Cos D'Estournel 1994
A word of admiration and praise is in order for Bruno Prats. One of St.-Estephe's most forward thinking producers, Prats is never content with merely making outstanding wine. Over the last few years he has improved Cos d'Estournel, already one of the great wines of Bordeaux, by eliminating any filtration at bottling, and replacing the standard paper label with one made of plastic so it will not disintegrate in damp, humid cellars. Additionally, the quality of his wines in such difficult vintages as 1992 and 1993 has been remarkable. Readers should also note that a second wine, the beautifully packaged Les Pagodes de Cos, has been implemented with the 1994 vintage. It appears to be a fine second wine. While tasting through Cos d'Estournel's wines, it was interesting to taste the unfiltered 1994 against the same cuvee of wine that was put through the normal filtration. The filtered cuvee was an excellent wine (I rated it 88), but as Bruno Prats and several other people at the tasting could easily see, it had less opacity, color, and aromatic interest, and far less volume and mid-palate. Most Bordeaux chateaux continue to do too much fining and filtering, but some of the more seriously run estates are curtailing the most abusive clarification procedures, and are finally opening their minds to the negative impact too much fining and filtration can cause. Sadly, most of my colleagues have fallen hook, line, and sinker for the standard response from oenologists and producers on this issue ... "fining and filtration have no effect on a wine."
Cos d'Estournel's unfiltered 1994 is one of the top wines of the vintage. It boasts an opaque blue/black/purple color, as well as a fabulously sweet nose of black fruits, licorice, pain grillee, and Asian spices. Full-bodied, with sweet, opulent fruit that reveals none of the vintage's tough tannin, this remarkably rich, well-balanced, classic wine will prove to be uncommonly long-lived. Anticipated maturity: 2003-2025. Cos d'Estournel is clearly producing wines that are often of first-growth potential.