Château Cos Labory: Tasting & Drinking

Château Cos Labory has been, for many years, an estate that I would regard as an under-achiever. Little wonder then that whenever there is a hint of success, reports often come hand-in-hand with notes of surprise or sometimes even disbelief. This was seen very clearly in 2003, when the wine garnered some praise, being something of an “attention-grabber” according to critic’s description. Admittedly the vintage in question was one that seemed to favour the cool and water-retentive clay soils of St Estèphe over some other communes, but nevertheless it does seems as though this was the year that Cos Labory shifted, in the minds of many, from mere hopeful to a potential contender.

My own opinion, however, is that despite such strident praise for the 2003, subsequent vintages suggested there was still unrealised potential here, and I never saw the hoped-for delivery of results. Until recently the 2005 was the best effort, although I think this has been surpassed by the surprisingly decent (there we go with the surprise and disbelief again) 2010 vintage. Note that word though – “decent”. I admit that I have suggested in previous writings that Château Cos Labory was on the way up, but its reluctance to challenge its peers in terms of quality has been frustrating, as it continued to be outclassed by any number of nearby cru bourgeois properties. The wines of the late-20th and early-21st centuries were decent, nothing more than that, and the occasional high notes in 2005 and 2010 were muted whimpers rather than resounding trumpet blasts. The 2007 was ordinary, and I could not even bring myself to award a score to the 2008 vintage at one point, while the 2009 was satisfactory albeit not as interesting as the 2010.

Thereafter came a run of more difficult vintages, 2011, 2012 and of course 2013, of which the more promising was the middle vintage.

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