CHÂTEAU COS D'ESTOURNEL

CHÂTEAU COS D'ESTOURNEL

SAINT-ESTEPHE
2ème Cru Classé
Owner:
Michel Reybier
Manager:
Aymeric de Gironde
Website
Château Cos d’Estournel, the creation of an idiosyncratic individual nicknamed the "Maharajah of Saint-Estèphe" for his taste for wines which had done the return-trip to India, is one of the very finest Bordeaux wines. It is one of the ‘Super Seconds’, a category comprising few Second-Classed Growth Médoc estates which have managed to raise their standards to a sort of intermediary level between Second and First-Classed Growth.
CHÂTEAU COS D'ESTOURNEL

The winery was built by the founder of the estate, Louis-Gaspard d'Estournel, who was nicknamed the Maharajah of Saint-Estèphe not because he exported wine to India – there was nothing exceptional in that, the fact that the English consumed copious quantities of claret in India is born out by documents of the time – but because he was the first to think of selling "Returned from India" wines, that is wines which had been sent in barrel to Bombay or Calcutta and then been shipped back to Europe. This singular gentleman, who shaped the Cos we know today, died a ruined man in 1853, two years before the 1855 classification of Bordeaux wines which ranked Cos d'Estournel as the top Saint-Estèphe.
Today, Cos d’Estournel belongs to Michel Reybier. At the end of 2012, Aymeric de Gironde steps into Jean-Guillaume Prats shoes in order to run the estate.

Cos is separated from Lafite Rothschild simply by a stream, the Jalle du Breuil, and has 91 hectares of superb vineyard of günz gravel, shaped in regular, perfectly-drained ridges. There are many old vines (the average vine age is 35 years) and the plant density is high (8,000 to 10,000 vines per hectare), which is a most important quality factor.
The proportion of the different varieties is ideally suited to the terrain: Cabernet (75%) is planted in the poor gravel of the top of the ridges and their southern slopes, while Merlot (25%) is to be found on the east-facing slopes and those parts where the Saint-Estèphe limestone rock base shows through.
The reference to the East is apt, and is born out by the presence on the walls of the winery of pagodas and various ornamental figures of oriental origin. Cos d’Estournel new cellar is the fruit of long years of joint reflection by the Château technical team and the architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte. The result is a project that is unique to Bordeaux and to the vineyards of the rest of the world: a cellar that is entirely operated by gravity, and from which all pumps have been banished. The primary objective being a return to a style of winemaking characterized by simplicity, enabling the purest respect of the grapes and thereby of the expression of the terroir. A severe final selection process whittles down the production level to between 250,000 and 380,000 bottles, depending on the vintage. The fruit of the youngest vines are used for making the second wine, Les Pagodes de Cos.

The archetype of a certain style of virile elegance where strength does not exclude freshness or charm. Cos d’Estournel is both elegant and full, a wine with a lot pedigree and complexity. It ages magnificently, indeed the greatest vintages are capable of exceptional longevity, sometimes in excess of a century. Even today the Cos 1870 is a very great wine.

Stendhal, passing through the Médoc, had his eye drawn to Cos d'Estournel: "The first thing I saw in this somewhat empty countryside was a few large trees around a sort of château with a tower. (…) If the truth be known, this most elegant building, of brilliant pale yellow hue, is of no particular style; it is neither Greek nor Gothic, but is most pleasing and rather Chinese in appearance. On the facade a single word is inscribed: Cos."