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COS Chronicle

A Diversity of Terroir, Climate and Grape Varieties

ARTICLE -

The land reveals itself

The very name “Cos d’Estournel” was inspired by a specific feature of the estate’s terroir, or rather, its terroirs: “cos” means “hill of pebbles” in the old Gascon dialect. And it is precisely this geological particularity that makes the estate’s terroir so unique. The hill of Cos is truly the defining characteristic of a most singular terroir and a most singular place.

It is a place where soil plays a central role in the history and the profile of the wines of the estate. The hill’s various strata offer an incomparable wealth of natural diversity: its plateau lies upon a layer of gravel and clay, beneath which are found successive strata of pure clay and marlstone on limestone bedrock. Thus grapes grown on a single plot may draw upon a variety of terroirs.

The hill of Cos is truly the defining characteristic of a most singular terroir and a most singular place.

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.

Care of each plot is tailored to the soils on which it is planted, to facilitate highly precise blends and wines, for the human touch at Cos d’Estournel is determined by the wealth of terroir, climate and grape varieties that nature has to offer.


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