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The Wine Advocate - Robert Parker - October 1994
95 Points "Tasted 7 Times Since Bottling With Consistent Notes. The 1986 is a highly extracted wine, with a black/ruby color and plenty of toasty, smoky notes in its bouquet that suggest ripe plums and licorice. Evolving at a glacial pace, it exhibits massive, huge, ripe, extremely concentrated flavors with impressive depth and richness. Anticipated maturity: 1996-2010."
Wine Spectator - May 1989
93 Points "Smells terrific, with great concentration of berry and cassis aromas, but the prominent tannins tend to cover the flavors, requiring cellaring until at least 1995. On balance, the concentration of fruit wins in the end."
The call of faraway lands. As mysterious and intriguing as a lone adventurer returning from a solitary sail, Cos d’Estournel is slow to reveal itself. Little by little, it evokes stories of distant places, market stalls brimming with unfamiliar fruits, spices and wares, village festivities warmed by the joy of revelers and the setting sun, and sumptuous visions of ladies and their voluptuous curves. A myriad of scents, colors and tastes appeals to the senses. The Grand Vin of Cos d’Estournel is both demure and deliberately sensuous, a fascinating and elegant nectar.
The vineyard of Cos spreads around the château on 91 hectares.The Cabernet Sauvignon vines (60% of the vineyard) find the soil of their choice in the thin layers of gravely soil situated on the top and on the southern slopes of the hill. On the other hand, the Merlot vines (40% of the vineyard) excel on the eastern slopes and on the slopes where the Saint-Estephe limestone bed shows on the surface.
The percentage of Cabernet and Merlot varies from one vintage to another according to the year weather conditions, benefiting successively to the one or the other. Plantation is extremely dense (8000 to 10000 vines per hectare) and the average age of the vineyard is high (35 years old on the average) in order to enable the roots to extend excessively and to obtain a very slender yield per vine that will create the « Grand Goût »
Each vine grower is in charge of 45 000 vines on which they have got to undertake various labours every year. These cultural tasks are for most of them done manually. The harvest is of course manually picked too. And it is by hand that the grapes, once collected in special wooden baskets, will be strictly selected.
A vintage marked by a great lack of water in summer and by harvesting carried out in ideal conditions.
A very intense colour, hardly developed. A complex bouquet which reveals little; spices, liquorice, cedar wood. The structure of delicate tannins is enormous, the flesh is full and rich. Very long in the mouth. A virile wine, a wine with a future which can develop in the cellar over many long years, but which may, even so, be drunk as from today.
68% cabernet sauvignon
2% merlot – 90% new oak barrels