Wondering what’s the secret behind the luscious Cos d’Estournel wine?
The Chateau Cos d’Estournel stands out with its unique oriental design - a sight you won’t find anywhere else in Bordeaux. Behind the exotic facade and beautiful pagodas lies the modern winery, which produces some of the most sought-after, classic Bordeaux wines.
So, what is the history behind the unique Cos d’Estournel winery? What makes it one of the greatest traditional Bordeaux winemakers?
Which are the best vintages to buy in 2021?
This Article Contains:
(Click on the links below to go to a specific section)
- The Iconic Chateau Cos d’Estournel
- The History of Cos d’Estournel
- The Chateau Cos d’Estournel Vineyards
- Winemaking at Chateau Cos d’Estournel
- Chateau Cos d’Estournel Wines
- The Most Exceptional Cos d’Estournel Wines to Buy in 2021
- Chateau Cos d'Estournel 1985
- Chateau Cos d'Estournel 2000
- Chateau Cos d'Estournel 2010
- Chateau Cos d'Estournel Blanc 2000
- Chateau Cos d'Estournel Blanc 2003
- Chateau Cos d'Estournel Blanc 2006
- Chateau 'Saint Estephe de Cos d'Estournel' 2009
- Chateau 'Saint Estephe de Cos d'Estournel' 2015
- Chateau Cos d'Estournel 'Les Pagodes de Cos' 2010
- Chateau Cos d'Estournel 'Les Pagodes de Cos' Blanc 2018
The Iconic Chateau Cos d’Estournel
The Chateau Cos d’Estournel winery is situated in the Saint Estephe appellation of the Medoc wine region in France. The estate’s wines were classified as second-growth (Deuxieme Grand Cru Classe) in the 1855 Bordeaux Official Wine Classification.
The name “Cos” comes from the Gascon jargon for “hill of pebbles,” reflecting the estate’s terroir.
Even though this Northern Medoc winery produces a few different wine styles, it is most famous for its Cabernet-based Bordeaux blend wine.
But before we explore the different Cos d’Estournel wines, let’s take a quick look at the Chateau’s history.
The History of Cos d’Estournel
Cos d’Estournel was founded in 1811 by Louis Gaspard d’Estournel, who also owned Chateau Pomys (that sits next to Chateau Lafite Rothschild.) The owner was one of the first Bordeaux wine producers to make, bottle, and sell his own wine.
He also had an unusual wine distribution system. Instead of selling his wines through the traditional negociant system in France, he exported them.
This way, the wine became quite popular in many different countries, but most of it was shipped to India.
After Louis died in 1852, the Chateau was sold to Charles Cecil Martyns, who started selling the wine through the conventional negociant system.
Three years later, the wine was classified as Second Growth.
For a brief period thereafter, the estate came under the ownership of the Charmolue family, who was also in charge of the nearby Chateau Montrose.
In 1917, the estate became a property of Fernand Ginestet. Ginestet’s grandchildren took charge of the estate in the following decades.
In 1995, Cos d’Estournel wines were sold in China.
Bruno Prats managed the estate until 1998, when he sold it to the Merlaut family.
In 2000, the estate was bought by its current owner Michel Reybier. He renovated the wine cellars and conducted a thorough study of the vineyard soils. This helped him and his winemaker Dominique Arangoits understand the full potential of the vineyards and improve the winemaking techniques at the Chateau.
In 2009, Reybier also acquired vineyard holdings in Champagne, France, and Hungary. Together with Cos d’Estournel, these holdings form Domaines Reybier.
In 2012, the estate’s manager Jean-Guillaume Prats was replaced by Aymeric de Gironde.
Next, let’s take a look at the beautiful Cos d’Estournel vineyards.
The Chateau Cos d’Estournel Vineyards
The Cos d’Estournel vineyard lands are spread over 100 hectares of land in the southern parts of the St. Estephe appellation.
The vine parcels are located on the Cos hill, which has slight elevation and a cool climate. The soil is a mix of limestone, clay, and gravelly sections.
The vineyards are planted with around 60% Cabernet Sauvignon vines located in the higher parts of the hill. The east-facing vineyard slopes are planted with Merlot and small amounts of Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc.
The average vine age is around 45 years but there some older vines that are 100 years old.
The consistently high quality of the grape vines is maintained by using the massal selection method. The growers choose and grow shoots from the finest vines, which have the ability to transfer the unique terroir qualities to the wine. Each vine grower is assigned to ten plots of approximately 40,000 vines.
So, how is wine made at Chateau Cos d’Estournel?
Winemaking at Chateau Cos d’Estournel
Michel Reybier renovated the Chateau’s cellar and ensured his estate keeps up with the most recent and innovative winemaking techniques. This way, the winemakers at Cos d’Estournel have managed to elegantly translate the nuances of the magical terroir into the wine style.
The winemaking practices at Cos d’Estournel are like no other on the Left Bank of Bordeaux.
After harvesting, the grapes go through the following processes:
- Fermentation: Separated by parcels, the grapes ferment in 84 different temperature-controlled stainless steel vats.
- Maceration: The grapes macerate in a cool temperature environment for about a week.
- Pumping: The juice from the vats is transported to glass elevators which move it one floor up. The juice is poured over the grape skins in the cellar vats and is entirely moved by gravity. This method discards the traditional pumping winemaking techniques and allows for a more natural movement of the fermenting juice.
Aging: The wines are aged 12-18 months in 50-100% new oak barrels depending on the wine style.
Chateau Cos d’Estournel Wines
Chateau Cos dEstournel produces five styles of wine:
- Cos d’Estournel: The estate’s Grand Vin is delightfully spicy and refined. This second-growth Cru wine is made with around 65% of the Cabernet Sauvignon grape variety and 35% Merlot grapes.
- Cos d'Estournel Blanc: The white wine blend is made with 65% Sauvignon Blanc grape and 35% of the Semillon grape variety. This great wine stands out with powerful floral aromas and briny notes.
- Pagodes de Cos: This is the second wine of Chateau Cos d’Estournel. The seductive Pagodes de Cos is made with all four red grape varietals - predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot with small amounts of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.
- Pagodes de Cos Blanc: This delicate white wine is made with Sauvignon Blanc and a small portion of Semillon grapes.
- Goulée by Cos dEstournel: This delectable red wine consists of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and a minuscule amount of Cabernet Franc.
The annual production is around 30,000 cases annually across all wine styles.
Next, let’s see the best Cos d’Estournel wine bottles you should look out for this year.
The Most Exceptional Cos d’Estournel Wines to Buy in 2021
Here are the Cos d’Estournel wines we hand-picked for you:
1. Chateau Cos d'Estournel 1985
This elegant Cabernet Bordeaux blend opens up with a black currant tasting note. The wine showcases bright acidity and grainy tannins with a nose of cassis, black cherry, and subtle smokey notes at the end.
Price of Chateau Cos d'Estournel 1985: $294
2. Chateau Cos d'Estournel 2000
The 2000 vintage of this Grand Vin Cabernet blend is a favorite of many Bordeaux wine lovers. The silky mouthfeel is accompanied by medium to high tannin levels and an exquisite creme de cassis tasting note at the finish.
Price of Chateau Cos d'Estournel 2000: $292
3. Chateau Cos d'Estournel 2010
After it opens up, this second-growth Grand Cru showcases delightful licorice and creamed loganberry fruit tasting notes. The fine tannin levels are complemented by delightful acidity and plum undertones.
Price of Chateau Cos d'Estournel 2010: $347
4. Chateau Cos d'Estournel Blanc 2000
This great wine has an elegant yellow color and super ripe tannins. On the palate, lemon and juicy pear flavors unravel along with the opulent floral and citrus fruit nose.
Price of Chateau Cos d'Estournel Blanc 2000: $369
5. Chateau Cos d'Estournel Blanc 2003
This beautiful white wine surprises with an aromatic bouquet of honeysuckle and caramel. On the palate, expect citrusy freshness accompanied by subtle grass undertones.
Price of Chateau Cos d'Estournel Blanc 2003: $342
6. Chateau Cos d'Estournel Blanc 2006
This beautiful wine has delightful exotic fruit flavors accompanied by lemon and citrus aromas. The floral nose and intense palate are complemented by pleasant mineral notes and a long-lasting finish.
Price of Chateau Cos d'Estournel Blanc 2006: $276
7. Chateau 'Saint Estephe de Cos d'Estournel' 2009
This intense Bordeaux blend has fruit and smoke flavors accompanied by creamed loganberry aromas and bright tannin levels. The palate is concentrated with dominant plum, black cherry, and cassis tasting notes.
Price of Chateau 'Saint Estephe de Cos d'Estournel' 2009 : $408
8. Chateau 'Saint Estephe de Cos d'Estournel' 2015
This full-bodied red wine has an opulent floral nose, grainy tannins, and intense blackberry and smoky flavors. The palate is layered with tasting notes of licorice, creme de cassis, and tobacco hints.
Price of Chateau 'Saint Estephe de Cos d'Estournel' 2015: $224
9. Chateau Cos d'Estournel 'Les Pagodes de Cos' 2010
The second wine of Chateau Cos d'Estournel is luscious with rich blackberry and plum flavors. The nose gives out vanilla, oak, and smoky flavors.
Price of Chateau Cos d'Estournel 'Les Pagodes de Cos' 2010: $92
10. Chateau Cos d'Estournel 'Les Pagodes de Cos' Blanc 2018
This exquisite white wine has super ripe tannins and a rich mouthfeel with a creamy texture, flavors of juicy citrus, and grassy hints.
Price of Chateau Cos d'Estournel 'Les Pagodes de Cos' Blanc 2018: $56
Should You Invest in Cos d’Estournel Wines?
Typically, the Cos d’Estournel wines have an aging potential of 10 to 20 years, with some exceptional vintages lasting well beyond two decades.
Cos d'Estournel best vintages also shows some good price increases over time:
- Chateau Cos d'Estournel 1971 grew 47% from $168 in 2020 to $247 in 2021.
- Chateau Cos d'Estournel 1974 showed an 82% spike from $108 in 2020 to $197 in 2021.
Cos d'Estournel wines are also very popular at auction events. For example:
- At a 2020 Sotheby’s auction, 12 bottles of Chateau Cos d’Estournel sold for $3,657.
- In 2020 at a Strauss & Co auction, a 6-bottle lot of Cos d'Estournel 2014 was sold for $1,420.
No doubt Cos d'Estournel is a good wine investment - a promising Bordeaux wine to add to your wine collection.
So, is there an easy and quick way to buy or invest in a Cos d'Estournel wine?
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Cos d’Estournel: Where Innovation and Tradition Meet
Cos d’Estournel is a truly remarkable wine that shows some of the most distinct and traditional Bordeaux blend characteristics. At the same time, a bottle of Cos d’Estournel speaks of relentless innovation and modern winemaking techniques.
Owning a bottle of a fine Cos d’Estournel wine is a great privilege for any wine enthusiast.
These Cabernet Sauvignon blend wines can be safely stored for decades to come or popped open to celebrate a special occasion.
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