2003 Cos d'Estournel, St-Estèphe

SKU #1023882 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.  (10/2015)

96 points Vinous

 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. (NM)  (10/2018)

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)  (5/2006)

93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Harvest finished this year on September 25. The 2003 Cos d'Estournel is a blend of 68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 2% Cabernet Franc. It has a deep garnet-brick color and quite an herbal nose with notions of dried Mediterranean herbs and roasted meats over a core of crème de cassis, stewed plums and unsmoked cigars plus a touch of new leather. Full, rich, concentrated and decadent in the mouth, the palate, though medium-bodied, packs a wallop of fruit with plenty of earthy/savory accents and an herbal lift to the finish. (LPB)  (11/2018)

93 points Wine Spectator

 This sports a pretty juicy edge, with dark currant and fig flavors and a hint of bramble in the mix. Ample tobacco, ganache and humus notes add range and character, leading to a long, smoldering finish. The slightly grainy structure is the only blip here. (JM, Web Only-2018)

92 points Decanter

 Excellent quality and surprisingly fresh given the vintage, this wine is clearly ready to drink now, however there’s no rush to drink this urgently - one of the key markers of a great Bordeaux wine is that, even if it evolves quickly, it reaches a point where it stops and sticks – and I feel that is what we have here. Expect the full array of soft leather, truffle, spice and fig. In early August, technical director Dominique Arangoïts remembers smelling cooked fruit in the vines at night-time. The levels of malic acid were one of the lowest on record, and the alcohol fairly reasonable also. This has aged far better than expected, no doubt helped by the proportion of Cabernet Sauvignon, as well as the clay subsoils of St-Estèphe and the old Merlot vines (between 80 and 100 years old). The harvest was finished by 25 September, earlier than most in the appellation. (JA)  (7/2018)

John Gilman

 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. (JH) 17.5/20 points  (3/2013)

K&L Notes

96 points, Antonio Galloni in 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." (12/2015)


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