Wine: Best Wines: Château Cos d'Estournel


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Château Cos d'Estournel (St. Estèphe) - Deuxieme Grand Cru Classé

Château Cos d'Estournel is located between Pauillac and Saint-Estèphe, separated from Château Lafite by the stream known as La Jalle du Breuil (The Breuil Brook), the hill of Cos dominates the Gironde from the height of almost 65 feet. Bordered westward by the Atlantic ocean and eastward by the Gironde, the vineyard of Cos d'Estournel benefits from a micro-climate. The micro-climate acts like a temperature regulator, thus avoiding extreme temperatures.The vineyard of Château Cos d'Estournel spreads around the château on 173 acres. It is split into about 30 parcels of land. The Cabernet Sauvignon vines (60% of the vineyard) find the soil of their choice in the thin layers of gravely soil situated on the top and on the southern slopes of the hill. On the other hand, the Merlot vines (40% of the vineyard) excel on the eastern slopes and on the slopes where the Saint-Estephe limestone bed shows on the surface. The percentage of Cabernet and Merlot varies from one vintage to another according to the year weather conditions, benefiting successively to the one or the other.

Born in 1762 during the reign of Louis XV and died in1853 under Napoleon III, at the remarkable age of 91, Louis Gaspard d'Estournel had one sole passion: Château Cos d'Estournel. Having inherited a few vines near the village of Cos, he recognized, in 1811, the quality of their wine and decided to vinify them separately. Very rapidly, Cos d'Estournel's wine exceeded the prices of the most prestigious wines and was exported as far as India. Louis became known as 'the Maharajah of Saint-Estèphe'. To celebrate his distant conquests, he had exotic pagodas erected over his cellar, organized spectacular festivities at Cos and presented the great people of this world with some precious bottles of Cos "Returned from India". In 1852, overwhelmed with debts he had accumulated in order to extend and beautify his estate, Louis was obliged to sell Cos to a London banker called Martyns. Permitted by Martyns to remain and live on the land he had so much loved, he died there in 1853, two years before the supreme consecration of his work: the imperial classification of 1855 placing Château Cos d'Estournel at the head of the Saint-Estèphes. 

After changing hands a couple of times, Château Cos d'Estournel vas sold in 2000 to the Société des Domaines Reybier, directed by Jean-Guillaume Prats, great-grandson of Fernand Ginestet and son of Bruno Pratswho was also the manager of Château Cos d'Estournel from 1970 to 1998. Louis-Gaspard d'Estournel liked symbols and mottos. A Lion, the symbol of Power, and a Unicorn, the symbol of Purity, surmount the triumphal arch which welcomes visitors. Further on, a dove and the motto "SEMPER FIDELIS": "Always Faithful". And, repeated a thousand times in his letters, the creed: "Nothing should be neglected". Power, Purity, Fidelity, Perfectionism, these principles have never stopped guiding his successors. In the eyes of great wines lovers, Château Cos d'Estournel has become the archetype of a certain style of virile elegance in which power does not exclude either grace or mildness. Great vintages of Château Cos d'Estournel can have an exceptionally long life, sometimes exceeding a hundred years. 

The Pocket Wine Guide by Hugh Johnson rates Château Cos d'Estournel with five blue stars (out of five and blue is for good value in its class) and recommends vintages as follows (bold years should be ready for drinking and a particular successful vintage is marked with a '):  82' 85' 86' 87 88' 89' 90' 93' 94 95 96' 97' 98' 99 00 01 02 .

Château Cos d'Estournel
33180 Saint-Estèphe - France
Tél. 33 (0) 5 56 73 15 50
Fax 33 (0) 5 56 59 72 59
E-mail : estournel@estournel.com
website: www.cosestournel.com

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