Cos-Montrose Battle

Restaurant Bottles, Sas van Gent
Tasted Saturday, September 22, 2012 by jkoenen with 949 views

Introduction

14 participants, 16 vintages of these fabled wines. And some ringers, of course.
All (red) wines tasted single blind: we knew what was coming, but not in what order.
All wines were popped and decanted immediately before the flight was served.

Flight 1 - Welcome wine (1 Note)

Served blind

  • 2005 Lur-Saluces "Y" 92 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Bordeaux Supérieur

    Clear straw yellow. Oaky. And a whiff of oxidation. Lovely elegance and balance on the nose which is interesting and complex, not too dense. First impressions on the nose took me to traditional Trebbiano (Valentini?) or white Rhone (Beaucastel?).
    Mouthfeel is young and vibrant, wonderful herbal impressions, ripe yellow fruit, nutty hints of oxidation. Quite heavily oaked, though. Sufficient acidity. Beautiful wine, yet hard to determine where it's from and also where it's going. The controversy between the young, vivid impressions and the hints of oxidation is intriguing, yet worries me a little. 18/20

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Flight 2 - 1 (2 Notes)

  • 2002 Château Montrose 89 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe

    Meaty, sinewy, relatively elegant wine. Austere and tannic, classical structure, vivid acidity, slightly metallic finish. Softens with air. 17-17.5/20

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  • 2002 Château Cos d'Estournel 89 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe

    Sweet nose of kirsch, hot chocolate. Little fruit on the palate, espresso and other burned flavors. Supple and open mouthfeel, tasty, but lacking finesse. Slightly crude. 17/20

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Flight 3 - 2 (2 Notes)

  • 1999 Château Cos d'Estournel 93 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe

    Extremely well balanced and classic outdoorsy impressions, très Bordeaux. Earth, forest floor, barnyard, coffee, butterscotch, cinnamon, cloves. Fantastic nose, great wine. Drink now. 18-18.5/20

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  • 1999 Château Montrose 91 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe

    Slightly incoherent upon opening, showing poop, rosehips and red berry fruit. Gets into the groove after some aeration, building up concentration and definition. A strong, masculine effort. 17.5-18/20

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Flight 4 - 3 (2 Notes)

  • 1994 Château Cos d'Estournel 92 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe

    Robust and classic in the nose. Much softer and quite approachable in the mouth. Muscular and masculine, lovely vegetal complexity. Really very nice, gains weight and class while sitting in the glass. 18/20

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  • 1994 Château Montrose 91 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe

    Very seductive and open. Ripe, juicy dark fruit. Smoky notes, like incense. Ready to go. Yum! 17.5-18/20

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Flight 5 - 4 (2 Notes)

  • 2006 Château Montrose 92 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe

    Coffee, cocoa, beef blood, cinnamon and cloves. Dark fruit, powerful, savory, outdoorsy, chalky tannines, hint of greenness? Well balanced and classical. 18/20

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  • 2006 Château Cos d'Estournel 91 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe

    Sweet, seductive, kirsch, chocolate, christmas pudding. Youthful, some overripeness, slightly bitter aftertaste. 17.5-18/20

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Flight 6 - 5 (3 Notes)

  • 2000 Château Calon-Ségur 93 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe

    Chocolate covered blackberries, peppery spices, cranberries, smoked ham and bacon, lascivious, seductive. Great wine, approachable now. Will last 10+ years. 18-18.5/20

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  • 2000 Château Cos d'Estournel 94 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe

    Large scaled wine, showing a little tight and grumpy at the moment. After aggressive swirling it opens up, and showes its pedigree. This is how the lauded Bordeaux wines from 2000 should present: like a comfortable, natural mixture of old-fashioned traditions and bright, modern and stylish attire. Well done. 18.5/20

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  • 2000 Château Montrose 95 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe

    Took some time to open up. Very classicly built wine, almost old-fashioned, with the clear characteristics of a ripe and renowned vintage. Dense, impressive, mysterious, but needs more time to unfold. Bursting with promise and potential. Top-class. 18.5-19/20

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Flight 7 - 6 (2 Notes)

  • 2004 Château Cos d'Estournel 92 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe

    Nose starts kind of veggie. Cardboard, too. Gets more friendly and natural with aeration. On the mouth this is lush, round and supple, very drinkable, herbal complexity, sufficient ripeness, nice transparency, not too concetrated. Outstanding wine for the fans of classicly styled Bordeaux. 18/20

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  • 2004 Château Montrose 91 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe

    Open, sexy, seductive. Kirsch, coffee, dark chocolate, indian spices. Slight sense of sweetness on the palate. Not very complex, yet very, very tasty. 17.5-18/20

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Flight 8 - 7 (2 Notes)

  • 2003 Château Montrose 90 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe

    Nose of vegetable soup and ripe red fruits. Elegant and fresh nose. Seems reticent at the moment, lacks definition and complexity. Some burned flavours, too. Tasty but not remarkable. 17,5/20

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  • 2003 Château Cos d'Estournel 90 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe

    Nose of overripe fruit. Extremely youthful, yet accessible wine. Very juicy, lots of concentration and extraction. Couldn't find any finesse nor complexity, though. Awkward phase? 17.5/20

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Flight 9 - 8 (4 Notes)

  • 1982 Château Calon-Ségur 97 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe

    Unbelievable balance and finesse... This is the ultimate mature Bordeaux. Finish is extremely graceful and long. Aromas are hinting at tea leaf, mint, cigarbox and the fruit is as fresh as can be... Although the nose could be slightly more expressive, this is an absolute dream of a wine and it painted a musing smile on my face. This work of art was built to make a few people happy. 19-19.5/20

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  • 1982 Château Montrose 95 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe

    Scorched earth, roasted meat, firecrackers, barnyard, all around a core of black jammy fruit. Very powerful and convincing. Fantastic wine, but because it's more forceful, more coarse than the first one in this flight, it's just slightly less impressive... 18.5-19/20

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  • 1982 Château Cos d'Estournel Flawed

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe

    Corked.

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  • 1982 Château de Marbuzet 93 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe

    Served as a back-up bottle for the corked Cos 82, this was very bright, fresh and fruity on the nose, raspberries, cherries. Wonderful secondaries like tobacco, cigar box and forest floor. This wine impressed me for its youthfulness, clarity, vitality and definition. Especially after the announcement of the wines identity... 18-18.5/20

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Flight 10 - 9 (2 Notes)

  • 2001 Château Montrose 93 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe

    Animal-like nose, classic feel. Wonderful, macerated black fruit. Great acidity, chalky and dense. Great wine. 18-18.5/20

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  • 2001 Château Cos d'Estournel 91 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe

    Lactic nuances of cherry yoghurt. Powerful, juicy. Lacking some definition and personality, though very tasty and supple. A delicious crowd-pleaser. 17.5-18/20

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Flight 11 - 10 (2 Notes)

Flight 12 - 11 (3 Notes)

  • 1989 Château Calon-Ségur 92 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe

    Opens up a little awkward with tart rhubarb-like freshness and acidity. Red currants on the nose. Aeration clears the sky and sheds light on a very elegant and pure wine, great secondairies in the aftertaste, which also contains refreshing acidity leaving a wonderful light and clean impression. 18/20

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  • 1989 Château Montrose 91 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe

    More austere and masculine then the preceding wine. Striking notes of anise/fennel. Vigorous, sourish tannines. Lacking the complexity and length to be extraordinary. 17.5-18/20

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  • 1989 Château Cos d'Estournel 94 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe

    Bold, coarse and masculine. Seems to have a lot of time to go. Dark fruit, leather, horse stable and beef stew prevail at the moment. Would like to try this one in 3 to 5 years time. 18.5/20

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Flight 13 - 12 (2 Notes)

  • 1996 Château Montrose Flawed

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe

    Corked.

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  • 1996 Château Cos d'Estournel 92 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe

    Very sweet, sexy and dense. Powerful and alcoholic. Seemed quite young and unevolved to me. Hard to pin down. Dusty, earthy, plummy fruit. Looking for balance, focus and direction, but a really nice wine. Felt that this particular one was in desperate need of decanter time... 18/20

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Flight 14 - 13 (2 Notes)

  • 1986 Château Cos d'Estournel 85 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe

    Blood, lavas, dusty libraries. No fruit, astringent acidity. Disharmonious. This bottle was way past its prime. 15/20

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  • 1986 Château Montrose 87 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe

    Clean and clear, but lacks live and panache. I think this wine has passed its peak a few years ago. Still considerable length, medium bodied, some remembrance of ripe fruit, but the finish is marked by old acidity and rusty impressions. Palatable, alas one of the weaker wines of tonight. 16/20

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Flight 15 - 14 (2 Notes)

  • 1995 Château Montrose 92 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe

    Classic and cool. Balsamic notes, gloomy and serious. Wonderful, complex wine, somewhat clipped finish. Slightly inconspicuous in this line-up, but probably outstanding on its own. 18/20

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  • 1995 Château Cos d'Estournel 94 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe

    Canned cherries, mixed spices, very seductive. A beautiful, stylish, well balanced, very drinkable wine. Impressively charming. 18.5/20

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Flight 16 - 15 (2 Notes)

  • 2005 Château Cos d'Estournel 96 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe

    Chockfull of fruit. Luxurious oak, gorgeous spice box aromas. Classic cloth, modern cut. Very broad, intense and distinguished. The fruit is insanely pure and well defined, garnished with a dash of cherry licqueur. This is regal stuff! And way to young, of course. 19/20

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  • 2005 Château Montrose 93 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe

    Inky, dense and sultry, earthy, great spicebox component, wonderful mystique nose. In the mouth this is very much overdone, lots of make-up. Very tannic, mountains of oak, needs a lot of time. Fantastic nose, brutal palate. 18-18.5/20

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Flight 17 - 16 (2 Notes)

  • 2008 Château Cos d'Estournel 96 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe

    Nose is slightly holding back, but is really deep and drop dead gorgeous. Very harmonious and expressive on the palate. Forward, hedonistic, creamy, carressing mouthfeel, blackcurrants, cuban cigars, cedar, clay, rocks and lead pencil. Very primary and complimentary at the moment. This is so good... 19/20

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  • 2008 Château Montrose 94 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe

    Outstanding wine, more grip, more tannines, more sturdy than the first one in this flight. Peppery forestfruits, vanillin, creamy oak. Great, lots of room for improvement. 18.5/20

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Flight 18 - 17 (3 Notes)

  • 2009 Château Cos d'Estournel 94 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe

    Massive concentration. Polished, slick, sultry, classy, velvety tannines which seem to unfold in the back. Incessant, built for eternity, yet very tight and unforgiving at the moment. Just showing the tip of the iceberg today. Not for current drinking, IMHO. Will probably gain at least 4 points in rating at 10 years from now. My god, what a wine. 18.5/20 for now.

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  • 2009 Château Montrose 94 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe

    Extremely forceful in the mouth. Left me stupified. Brutal wine. Crammed with roasted coffee, leather, new oak and the blackest of fruits. Hardly enjoyable at the moment for me, thanks to its raw power, but I'd like to re-encounter this one in 10 years time. For now, 18.5/20

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  • 2007 Vérité La Joie 94 Points

    USA, California, Sonoma County

    Very lactic, super soft and concentrated. The palate is saturated with juicy and ultraripe fruit. Bulky tannines only show up in the aftertaste. Although this is much to young to evaluate (for me), I can sense its breed and class. 18.5/20

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Closing

A very instructive and impressive tasting. In my opinion it's very difficult to determine clear characteristics of both chateaux. Sometimes Montrose was more feminine and elegant than a stubborn and masculine Cos. A few wines later, it was the other way around: Cos seemed more lush and lascivious, while Montrose showed more traditional and austere. So no clear conclusions here.
At the end of the evening I had to admit that Cos surprised me, since I thought I had clear preferences for Montrose's supposed classical, ageworthy structure. Not. Now I know that both wines can be enormously impressive.
Furthermore we had some minor disappointments: both 03's, which performed sub-par, Montrose 89 and 90, which I thought were going to rock my world, and 2 corked Cosses.
On the other hand there were excellent showings from wines from so-called 'drinkers-vintages': 1994, 1999 and 2001. Superb stuff!
And Calon Segur can often keep up with its better known siblings!
Personal WOTN: 1982 Calon Ségur
Other wines to look out for: 99 and 08 Cos, 01 Montrose.

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