‘Possibly the finest Pagodes the estate has produced, as Jean-Guillaume Prats said, this 2010 is better than many vintages of Cos d’Estournel produced in the sixties and seventies.‘ Robert Parker
Following on from yesterday’s premise that Bordeaux still offers some of the best value for money globally, we are delighted to offer a wine from one of the world’s best Estates in the world for under £30 per bottle, Les Pagodes de Cos 2010. Modern innovations in winemaking are as much to do with good practice and commitment to quality as they are technology. One of the biggest innovations over the last forty years has been the ascent of Second Wines. Second Wines make sense commercially; they developed naturally out of the desire of estates to produce a first wine that perennially pushes the envelope of quality. Second Wines are selected from the same vineyards and parcels as the first wine; they correspondingly offer the highest quality, yet at a fraction of the price. Another great advantage is that generally speaking they can be consumed a little younger, although they age wonderfully: the drinking window of Les Pagodes de Cos 2010 is 2013 to 2028.
Les Pagodes de Cos is the glorious Second Wine of Cos d’Estournel and in 2010, Jean-Guillaume Prats, who was at the time the managing director of Cos d’Estournel said, ‘this 2010 is better than many vintages of Cos d’Estournel produced in the sixties and seventies.’ In 2010 Cos d’Estournel scored 97+ points and costs £125 per bottle, Les Pagodes de Cos scored 93 and costs £29 per bottle. Furthermore, Les Pagodes de Cos’ score of 93 points surpasses the 2013, 2011, 2008 and even the 2000 scores of Cos d’Estournel. With a score of 93, Robert Parker thinks that Les Pagodes de Cos 2010 is as good as Cos d’Estournel 2001, high praise indeed.
The reason for this high score is twofold; firstly, Les Pagodes de Cos comes from very similar vines as the first wine and is made with the same savoir-faire. Secondly, it derives from one of the best vintages ever. The latter point is worth further thought: In poorer vintages selection can be more severe, with more grapes going into the Second Wine and less into the first. However, in truly great vintages, most of the vines in the best parcels produce very healthy fruit, as such the Second Wines are made from first wine quality grapes. Les Pagodes de Cos is made from the same vines and exacting standards that are used to make the Grand Vin. However, Pagodes uses a smaller percentage of the Estate’s older vines and spends less time in oak with a lower percentage of new oak. One of the reasons for this is that the Pagodes is designed to be approached younger.
Some argue that Second wines should be considered as wines in their own right, they are, after all, some of the best wines in the world. However, they remain one of the best bargains in the fine wine market. Les Pagodes de Cos 2010, along with La Dame de Montrose 2010, are two of the greatest second wines ever made.
A Bit of History
Cos d’Estournel was named eponymously after Louis-Gaspard d’Estournel who inherited the Estate in 1810. He found particular success in India where his wine sold at prices far above his rivals and he became known as “the Maharaja of Saint Estèphe”. To celebrate this success he built the pagoda style property which today is still one of the most recognisable sites in Bordeaux from which Pagodes derives its name. Cos d’Estournel is the greatest wine estate in St.Estephe and the terroir boasts wonderful gravel on top of a limestone plateau, or Cos, which translates as ‘hill of pebbles’. If it were not for a small stream separating it from Lafite Rothschild it would have been classified as a First Growth in 1855.
Les Pagodes de Cos d’Estournel 2010, 12×75 – £355 IB or £455.52 incl duty and VAT
Probably the best second wine ever made at Cos (although the 2009 should not be discounted), the 2010 Les Pagodes de Cos is a blend of 62% Cabernet Sauvignon and 38% Merlot finishing at 14% natural alcohol. This wine exhibits beautiful, silky tannins as well as sweet, rich mulberry and black currant fruit with hints of spring flowers, licorice and subtle toast. A full-bodied, opulent and -ideal- second wine, most people who have tasted it would probably agree that it is actually better than many vintages of Cos d-Estournel from the 1960s and 1970s. Drink it over the next 10-15 years.
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