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COS Chronicle

2021, Journal of A Challenging Vintage


Unfailing in their choices and meticulous in their approach to the specificities of each plot, our teams met the contrasted weather events of the 2021 vintage with ceaseless vigilance and precision that allowed us to maintain our vineyard in perfect health and bring our precious grapes to ideal levels of maturity.

October 2020 – February 2021: Abundant Precipitation

The vineyard saw abundant rainfall through the winter season. At six hundred millimeters, precipitation levels were lower than the previous year’s seven hundred millimeters, but more than sufficient to replenish our soils with water and prepare for a new growing cycle.

February – April 2021: Rapid, Homogenous Bud Break

Consistently dry weather from mid-February made it possible for the estate’s teams to work the soils ahead of schedule, which led to early, homogenous bud break starting on March 22. Temperatures remained cool, however, slowing growth, but our proximity to the Gironde Estuary fortunately spared our vines from frost.

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May – June 2021: Vigilance for Flowering and Fruit Set

The weather remained cool for the onset of flowering on May 25 but hot, dry weather shortly thereafter led to qualitative, rapid flowering within a period of only ten days. Despite an elevated risk of wet weather, mild temperatures provided propitious conditions for fruit set.

Warm, damp weather set the stage for very swift growth, and our teams remained particularly vigilant about the health of the vineyard. Extraordinarily reactive, they lifted one hundred hectares of vines—the totality of our production—within less than a week during the second half of June. This was vital to undertaking leaf thinning as early as possible to protect the vineyard from an unusually elevated risk of disease.

July – August 2021: Summer in the Vineyard

Essential to allowing air to circulate among grapes, leaf thinning was pursued throughout the summer, but only on the vineyard’s eastern slopes to keep the vineyard healthy while protecting its fruit from the sun’s more intense afternoon rays.

Fluctuating weather conditions required rigor and constant attention from our teams as they adapted their methods to the specific needs of each individual plot.
Rainfall through August 10 was on par with average precipitation over the last two decades and was followed by temperatures that rose above 30°C, leading to onset of veraison on July 20.

From August 10 to September 8, the vineyard finally experienced hot, dry weather that offered favorable conditions for tannins and aromas to ripen, and the first signs of water stress during the last weeks of August were more than welcome.

September – October 2021: Harvesting at Optimal Maturity

A final bout of hot weather on September 5-7 brought the estate’s grapes to perfect ripeness. Harvest began with the vineyard of Cos d’Estournel Blanc from September 17 to October 9, followed by that of Cos d’Estournel, from September 23 to October 7, and the plots dedicated to G d’Estournel on the Goulée vineyard, from September 28 to October 7. Relatively dry weather allowed us to harvest each plot at optimal maturity. And thanks to leaf thinning efforts pursued with precision on certain plots and continued late into the season, the vineyard was in perfect health.

Exceptionally noble, this year’s Merlot offers a luscious character and remarkably concentrated aromas of fruit, while the Cabernet Sauvignon is incredibly intense and fresh, bringing great elegance to the vintage.

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