I was excited about our visit to Chateau Cos d’Estournel in Saint Estephe, because I had heard and read about the new ultra-modern full gravity wine making facility they had constructed several years earlier. I have also been a fan of their wines since the 1989 vintage.
The Chateau is very distinctive with three limestone pagodas on top of the main building. The interior of the building is a dramatic combination of ultra modern (glass and steel) and old world colonial India (stone and carved wood), but it all comes together very well.
Our host, Marie, was very nice and knew a lot about the Bordeaux wine industry. Cos d’Estournel now has a space-age looking modern vat room, with 72 conical stainless steel vats to ferment every vineyard plot separately. They also have giant elevators to lift large tanks of wine, so they can use gravity to transfer wine throughout the facility instead of using pumps.
Coming into the barrel room, you walk onto an ultra-modern glass skybridge overlooking the barrels, with glass columns. It makes quite an impression, and is talked about quite a lot by other estates throughout the region. In fact, Cos d’Estournel was often mentioned as an estate we simply “had” to visit. There were varying opinions about whether the winemaking technology was more about esthetics or truly necessary innovations for the craft. However, in my opinion, no matter how modern the facilities look, there’s no question they still follow very traditional winemaking practices.
We were able to taste the wines from the 2008 vintage, the grand vin Cos d’Estournel and the second label Les Pagodes de Cos.
2008 Les Pagodes de Cos – Nice ripe red/black fruit with good sweetness and acidity, not nearly the complexity of the grand vin, but with some ripe tannins kicking in on the medium length fruit filled finish.
2008 Cos d’Estournel – Very dark spicy ripe black fruit with stony minerality, excellent acidity. The wine is very tannic but the tannins are ripe, kicking in on the very long stony black fruit filled finish. This is an excellent Cos d’Estournel in every way and built for the long haul.
How do you like the wines of Cos d’Estournel and what is your favorite vintage?
Next up, Pontet Canet…oh yes, it was a long, but fascinating first day!