A lesson in genuinely great wine, the 2005 Cos d’Estournel is a monster of a wine that delivers an incredible level of opulence and decadence while staying weightless and elegant on the palate, with no sensation of heaviness. This is what truly great wine is all about. Based on 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot, and the final 4% Cabernet Franc, this dense ruby/plum-hued Saint-Estèphe offers up a monster bouquet of blackcurrants, unsmoked tobacco, licorice, toasted bread, classy oak, and cedar pencil. While it starts out reserved and almost understated, this is a wine that blossoms with air (I drank this bottle over two days, showing best on day two). Full-bodied, powerful, and decadent on the palate, with moderate acidity, it has a wealth of silky tannins, a stacked mid-palate, and a great, great finish. It reminds me of the 2009, if not an improved 1982, or even a slightly fresher 2003. Regardless, it’s a thrilling wine in every sense, and I fear with the focus on acidity and freshness in today's wine world, we might not see this style of great wine for some time.
The purity of fruit in this is fascinating with plums, currants and other dark fruits. Then there is another layer of spices and chocolate. So much cassis. Full and very layered with chewy polished tannins and a long, long finish. Just starting to open. Changes all the time.
There have of course been great vintages since 2005, but the top examples from this year could be the greatest wines of the past two decades. The 2005 grapes were near perfect during the growing season, with flowering completed in three days, followed by similarly smooth and quick colour change and a harvest that finished on 9 October – a touch earlier than many of the neighbouring estates. The percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend is among the highest ever at this château. It tastes much younger than the 2004 vintage right now, as you would expect, but it's the rich and complex layers that really express the quality. It has the sense of cramming a handful of fruit into your mouth straight from the hedgerow, with cassis and crushed blackberry flavours. The tannins are soft but doing their job, with wonderful layers of liquorice and slate. Brambly, cheerful and effortless, there's an almost wild side to this wine, both free-flowing and more than living up to its reputation. Good luck trying to predict when this wine will reach its end. (JA)
The 2005 Cos d’Estournel is another great success from this property, which is owned by Michel Reybier. A superstar of St.-Estèphe in this vintage, this wine has a dense ruby/purple color, beautiful, sweet cassis and blackcurrant fruit, some floral notes, spice and a touch of oak in a full-bodied, layered, impressive multi-dimensional style. The tannins are surprisingly sweet and well-integrated, as is the acidity, alcohol and wood. This is a beauty and certainly the top wine of St.-Estèphe. Drink it over the next 25+ years. (RP)
The 2005 Clos Fourtet is a dramatic, sweeping Saint-Émilion endowed with tremendous depth and unctuous intensity. Dark cherry, plum, cedar, tobacco and woodsmoke build as this rapturous, deeply textured wine shows off its allure. Silky, plush and wonderfully expressive, Clos Fourtet is fabulous in 2005. Bright saline notes, that are such a signature of Saint-Émilion's plateau, balance all of the natural richness of the year. Readers lucky enough to own it can look forward to another several decades of exceptional drinking. This is a superb effort from the Cuvelier family. (AG)
Saint-Estèphe has a reputation for tannins, and this 2005 Cos lives up to that. But it does much more, because the tannins add richness along with intensely ripe black fruits, dark plums and figs. The dense tannins are finely balanced with fresh acidity, and a long-lasting aftertaste. Impressive. (RV)
Still tight despite a gorgeous wave of rich melted licorice, fig bread, warm plum compote and steeped blackberry flavors. Lovely alder, black tea and balsam wood details give this added range and a sense of detail through the finish before a wall of graphite-edged grip shows up. We're still in wait mode here. (JM, Web-2018)
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