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COS Chronicle

In Medio Acquae


Between two waters

In Medio Acquae: the Romans’ choice of name for the Médoc region, located between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gironde Estuary, was indeed fitting!

Once a marshland, the Médoc region was drained by Dutch specialists hired in 1599 by Henri IV to increase the amount of farmable land. To this day, some areas of marshland can still be found in the Médoc near Cos d’Estournel, like relics of the region’s history, and the evaporated water from these lands helps to temper extreme weather conditions.

The drainage works carried out in the seventeenth century revealed a terroir that had been shaped by the flow of water and was particularly rich and adapted to winegrowing. For thousands of years, the rivers that meandered through the Pyrenees slowly eroded the mountains, deposing gravel along their shores and shaping hills and valleys. These alluvial terraces of gravel and pebbles force the vines growing on them to draw upon their most valuable resources. When our ancestors called the terroir beneath their feet “Cos,” or “hill of pebbles,” in the old Gascon dialect, their choice of words was apt.

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The water that permeates below ground benefits the region’s soils and subsoils, and the nearby Gironde Estuary helps the grapevines at Cos d’Estournel reach their fullest form of expression, the glare of the sunlight on the water’s surface resulting in brighter, more intense light that favors the ripening process.

Evaporated water from the estuary and the ocean cools the air in the summer and warms it in the winter, resulting in more moderate temperatures overall.
The strong currents and the tides that ebb and flow in these two bodies of water generate essential breezes that help keep the vines of Cos d’Estournel healthy: by drying up excess humidity, they prevent disease and they usher out cold air that can lead to frost.

These waters shaped the whole of the Médoc, and Cos d’Estournel serves as a prime example of how they affect climate, moderate temperatures and contribute to the quality of soils and subsoils.
Finally, the Gironde Estuary and the Atlantic Ocean served as trade routes that opened possibilities for the wine trade through overseas shipping to India and beyond. At once a gift of nature and a product of history, the ties that bind water and wine are truly eternal.

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