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Château Cos d’Estournel 2009

Overview


Owner       Michel Reybier
President       Jean-Guillaume Prats
Annual Production (Grand Vin)       15-18,000
Classification       2ème Grand Cru Classé
Appellation       St. Estèphe
Interesting Fact       In 19th Century majority of wine exported to India


History


The Chateau is named after 19th Century owner Louis Gaspard d’Estournel, whose travels in the Orient influenced the design of the Chateau and cellars, earning him the nickname ‘maharajah of St Estèphe’.

During these years, the majority of Cos d’Estournel was exported to equally exotic locations with India being one of the main recipients. The ‘Indian elephant’ is still synonymous with Cos, a statue of which greets you on entrance to the 21st Century incarnation and is also symbolised within the Chateaux branding. Influences from the Orient can still be felt today even though the Chateau and cellars have undergone a major transformation.

With India’s wine consumption steadily increasing, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Cos d’Estournel lead the way in this region with it’s obvious connections to Southern Asia.

Michel Reybier, the current owner who acquired the estate in 2000, has tried to stay true to the avant-garde style of Louis Gaspard and this is shown in the recent overhaul to the Chateau, cellars and Vat rooms.

The restoration work is incredible and it has the feeling of a James Bond film set, with a dual level stainless steel Vat system, glass display and walkway over beautifully illuminated cellars which contrasts against the original brickwork and architecture.

The work, however, would have been undoubtedly expensive and this cost will have to be recouped. Thankfully the quality of the wine has matched the size of investment and is seemingly already bearing dividends. Since 2000, Reybier alongside proprietor Jean-Guillaume Prats, have raised the quality of this St. Estephe estate and are seemingly on course for the estate’s first 100 pt score from Robert Parker Jr for the 2009 vintage.

 

Brand


Since Michel Reybier acquired the estate in 2000, brand and image have been an integral part of the development of Cos d’Estournel. From the aforementioned renovation work to the stylised labelling and subsequent release of the third wine, Goulée – a special project between Reybier and Prats – a conscious strategy to present Cos as not only the leading St Estephe but to create a brand that will be marketable to the emerging markets. Discussions of a possible takeover of California winery Chateau Montelena emerged a few years ago and this seemingly underlines Reybier and Prats’ strategy to promote the Cos brand by following in the footsteps of other left bank producers who have developed projects in California and South America.

In November 2011, Cos d’Estournel was included in Robert Parker’s ‘magical 20’ tasting in Hong Kong, which took place to highlight 20 wines of high quality outside the big names of Bordeaux. This further underlined Cos’ reputation and enhanced its image in the Far East.

As mentioned earlier, the historical links to India as well as the strong Orient imagery running through the ‘brand’ it can be argued that Cos d’Estournel is well placed to take advantage of the burgeoning interest in fine wine from both the Far East and specifically India.


Critic Appraisal


CCos d’Estournel has earned significant praise for its wines over the last ten years and has enjoyed great success under the joint stewardship of Jean-Guillaume Prats and Michel Reybier. The Chateau certainly takes its place as one of the leading super-second’s and the last three vintages are testament to the continued efforts to produce first-growth quality wine on a consistent basis. The wines have been described by the critic Clive Coates as possessing ‘power and finesse’ and these sentiments are reciprocated by both Parker and James Suckling. The critical praise for Cos d’Estournel style isn’t unmitigated and has in recent years divided opinion.

The 2009 vintage was not without controversy. It has very much split opinion and not for the first time did Robert Parker find himself on one side of the fence (Jancis Robinson even referenced Pavie 2003 in her tasting note for Cos ’09). Parker and James Suckling, however, were unanimous in their praise for the 2009, declaring it to be one of the finest efforts ever produced by the Chateau. In contrast, Jancis Robinson (16.5+) and Neal Martin (89-91) did not score the wine so favourably.


2009 Vintage Scores


The 2009 Cos d’Estournel is one of the greatest young wines I have ever tasted ... in the world! An extraordinary effort I tasted on two separate occasions, this blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest primarily Merlot with a dollop of Cabernet Franc has a whopping 14.5% alcohol, but a remarkably normal pH of 3.69. Kudos to Jean-Guillaume Prats and owner Michel Reybier for this amazing wine made from yields of 33 hectoliters per hectare. It will be a legendary claret that should last for 50-60 years. A black/purple color is accompanied by aromas of graphite, ink, creme de cassis, blackberries, cedar, and incense. Full-bodied and unctuously textured, with an ethereal personality, tons of nuances, and a burgeoning complexity, it is an enormously well-endowed, fresh, perfectly balanced tour de force in winemaking. As mentioned above, it should drink well for 50-60 years. This wine possesses this vintage’s classic characteristics of enormous power, massive fruit, and extraordinary freshness and precision - largely unprecedented, particularly for Cabernet-based wines in the Medoc. (Tasted two times.)
 

Score: 98-100 pts Robert Parker Jr, April 2011


Classic Cos with so much spice and fruit, yet refined and sexy. Powerful with super silky tannins. Full bodied, yet incredibly compacted. This is so tight and rich with layers of fruit and tannins and a finish that last for minutes on the palate. I asked the head of Cos, Jean-Guillaume Prats, what the alcohol on the wine was, and he said 14.8% alcohol and 3.58 pH. Fab. Try after 2021.
 

Score: 100 James Suckling, November 2011


TThe re-tasting by both Suckling and Parker at the Magical 20 in Hong Kong (although Parker hasn’t officially released an in-bottle score) has generated a huge amount of interest in this wine. As detailed above, Suckling has given the ’09 a maximum of 100 pts.
 
Although not providing an official score or tasting note, Parker, said the following regarding the Cos ’09:

“This is the Chateau that looks down on Lafite Rothschild…..The 2009 is one of the truly monumental wines of Bordeaux. Extraordinary concentration, richness and purity with decades and decades ahead of it. Really quite magnificent. Just stunning, stunning, stunning stuff. A wine of extraordinary concentration and richness. The richest wine that we have tasted here today in pure intensity.”

This alone has encouraged people to believe Parker, who scored the wine 98-100 in barrel and who highlighted Cos as one of his top four wineries of 2011, will follow suit and award Cos d’Estournel its first maximum score.


Recent Performance


TThe data provided by liv-ex, shows the average market value since its release at en primeur. The graph shows the price has stayed pretty flat, fluctuating between a high of £2,780 and a low of £2,500. Despite, the grand vin being released at the its highest ever level the market has supported this over the last 16 months. It hasn’t however shown any significant growth to date, but the current performance shows that this price level is sustainable for Cos d’Estournel.

Whilst some 2009 wines have suffered in the last quarter of 2011 as the market has seen prices soften and the index drop off by some 18%, Cos 2009 has resisted this downward movement. In part this has been a result of the favourable tasting in Hong Kong and the in-bottle score of 100 pts awarded by James Suckling. With these factors in mind, it can be deemed that speculation or investor confidence has helped maintain the value of Cos ’09 in the current market conditions.


Vintage Comparison


In terms of quality comparison, the 2009 is unprecedented, so it is difficult to understand the investment potential of the 2009 in comparison with the ‘great’ vintages of 2005 (98 pts), 2003 (98 pts) and 1982 (95 pts).

 

Cos d’Estournel


2009       £2650
2005       £1600
2003       £1600
1982       £3200


With the 2009 Cos d’Estournel a potential 100 pt wine, one can read more into its intrinsic investment potential value by comparing it against other super-second or non first growth wines which have also received 100 pts:


 

Wine

Vintage

Price

L'Eglise Clinet

2005

£4800

La Mission Haut Brion

2000

£5250

Pavie

2000

£3600

Montrose

1990

£4850

Clinet

1989

£5200

La Mission Haut Brion

1989

£9000

La Mission Haut Brion

1982

£9000

Pichon-Longueville Comtesse de Lalande

1982

£5400

     
  Average Price

£5888

  (without LMHB)

£4770


The table above shows that not only will Cos d’Estournel join a small group of wines scored 100 pts by Robert Parker outside the big 8, but the average price per case is just under £6,000. Even if you take out La Mission Haut Brion, which as the sister property to Haut Brion, and considered by many as a ‘sixth’ first growth the average price is just under £5,000 per case. This underlines the affect a maximum score from Robert Parker has and it also gives a clearer indication of the investment potential of Cos d’Estournel 2009.


Outlook


  • Strong Brand Identity

  • Growing Interest in ‘Super-Seconds’ in the Far East

  • 2009 vintage scored 100 pts by James Suckling and 98-100 by Robert Parker Jr

  • Parker recently described Cos 09 as one of the ‘truly monumental wines of Bordeaux’

  • Recent performance has gone against the general market

  • Price has been sustained since release at en primeur

  • 100 point wines from non-first growths average £5-6,000 per case

Taking everything into account we would expect that Cos d’Estournel has the potential to trade at £5,000 per case in the future. Over a 3-5 year investment hold we fully expect this wine to achieve 15% per annum and with current market trends expected to see demand for the top wines increase 10 fold over the next decade, it could outperform these expectations. As a potential 100 point wine from Parker, it will certainly hold its value and we consider this a low risk stock. Furthermore as a part of a balanced wine portfolio this will provide value, growth potential and low risk.

     
         
         
         
 
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