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Cos D’Estournel: 1988, 1993, 1997, 1998

June 1, 2016

This mini vertical of this famed Second Growth of Saint-Estephe was kindly sponsored by Dr Wong Chiang-Yin at the annual SMA Dinner at the Raffles Town Club, Singapore, 14 May 2016. None of these hail from vaunted vintages and, in fact, one or two may be labelled as so-called “off years” but, even then, Cos D’Estournel of the last century has a certain easy nuance and expression that is no longer quite apparent in the vintages of the past decade as it pushed for greater sophistication and intensity. All wines were popped and poured over 2-3 hours.

1993 Ch Cos D’Estournel. Gentle aromas of raspberries and dark cherries, rounded, smooth and pleasant on the palate with sweet tannins. Desperately missing in charm and complexity even though it gained some mild intensity over time. Drink up.

1997 Ch Cos D’Estournel. Mild earthy pungency with overtones of sandalwood, aged plums and burnt toast, finishing with some mint and graphite that imparted a sense of sternness, missing in complexity.

1988 Ch Cos D’Estournel. A sense of heated gravel on the nose with ripe berries, mocha and raisins supported by saline minerals and fine acidity. Harmonious with an attractive feminine intensity that produced some lovely tension though lacking in layering and sheer complexity.

1998 Ch Cos D’Estournel. The best of this mini-series of Cos, where lifted earthy pungency on the nose is matched by rounded fleshy tones on the palate, marked by mature dark berries, plum and ash with traces of graphite, displaying good concentration and depth of fruit, slightly more forward with time, ending in a spicy minerally finish. Just missing the last ounce of opulence. Very fine.

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Photo courtesy of Dr Wong Chiang-Yin

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