’s hot, high-altitude landscape, but did not gain its current reputation as the national grape of Argentina until a surge in popularity in the late 20th century thanks to its easy-going drinkability.

In the Glass

Malbec typically expresses deep flavors of freshly turned earth, black fruits from berries to plums, and licorice, appropriately backed by dense, chewy tannins. In warmer, New World regions, such as Mendoza, it can be quite intense and often needs time to mellow before becoming drinkable. In the Old World, its rusticity shines, with aged examples showing dusty notes of leather and tobacco. The best examples in all regions often possess a beguiling bouquet of violets.

Perfect Parings

Malbec’s rustic character begs for flavorful dishes, like spicy grilled sausages or the classic cassoulet of France’s Southwest. South American iterations are best enjoyed as they would be in Argentina: with a thick, juicy steak.

Sommelier Secret

If you’re trying to please a crowd, Malbec is generally a safe bet. With its combination of bold flavors and soft tannins, it will appeal to basically anyone who enjoys red wine. Malbec also wins bonus points for affordability, as even the most inexpensive examples are often quite good.