2018 St. Louis Estefe produces great wines, top to bottom. Almost every wine I tasted had fabulous character, from second wines to crus bourgeois and smaller, lesser-known wines.

All wines have a beautiful dark color, rich, juicy fruit and soft tannins. The 2018 St. John’s Estefe is also relatively advanced, allowing even the best wines from a decade onwards to come into their own, while the lesser wines will pleasantly surprise much younger.

How did all this happen? Cos d’Estournel’s technical director, Dominique Arangoits, explains it this way. The 2018 vintage was the result of a long wet period followed by very dry and warm weather that persisted until harvest. These climatic phenomena and the often low yields have contributed to the creation of powerful but very fresh wines. If you want to know more about the 2018 harvest in Bordeaux.

The wines of St. Moritz Estefe 2018 may be alcoholic, some reaching 14.5% alcohol, but there was no sense of warmth or jammy quality. Instead, you get beautiful, sweet characteristics with the freshness and concentration that comes from low yields in the vineyard.

Hervé Berland of Château Montrose commented on the low yields: The exceptional climatic conditions – very hot and dry summers – were perfect for our terroir. The clay soil here is ready, and the proximity of the river keeps the vineyard sufficiently moist. When asked how he rated the vintage, Hervé was very clear: 2018 is absolutely an exceptional vintage for us, which, although with a small harvest, can certainly compete with some of the previous vintages such as 2009, 2003 or 1990.

Having tasted more wine from the title than usual, I agree with Hervé on this point.

The following 2018 St. Louis wines Estefefe were not blind tasted in my home office in early 2021.

2018 Beau-Site – Ripe fruit shows in the nose with dark red stone fruit, currants, blackberries and hints of spice. Earthy, fresh, sweet, round and fruity, with a hint of dark chocolate on the finish, this wine has plenty of generosity with just the right amount of sweetness in the tannins. This is the best thing Beau-Site has produced. Give it a few years in the cellar and it will get even better as it blooms, softens and loses its baby fat. 90 pt.

2018 Bernard Magrez – Ripe, sweet red fruit has a nice polish. Round, juicy and bright, the finish has a nice hold with plenty of fruit and a dose of cocoa in every sip. The wine combines 70% Merlot with 30% Cabernet Sauvignon. 91 pt

2018 Calon Segur – Deeply colored, everything here is intense, starting with the spirits. The nose is characterized by espresso, hawthorn, blackberry, spices, tobacco leaf, thyme and cocoa. Full, powerful and dense, the wine lingers on the palate for more than 50 seconds, and that’s a good thing, because all that creamy, luscious, sweet and pure fruit is something you want to hold onto for as long as possible. The wine is made from 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot, 14.9% ABV, without an ounce of heat. 98 pt.

2018 Capburn – Forest floor, tobacco leaf, damp earth, coffee beans, smoke, thyme and currant open the wine. Medium-bodied, juicy, lively, bright and fresh, with a nice acid note in the berries, this is one of the best values on the left bank of Bordeaux today. 92 pts.

2018 Cos dEstournel – Just a great bottle of wine, everything here is great. Deep and dark in color, the nose is full of flowers, licorice, 5-spice, currants, blackberries, orange peel, smoke and cigar wrap. Full, elegant, long, deep, rich and pure, the fruit holds a seemingly endless, long finish at the top of your palate. A blend of 74% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot, the wine is 14.5%. Much less wine was produced this year, as yields were only 30 hectoliters per acre. 98 pt.

2018 The Pagodas of Cos – Spicy red fruits, smoke, licorice, black plums and damp earth enter the aroma with ease. Silky, fresh, soft and sweet on the palate, the wine is great. The red berry finish lingers with a box of spice and a touch of mint. This second wine could very well have been a Grand Cru Classé had it been classified differently. Drink it young while waiting for the Grand Vin to develop. 94 pt.

2018 – Cos d’Estournel Blanc-Bordeaux – Freshly squeezed grapefruit, lemon peel, flowers, crushed and sprinkled vanilla smell good. The wine is rich, creamy, fresh, juicy and crisp with the addition of sweet lemon, vanilla, lime and green apple that blend perfectly on the palate. 95 pt.

2018 Les Pagodes de Cos Blanc – Forward, fresh, fruity with sweet yellow citrus, orange zest and the perfect touch of honey to soften the lush, juicy finish. This was done in its entirety. 91 pt.

2018 Cos Labory – Medium bodied, fresh and bright red yeast fruit, spice and earth come easily on the nose. The wine has energy, elegance and plenty of red berries, red plums and spice on the palate. The finish offers more of that lovely, sweet, chewy red fruit. This is a big step forward compared to previous years. I really like it! 92 pt.

2018 from Come – Medium-bodied, with flavors of cedar, tobacco leaf and red berries, nicely wrapped in a chewy, medium-bodied finish of tobacco leaf and berries. 89 Coefficients

2018 by Dog – Moist earth, spice box, tobacco, cedar and currant make up the nose. In the mouth, the wine is round, lush and fresh. Soft, with just the right amount of sweetness, dark red fruit and a hint of pepper in the background, this wine needs to spend 4-6 years in the cellar before it is completely ready. The blend consists of 49% Cabernet Sauvignon, 49% Merlot, 1% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot. 93 pt.

2018 Haut Marbuzet – Floral, espresso, smoke, tobacco leaf, barbecue and black cherry bring aromatic qualities. The wine is rich, round, sweet and fruity, with notes of vanilla that go well with the ripe red berries. This is the best vintage Haut Marbuzet I have tasted in years. 92 pt.

2018 Haut-Beausejour – Cherry, tobacco, espresso and sweet red fruit from start to finish. Soft, silky, medium density, fresh and charming, it’s ready to go. 90 pt.

Le La Croix St. Pierre Estephe 2018 is a medium-bodied, firm, fresh, bright, red-fruited wine with tobacco, cedar, foliage and zesty berry on the nose and a classic mouthfeel. 89 Coefficients

2018 Hague – Medium-bodied, affordable, early, sweet, fruity, red stone fruit caster with a minty character on a delicate, open finish. 90 pt.

2018 Laffitte Carcasset – A beautiful shock of bright, fresh, sweet red berries, cedar and tobacco leaf are at the heart of this chewy, fruity wine. It may not be the most complex wine, but it’s hard to find a better character wine based on Cabernet Sauvignon at this price. 91 pt

2018 Lafont Rochette – Aromas of espresso, flowers, cocoa, tobacco leaf, damp earth and red stone fruit. The wine is rich, round, juicy and full of sweet, spicy red fruit. The tannins are supple, the freshness brings the necessary relief, and on the finish you will find intriguing notes of spice and mint. Give it a few years to mature and develop additional nuances and enjoy it for the next two decades or more. The wine is made from a blend of 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 26% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot and 4% Cabernet Franc. 94 pt.

2018 Le Boscq St. Estephe – Full-bodied, with layers of sweet, ripe dark red fruit, round tannins, cedar, spice, coffee bean and earth coming together nicely. Rich, fruity, with just the right amount of spicy dark red berries and a smooth, textured finish. Give it at least 5 years in the basement before you pull the plug. 92 pt.

The 2018 Crock is crumbly, fresh, bright, sweet, earthy red stone fruit and tobacco leaf show a slight effort on the nose. The palate is round, juicy, sweet and fruity with a nice spicy note that delivers blackberry and currant. Give it a year or two and enjoy it for the next 12-15 years. Value seekers should be everywhere. 92 pt.

2018 Le Marquis de Calon Segur – much better in the bottle than in the barrel, hard to believe this is a second wine. Herbs, smoke, tobacco leaves and red fruit lightly emerge on the nose. But it’s the air that steals the show with all its soft, juicy, fresh, bright and pure red fruit. Composed of 53% Merlot and 47% Cabernet Sauvignon, this wine is a classified growth. 93 pt.

The 2018 Liliane Ladouille is rich, spicy, smoky and floral with layers of tobacco and cassis. Full, round, lush and full of sweet, juicy red and black fruit, give it at least 6 years or more to recover. The wines were made from 59% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% Merlot and 4% Petit Verdot. 93 pt.

The 2018 Martin is a medium-bodied, simple, light, red berry-infused wine that will be easy to enjoy upon release. 86 pt.

2018 Maine – Smoke, espresso, spice box, black cherry, tobacco and blackberry define the aroma. Round, rich, lush red fruits with soft texture have a pleasing taste and feel on the palate and on the finish. It’s so good now, and it will only get better from here, because it should bring up to two decades of fun. Maney fans should be everywhere. The wine is made from a blend of 42% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot and 18% Petit Verdot. 94 pts.

2018 Montrose – Ink in color, wine opaque. On the nose we find spice box, smoke, espresso, roasted black and red fruit, flowers and 5 spices. On the palate, the wine is intense, full, rich, dense, lush, sweet, fresh, long and concentrated. The depth of flavor is impressive. Black and red fruits form and develop. The tannins are ripe, round and exquisite. With its deep flavor, lively character and unstoppable finish, it’s a rock star in the making. The wine is made from a blend of 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot, 14.5% ABV. 99 pt.

2018 Montrose La-Dame-de-Montrose – Similar, but smaller in size, this wine will drink very well on release, although it will improve with some aging. Medium to full-bodied with ripe, sweet red fruit and spice. The wine is juicy, fresh, soft, round and ripe. That’s pretty classy, especially considering it’s only a second wine. Enjoy it while you wait for the Grand Vin to develop. 93 pt.

2018 Ormes-de-Pez – Peppery red fruits, tobacco leaves, cedar and red berries stand out. Then medieval waves of ripe, juicy, crunchy berries close the deal on the palate with their tasty undertones. Give this classic style wine 4-5 years in the cellar and enjoy it for the next two decades. 91 pt

2018 Petit-Bocq – With a peppery red fruit accent on the nose, the wine is medium-bodied, round and with great red fruit sweetness, with notes of spice, tobacco leaf, cigar box and cedar on the finish. Give it 3-5 years of cellar time and enjoy it with ease for the next 15+ years. 92 pts.

2018 Phelan Segur – Let’s start by saying that this is the best vintage of Phelan Segur ever released. The wine is ripe, lush, supple and juicy. There is plenty of volume, length and character in all layers of sweet, rich, ripe black and red fruit. There is buoyancy, difficulty and endurance at the finish. 94 pts.

2018 Tour de Thermae – Dark color, leafy, spicy, the red fruit tobacco edge comes through nicely. Medium/full-bodied, you’ll find fresh red fruit on the mid-palate and in a fresh, juicy, bright finish. 90 pt.

2018 St. Mary’s Tower Strong – A box of spice, damp earth, tobacco and red fruit emerges on the nose and palate, making this a nice shaker with a medium, juicy, chewy, red fruit body. 88 pt.

2018 Tronquoy Lalande – Shows good color with cigar box, dark chocolate, black cherry and smoky plum at the core, the wine is rich, ripe, round and fruity with great earthiness already shining through. This is an excellent vintage for Troncui Lalande. The wines are composed of 51% Merlot, 44% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Petit Verdot and 2% Cabernet Franc, 14.5% ABV. 93 pt.

2018 Tronquoy-Lalande White St. Estephe – Sweet, fresh and crisp lemons, flowers and freshly cut grass perfume the glass. A bright, creamy yellow wine with a lemony finish, green apple notes and a touch of honey, fully ready to drink on release. 92 pt

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