The hill’s exposure to the sun’s rays favor ideal ripening of grapes. In the summer, the eastern slope is gently warmed by the morning sun and cooled by fresh breezes from the Gironde Estuary. As for the southern slope, it benefits from long, summery afternoons with more intense sunlight. Thanks to its proximity to ocean and estuary, Cos d’Estournel enjoys a particularly temperate climate of mild winters and balmy summers during which its grapevines are not subject to excessive heat. Being close to the water also means the estate is blessed with natural ventilation and a pure, white light generated by the sun’s rays.
Another defining characteristic of the vineyard is its age: the overwhelming majority of its vine plants are more than fifty-five years old. Over the years, they have stretched deep down into the core of the different strata of the estate’s subsoil, to reveal the highly unusual nature of the estate’s terroir, one in which they have thrived for decades. Grape varieties have been carefully selected and planted according to an intimate understanding of the estate’s soils to match each terroir and its exposure. Merlot is planted on clay-limestone soil to the east whereas Cabernet Sauvignon is nurtured on the gravelly plateau, characterized by excellent drainage, at the estate’s highest elevation.