Château Cos d'Estournel
More than two hundred years ago, Louis Gaspard d’Estournel had already grasped the diversity of his vineyard. A man ahead of his time, he began a process of selection, using only grapes from the most qualitative plots in his wine.
Today this approach has become an underlying principle: the Cos d'Estournel team adjusts its methods to match the unique characteristics of each plot, often dividing the plots into subplots for even greater precision. A perfect understanding of the soils, coupled with experience acquired over the years, makes the most intimately tailored approach to wine growing possible. From one vine plant to the next, the vine-grower will adapt to soil, exposure and placement, resulting in the creation of distinct batches of wine.
Precise and rigorous, this process of selection demands major investment—both financial and human—but it is a necessary prerequisite to revealing the vineyard’s potential. It is only because each batch of wines is treated individually that the incredible diversity of the estate’s terroir can express itself to the fullest.
This extremely meticulous approach to wine growing and winemaking favours the development of a magnificent aromatic complexity and a unique signature that makes the Grand Vin of Cos d’Estournel one of the world’s finest wines.
In 2003, Cos d’Estournel set a new standard for winemaking when it implemented isothermal vats shaped like truncated cones; it was the first time a vineyard would choose stainless steel as its material of choice while also seeking to maintain certain qualities associated with wood. The unique shape of the vats would allow for homogeneous extraction during fermentation and the temperature-controlled environment would mean a highly precise winemaking process, to maintain the wine’s freshness and intensify its aromas of fruit.
Today a fleet of 84 vats allows winemaking at Cos d’Estournel to take place under ideal conditions. Their very existence is proof of the team’s willingness to bypass existing methods in search of solutions adapted to the specific needs of the vineyard. In looking beyond traditional winemaking techniques to seek answers in other industries, the team has embraced the avant-garde values of the estate’s original craftsman.
Cos d’Estournel once again proved a paragon of innovation in 2008 with the construction of a vat room—complete with four vats encased in glass elevators—entirely based on the laws of gravity. The winemaking process, from harvest reception to bottling, would take place without pumping. Grape berries, their juices and the resulting wines would be handled as gently as possible, resulting in a subtle nectar with softer, more refined tannins.
Unprecedented, the winemaking techniques used at Cos d’Estournel are perfectly adapted to the vineyard, so that its uniquely complex terroir and the grapes it produces may express themselves in the purest form. The level of precision and consistency achieved has even exceeded the team’s expectations.