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Cos d'Estournel 2003

Subregion France > Bordeaux > Left Bank > St Estèphe
Grape VarietyCabernet Sauvignon/Merlot

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Tasting Notes

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. Drink: 2014-2024

Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (214), August 2014

The 2003 Cos d’Estournel revels in a vintage that shone in Saint-Estèphe. In some ways it is a prototype of the 2009 however, the 2003 feels more natural, more a product of the growing season than a premeditated crowd-pleaser like the 2009. It has that almost gregarious bouquet with plush raspberry ripple, vanilla pod, crème de cassis and pencil lead aromas. As I have noted previously, it has shed a lot of baby fat in recent years, less flamboyant than in its youth. What is so surprising is the delineation evident in this wine, something that it shares with the 2003 Montrose and a virtue denuded many other Left Bank 2003s, especially in the southern Médoc. Maybe at the moment the Montrose just has the edge but that should take nothing away from one of the best 2003s you will find. Tasted at the Cos d’Estournel vertical in London. Drink 2020-2050.

Neal Martin, vinous.com, October 2018

Gorgeous aromas of blackberry, spice and mineral. Full-bodied, with ultrafine tannins and a long, long finish. This is first-growth quality. Best after 2012. 15,000 cases made.

James Suckling, WineSpectator.com, March 2006

Nuanced and rich and drying. Biscuity and fine but this is just a bit suppressed. Inky. Low key. Fades a bit on the finish. (Average group score: 17)

Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com, October 2010

Dark in colour and dark in meaty aroma, then opulent sweet fruit. Velvety, rich and warm, yet with very fine silky tannins and a dense meaty, spiced plum finish. Lovely fruit. Date tasted 23rd Jan 08.

Julia Harding MW, JancisRobinson.com, January 2008

2003 Cos d'Estournel placed fourth overall, out of 100 wines tasted blind, at the 2003 Farr Vintners Blind Tasting held in October 2010.
For more information, please visit www.farrvintners.com/blog.php

Farr Vintners, Farr Vintners 2003 Blind Tasting, October 2010
Michael Schuster, The World of Fine Wine (1), April 2004
Read more tasting notes...
Robert Parker, Hedonists Gazette, May 2007

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 ever made by this estate. The good news is that it will be drinkable at a young age yet evolve for three decades or more. Kudos to winemaker Jean-Guillaume Prats and owner Michel Reybier.

Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (164), April 2006

Potentially the finest Cos d’Estournel I have ever tasted, this wine seems to have put on even more weight and gained strength even after its formidable performance nine months ago. Eighty percent new oak was used and the wine was aged on its lees until early summer of last year. A brilliant effort that is super-concentrated, yet also elegant and harmonious, the wine has an inky/purple color to the rim and a glorious nose of classic creme de cassis intermixed with some smoke, graphite, licorice, fig, and vanilla. Full-bodied, opulently textured, and incredibly concentrated, it has surprising freshness and definition for a wine of such intensity and richness. Jean-Guillaume Prats told me that the finished pH is only 3.6, which is lower than I would have suspected given the wine’s textural richness. Moreover, the alcohol is relatively high for a Bordeaux at 13.5% (compare that to the 13.1% of the 1990). The finish goes on for almost a minute as this is a truly profound wine that should take its place in the pantheon of great Bordeaux wines for many decades to come. Anticipated maturity: 2009-2030+.

Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (158), April 2005

Under the inspired ownership of Michel Reybier and his talented winemaking team, led by Jean-Guillaume Prats, Cos d’Estournel’s quality has been on the rise since the 2000 vintage. The 2003 is one of the greatest offerings this hallowed estate has ever produced. This 15,000-case cuvee is a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon (atypically high), 27% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot, and 1% Cabernet Franc. With a pH of 3.72, and 13.5% alcohol, it is a substantial yet extraordinarily elegant claret. There are no hints of over-ripeness (prunes, saddle leather, etc.) or exoticism, just classic black currant, melted licorice, blackberry, smoke, and spice notes. Seventy percent of the crop made it in to this cuvee, which was fashioned from low yields of 30 hectoliters per hectare. Cos d’Estournel appears to have done everything right, waiting to harvest fully ripe fruit (the Merlot between September 12-14, and the Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon between September 18 - 25). The wine possesses a thickness and unctuosity typical of the top 2003 northern Medocs as well as remarkable definition and elegance. It is the most impressive young Cos I have ever tasted. However, the tannin is high, so it will require patience. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2030. Bravo!

Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (152), April 2004

Gorgeous aromas of blackberry, spice and mineral. Full-bodied, with a long, long finish. This is first growth quality.

James Suckling, Wine Spectator, February 2006

The estate says that it is the best wine they have ever made and I think they could be right.

James Suckling, Wine Spectator (April 04), April 2004

Great depth of purple. Very very opulent, rich and round on the nose. Some attractively fresh tea leaf character and fragrance - great freshness relative to most wines of this vintage. Lovery well balanced vivacious mouthful. Lots of fine tanins underneath. Great star of the vintage with really fine equality. Dense certainly but a cool, refreshing note throughout.

Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com (April 04), April 2004
Farr Vintners, Southwold Bordeaux Tasting, January 2007
Please note that these tasting notes/scores are not intended to be exhaustive and in some cases they may not be the most recently published figures. However, we always do our best to add latest scores and reviews when these come to our attention. We advise customers who wish to purchase wines based simply on critical reviews to carry out further research into the latest reports.