AOC Saint-Estèphe (Bordeaux)
It has been said that in some national literary contests, the finalists have nothing to envy in the winners. What’s more, some even claim that the finalists are better and higher quality. Despite the obvious differences, something similar happens in the world of wine, where those considered the worst can be just as good, or almost as good as the most prestigious ones.
In France, for example, this happens between the A.O.C. Pauillac and the A.O.C. Saint-Estèphe. Both denominations are located in northern Médoc, between the Gironde estuary and the Atlantic, in an area with more than 20 different types of soil. Separated only by a stream, there are hardly any differences in climate or terroir between them. However, in the eyes of the Official Bordeaux Wine Classification of 1855, the quality of these neighbouring areas cannot be considered equal. According to the classification, devised by Napoleon III for the Universal Exhibition in Paris, the A.O.C. Pauillac is worthy of its place among the premier cru, while the chateaux in the A.O.C. Saint Estèphe are relegated to the other four categories. But far from being a cause for complacency, this encourages them to continue producing high quality wines, like Les Pagodes de Cos.
Les Pagodes de Cos is a red wine made at the Château Cos d'Estournel, by blending the different grape varieties grown in a very organised way according to the terroir, age, vineyard exposure and quality. The aim is to get the best out of the terroir and the varieties. This separation is maintained in the winery, where the grapes are vinified separately. Innovation, which has always been a distinguishing feature of the Château Cos d'Estournel, continues today with its new owner, Michel Reybier. He has chosen to use state-of-the-art facilities with isothermal cone-shape tanks and processing exclusively by gravity.
The rest of the miracle takes place in the cellar, dug under the vat room. It is completely insulated and stays at a constant temperature. This is where the wine ages in new oak barrels.
Les Pagodes de Cos 2014 is a red wine made from Cabernet Sauvignon (60%) and Merlot (40%). On the nose it is bold with notes of blackberry, dark chocolate and mint. On the palate it is medium-bodied. It begins with a smooth entry, and continues with a velvety feel with a fresh and firm tannin. The acidity is well balanced. There are hints of pepper, plums, spices, mushrooms and truffles. It has a flavoursome finish, where the minerality stands out alongside a slight aftertaste of graphite.