The 2002 Cos d'Estournel is a blend of 58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 38% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot. This vintage was late ripening with wonderful weather in September and very low yields this year. Deep garnet colored with a touch of brick, the palate sports tobacco, cedar chest and yeast extract scents over a core of figs, dried mulberries, fruitcake, sautéed herbs and cinnamon toast with a waft of oolong tea. Medium-bodied, the palate features bags of freshness, with firm yet grainy tannins and plenty of mature dried berry flavors, finishing long and spicy. 2018-2032
One of the candidates for wine of the vintage, this beauty has a dense purple color to the rim and a classic, noble nose of graphite intermixed with black currant, spice box, licorice, and red and black fruits. Medium to full-bodied with exceptional precision and definition, this beautifully textured wine stands out as one of the most successful wines of this irregular vintage. A brilliant effort, it should be at its best between 2008 and 2020. Drink 2008-2020
Resembling an ancient Indian palace, Cos d'Estournel is like no other Bordeaux château. Established in the early 19th century by Louis Gaspard d'Estournel, the château was built after the vineyards were established as a celebration to his Far East conquests. Today, it is run by the outspoken and innovative Jean-Guillaume Prats whose family owned the château until 1998. Recently, they have started using satellites and an electromagnetic sensor to analyse all the subtleties marking their terroir. This helps them determine the various components of their soil as well as the water availability across their now divided 97 parcels of vineyard land. As a result, they can achieve more even ripening and better match the varieties to the soil.
St Estèphe is the most northern of Médoc communal crus. Its unique terroir is made up of layers of gravel which are supported by a dense clay base. This subsoil retains water in dry seasons and works particularly well with Merlot, a largely planted variety which is used to flesh out Cabernet Sauvignon. This clay base also creates powerful, textured tannins which enable St Estèphe to stand out from the pack. Like St Julien, it is one of the four most important communal appellations of the Médoc which does not contain any first growths, despite its southern border being a stone'sthrow from Château Lafite. Nonetheless, it is home to some excellent châteaux making fine wines such as Cos d'Estournel, Montrose, Calon Ségur and Lafon Rochet.