2003 Cos d'Estournel, St-Estèphe (nicked label)

SKU #1107544 98 points James Suckling

 A dense and powerful wine as always with very ripe fruit yet an underlying freshness and complexity with tobacco, dried fruit and fresh spices such as lemon grass and Thai basil. Layered and long. Drink or hold.  (11/2015)

97 points Robert Parker's 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. (RP)  (8/2014)

96 points Vinous

 The 2003 Cos d’Estournel is a total knock out. Super-ripe and opulent from the outset, the 2003 is a big, ample Cos that takes over all the senses and never lets up. The bouquet alone – with its alluring notes of tobacco, cedar, spice, dark roasted fruits, leather and smoke – is stunning in its beauty. All of those nuances follow through on the palate, where the 2003 is thick, dense and concentrated. The 2003 is just beginning to enter the very early part of its optimal drinking window. Despite its very ripe feel, the 2003 needs further time in bottle to fully come together. Interestingly, the 2005 is quite a bit more expressive and rewarding to drink now. The 2003 is a superb Cos that captures the essence of this freakishly hot, record-setting vintage. Although the 2003 is the product of a very warm vintage, the wine was remarkably fresh, even two days after having been opened. In 2003 the blend is 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot and 1% Cabernet Franc. (AG)  (12/2015)

95 points 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. (RV)  (5/2006)

94 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 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. (ST)  (6/2006)

92 points 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. (JM, Web-2016)

Jancis Robinson

 Dark bricky garnet. Rich and spicy with dried-fruit aromas but also a leafy note. Fine-grained, dry but not at all drying. More elegant than many. Lively and harmonious and attractively dry. Finesse and decent freshness to the end. 17.5/20 points (JH)  (3/2015)

K&L Notes

96 points Neal Martin's Wine Journal: "Tasted at Bordeaux Index's "10-Year On" tasting in London. The Cos d'Estournel 2003 has a more flamboyant, sumptuous bouquet compared to the Montrose with luscious redcurrant, raspberry, vanilla and graphite scents that soar from the glass. The palate is full-bodied, but I feel that it has lost weight in recent years as it sheds its puppy fat. This is a very focused Saint Estephe, very composed with fine definition and minerality towards the long finish. At the moment it stands side by side with the Montrose, but both remain true to their style. Tasted March 2013." (05/2013)

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Cabernet Sauvignon and Blends

- Cabernet Sauvignon has come a long way from its role as a blending varietal, however dominant, in the wines of Bordeaux. Today it is the most planted red varietal in the world. Identified as a descendent of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, the late-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon needs to be planted in warmer climates to fully ripen. Its small berries can easily be identified for their distinctive blue color, thick skins and high tannins. And while the varietal has its own definitive characteristics: green pepper-like aromas and black currant flavors among them, it is perhaps most prized for its ability to convey terroir, vintage and winemaking. A relatively new varietal, Cabernet Sauvignon started making inroads into the wines of the Médoc and Graves in the late-18th century. Today it is also dominant in the up-and-coming Entre-Deux-Mers region of Bordeaux and can also be found in Southwest France. It is the companion varietal to Sangiovese in Italy's Super Tuscans and is planted all over Europe, stretching to lesser-known winegrowing regions like Russia and Lebanon. In the Americas Cabernet Sauvignon has found champions in every nook and cranny of California and among winemakers in Washington, where it complements plantings of Merlot. In South America, Cab thrives in Chile, but can also be found in smaller amounts in Argentina and even in Mexico.


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Specific Appellation:

Saint Estephe

- The northern-most of the Medoc communes, St. Estephe is quickly becoming one of the favorite areas for both high quality and great value Bordeaux reds. While it has fewer classified growths than the other communes, it also boasts some of the hottest up and coming chateaux of the last several. The most famous chateaux are the second growths Montrose and Cos d'Estournel with Calon Segur (3rd growth), Lafon Rochet (4th growth), and Cos Labory (5th growth) rounding out the cru classe wines. Cabernet Sauvignon dominates the area, but plantings of Merlot are on the rise resulting in rounder, fatter, flashier wines than in years past.