The 01 Pagodes de Cos, the second wine of Cos d’Estournel, is reckless, obstinate and from all accounts of previous vintages, annoying. The initial brett farmyard characters will either delight or disgust you depending on whether worn leather smells like the promise of sitting in a new car or crusty old boots. But to me, it’s not that simple.
I started tasting this wine and for a full half-hour still no fruit but only a durm und strang chord of leather and farmyard (the Cos style). Was it corked? I left it, but then got caught up in a party of bubbles at work for a couple of hours; I came home, and found another party in the kitchen drinking Caprihinas. Dang and argh, said the grumpy worker in me, I just want some peace to understand this wine! Pagodes longed for a library and a cigar and a serious conversation. So did I. It asked for the luxury of quiet that is so hard to find in London. So did I. Thankfully while I was ping’d from party to party, the fruit had come through: playing only the black keys while the leather became sweeter rather than darker, a complete reversal of most modern wines: where the fruit is sweet and the tertiary characters of leather become more pronounced over time (if there is a story at all to the wine). There is no filthy/gorgeous dichotomy to Pagodes because I found it to be both; the all encompassing smell of a lover. Instead of thinking of a food match, to complete it I imagined a paperback read well enough every fifth page had been licked. The brett style is not for everyone. Although certain shushers, I’m sure, will love it.