We spend a lot of time here in the office on the great vintage debate: 2016 or 2019? The truth is that both vintages are the real deal: 2016 is fresher and probably wins the argument from an academic point of view. 2019 is the more forward of the two and probably wins from the seduction point of view. Both vintages have produced some brilliant wines.
One recently-tasted cracker is 2016 Pagodes de Cos, a wine that has everything that is great about the vintage. Full, fresh and poised, with absolutely nothing out of place, it has the impeccable balance of 2016 – this is a wine that will keep for years - with a freshness that gives the wine immediate appeal. You can drink this tonight, next Sunday or in five years’ time and it will shine.
2016 is probably the pinnacle of Aymeric de Gironde’s time at Cos d’Estournel. The terroir here is exceptional – they do like to describe how they overlook Lafite – and the grand vin in 2016 gets the full 100 points from Neal Martin, Lisa Perrotti-Brown and James Suckling.
The second wine, Pagodes de Cos, does exactly as the old cliché suggests: you have the character of the grand vin, in a wine that is more approachable, at a fraction of the price (in this case about a fifth).
Neal Martin writes of the Pagodes: “Utterly harmonious, with a caressing and beautifully poised finish. This is a top-class Saint-Estèphe that will age with panache.” Lisa Perrotti-Brown: “it fills the palate with generous black fruits and some compelling red fruit sparks, supported by ripe, grainy tannins and finishing long and spicy.” The bottle opened in the office impressed the whole team, and was positively brilliant when finished off by one of us the following evening.
Our 2016 vs 2019 debate will continue. In the meantime, if you are looking for a wine that has everything that is great about 2016, Pagodes de Cos ticks all the boxes and, moreover, for not much outlay.