Guitar Aficionado

The Oeno File: 1996 Les Pagodes de Cos Bordeaux

Cos d’Estournel from Bordeaux’s Saint-Estèphe region is one of my all-time favorite wines

By Chris Gill

Cos d’Estournel from Bordeaux’s Saint-Estèphe region is one of my all-time favorite wines, but with the 2009 vintage retailing upwards of $300 per bottle at pre-shipment futures prices it’s not the sort I’ll casually crack open with burgers or barbecue. Fortunately the chateau also produces a second wine, Les Pagodes de Cos, with vines that are grown on the same terroir but are still too young for use in their Grand Vin. As a result, Les Pagodes de Cos exhibits similar character to Cos d’Estournel, but its fruit is more forward and fresh, resulting in a wine that drinks quite well when young—at the expense of not being as ageworthy as its loftier counterpart.

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During exceptional vintages like 1996 Pagodes can age nicely in the bottle for 10 or more years. The 1996 Pagodes is drinking at peak form right now, bursting with cassis and sweet tobacco flavors and exhibiting an ethereally smooth mouthfeel. In fact, this second label wine drinks much better than most vintages of Cos d’Estournel that preceded it in the early Nineties, with the exception of only the stellar 1990 vintage.

For more information visit Cos d’Estournel