Master Class: Chateau Cos d’Estournel

I went for my very first wine master class on Friday; Cristalle kindly accompanied me, although I dare say that she also enjoyed herself. ๐Ÿ™‚

It was an eye opening experience – both because of the wines we were going to try (my first time tasting second growth wines!) and because that was our first introduction to the Singapore wine aficionados. While they weren’t intimidating, they had quite a knowledge of the Bordeaux wines and could confidently prattle off the different vintages and labels and compare them to our tastings that night. We had quite a lively conversation at our table, exchanging stories about wine tasting in Bordeaux, talking about wine investments, and about all the different tasting events held in Singapore.

We started the event off with a glass of white Chateau Cos D’Estournel 2006. One guy at my table said that it had a really strong Chardonnay nose, while I thought that it tasted like a Sauvignon Blanc. Later, one of the presenters for the master class sat at our table for a bit, and she commented that it was probably a blend of both, and some Semillon. Tasting it, I was struck by how completely old world (or perhaps another word would be rustic) it felt: none of that crisp fruitiness I’d grown used to in my Australian and Napa cabs. Interestingly, the 2006 was the Chateau’s second ever release of a white wine. And amazingly, it appears to be retailing for around ยฃ100! Gulp. I liked it, but truth be told, wouldn’t have been able to discern it from a much cheaper bottle.

Notes from the vertical tasting of Chateau Cos D’Estournel:

Chateau Cos D’Estournel 2006:

92-94 – Robert Parker
The dense ruby/purple-tinged 2006 recalls such vintages as 1988 and 1996. It offers a classic bouquet of incense, licorice, pain grille, black currants, truffles, and flowers.

First thought when I tasted it: it needs to go with some food. It had a spicy nose, without the jamminess that you’d associate with a Napa wine, and was quite a bit more fragrant than the 2004. I thought I detected some vanilla in the nose as well. It tasted close. But after 1.5 hours in the glass, it softened up quite a bit, and we could now smell the black currants and flowers.

Chateau Cos D’Estournel 2004:

92 – Robert Parker
Huge, black intense color with a strikingly exotic intensity of fruit, really firm and grippy, yet overall smooth and velvety texture, great density and length.

We thought that the nose was a bit muted at first, though it had more fruit (raisiny) than the 2006, mixed in with some spice. The aroma of berries was more distinct after it had sat in the glass for over an hour.

Chateau Cos D’Estournel 2000:

92 – Robert Parker
A dense ruby/purple color is accompanied by scents of green peppers, spice cedar and minerals. The aromatics suggest considerable complexity as this wine ages.

Cristalle did not like this one, thinking that it tasted flat. Everyone else thought that the 2000 vintage notwithstanding, it could do with a few more years of aging before it started really showing its potential. On my part, I quite enjoyed the incense and spice cedar notes.

Chateau Cos D’Estournel 2002:

93 – Robert Parker
Exceptional. Intense aromas of crushed berries, with wet earth and licorice. Full-bodied, with super fine tannins and a medium finish. This is impressive, firm and powerful.

My notes: Wow. I could totally smell the crushed berries! I really loved the nose; the guy sitting next to me said he could see why, since I was a professed Napa wine lover. This was my favorite tasting of the night, so much so that I later asked for a full glass to enjoy, heh. The tannins were super smooth on this one too. Mmm!

Chateau Cos D’Estournel 1996:

93 – Robert Parker
A young, intense color. Good aromas of preserves and fruits. Exceptionally long in the mouth. Very silky tannins. A dazzling finish, full of flavor.

Definitely the most developed wine of the lot. Not as fruity as the 2002, with a lot more spice on the nose, but it had a beautiful body and a nice long finish. Cristalle, with a satisfied look, “I like.”

All in all, I had a really good time, and I’m seriously considering attending the Chianti master class this next coming Sunday evening. ๐Ÿ˜€ It was quite exciting to get a peek into the wine community here in Singapore, and to chat with serious wine geeks.

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