The Cambridge University Wine Society Annual Dinner 2012 held at Magdalene College, Cambridge warmly welcoming the wines of Cos d'Estournel and its President Director, Jean-Guillaume Prats; along with a short introduction to Bordeaux by Serena Sutcliffe MW.
1999 Pol Roger Vintage (magnum)
Golden in colour, with fine mousse. Bready and yeasty, lots of developed character, creamy and savoury at the same time; feels substantial. Theres a richness and generosity on the palate but still lots of nervy, focused acidity; yes, this was served as an aperitif but I feel there was plenty of complexity and presence there for this to be a food wine.
Pan Fried Scallops with Pancetta, Garden Pea Puree & Lemon Oil
2008 Cos d'Estournel Blanc
2008 Cos d'Estournel Blanc
Green notes, along with citrus and a waxy, almost oily note; smells weighty, if thats possible. Palate is dominated by the citrus freshness, but its tempered with judicious use of oak, adding weight and mouthfeel, even a slightly struck match note; good concentration, lemony intensity showing. Couldn't ask for a better match with the food.
2005 Les Pagodes de Cos (magnum)
Dark fruit on the nose, blackberries mostly, with a green bellpepper whiff; also secondary notes of sweet spice, tanned leather and smoked tobacco, theres something that smells like ash, like something thats been recently burnt. Fruit forward, ripe red fruit which has settled, showing a rounded, but measured approach; touch of rusty / bloody note to this, and also a nice savoury tinge. Very together, but rather underwhelming, to be honest; I probably wouldnt be able to pick this out from a high quality Cru Bourgeois; doubly disappointing that it came from magnums and seemed somewhat tired. Drink now - 2015+.
Oven Roasted Fillet of Norfolk Venison with Chanterelle Mushrooms, Rich Red Wine Jus, Dauphinoise Potatoes, Celeriac Puree & Green Bean
1989 Cos d'Estournel
Green beans, green peppers and okra, with a slight woody edge to it; plenty of secondary notes of fragrant incense, sandalwood and cedar, then some spices too; was very lifted and fragrant. Palate is soft and yielding; red fruit dominates, still sweet and ripe; tannins have softened out, barely showing; plush and generous on the mid palate; all so very together. Has probably entered its optimum drinking window; drink now - 2020.
1995 Cos d'Estournel
Dark fruits on the nose, with green pepper and a slight burnt note again, like something caramelised / been barbecued / grilled; then theres the aromatics of tobacco, cedar and sandalwood again, sweet spice with star anise; wonderful aromas. Palate is restrained, almost holding itself back; but theres an opulence and generosity of fruit hidden behind it; also great depth of flavour in the wine, beckons you in. Fruit is concentrated and structured and doesnt hit you in one go; some grainy tannins towards the finish just to remind you its not at its peak just yet. Properly good stuff; drink now - 2025+.
Selection of Cheeses
2003 Cos d'Estournel
Dark fruits and cassis with smoky overtones; bellpeppers and again, a slightly burnt / barbecued note; theres savoury spices, like curry / Bombay mix snacks; also some burnt incense. On the palate, theres lots of dark fruit; but its fresh and doesnt feel heavy despite its susbstantial concentration; mouthfeel is generous and wide but feels very integrated and together; spicy on the finish. Grainy but ripe tannins towards the end; incredibly well-knit; powerful yet seductive. In terms of absolute quality, this is the best Cos d'Estournel of the night and its still unfurling in its youth, this has a couple of decades ahead of it; drink 2015 - 2035+
Traditional Crème Brûlee, Shortbread Biscuit & Seasonal Berries
2001 Hetszolo Tokaji Aszu 5 puttonyos
On the nose, its honeyed with dried fruits (apricots and nectarines) along with sultanas; quite lifted, with floral tones of acacia; smells properly sweet. On the palate, it actually feels light; theres a lot of sugar, but I'm guessing its on the lighter side of a 5 puttonyos. Dried apricots and marmalade, along with a decent lick of acid; feels fresh; somewhat lacking in concentration though; good balance.