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A deep-seated determination

Daring & Exceptional

Forging a new path

A fiercely independent and audacious man, Louis Gaspard d’Estournel would readily forego convention for the sake of progress. This proved especially true of his sales practices; rather than depending on Bordeaux’s traditional network of negociants, he chose to personally dispatch his wines to remote places, signing each bottle as a symbol of his emancipation from the system. In 1838, the newspaper Le Producteur reported, “The arrival of a large shipment of wine sent directly to India by the wealthy owner of a vineyard has caused a stir.”

Retour des Indes

The prices of the wines of Cos d’Estournel quickly rose abroad, confirming Louis Gaspard d’Estournel’s intuition about the excellence of his terroir. It also set the scene for a surprising discovery: when the unsold portion of a shipment was returned to the estate, the bottles were opened and tasted. As it happens, travelling the seas had provided favorable conditions for the wines to age. This special selection would be labeled “R” for “Retour des Indes,” or “Returned from India,” and the man responsible for this fortuitous round-trip journey would come to be known as the Maharajah of Saint-Estèphe.

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