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COS Chronicle

An Animated Vineyard

ARTICLE -

A natural haven

Cos d’Estournel was named for the ancient Gascon word cos, or “hill of pebbles.” Indeed, cultivating wine on these gravel and clay soils in a place swept by the winds of the Gironde Estuary might prove a difficult undertaking were it not for the nearby Atlantic Ocean and its tempering effect on the extreme conditions the estate experiences from one season to the next . . .

The determination of the men and women of Cos and their relentlessness in coaxing out the best of a seemingly difficult environment have always been primordial. To believe that it was pure coincidence that brought Louis-Gaspard d’Estournel to choose these lands would be to repudiate his faith in science and his brilliant intuition that an intimate knowledge of the geology, fauna, and flora of each plot—and even each row of vines—would lead to exceptional results.

Since that moment, the estate’s teams have remained deeply committed to respecting nature and the vineyard’s environment. Beyond its cherished vines lie streams, forests, gardens, hedges, and pastures that contribute to a most precious equilibrium. Its excellent location along the shores of the Gironde Estuary and the Natura 2000 marshlands of the northern Médoc are among the characteristics that make the estate’s terroir truly outstanding.
Natura 2000 is a network of sites where rare and threatened species and their habitats are protected by human activity working for rather than against them, and Cos d’Estournel became part of the network upon issuing grazing rights to 25 hectares of its prairies to a local breeder for his cows to graze. Nothing is spared in growing and caring for the vines in the most natural fashion possible to respect the estate’s ecosystem as a whole.

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At Cos, a long-term vision of biodiversity prevails. A quest for an in-depth understanding of its terroir began twenty years ago with a comprehensive analysis of its soils. Planted on a single, continuous piece of land, the vineyard is tended to with utmost care. The hedges that surround it are densified and replanted whenever necessary, for they shelter it from wind and anchor its precious soils, especially at the bottom of slopes and along the edges of ditches. They also provide a place for birds to perch and nest, and these birds in turn prey on insects that might otherwise prove harmful.

In the same spirit, verdant grass cover contributes to the balance of the vine and limits erosion, and herbicides have been banished from the vineyard and the walled gardens, which are crowned with the magnificent fronds of palm trees and the somber, feathery boughs of yew trees.

More than 10% of the agricultural land at Cos d’Estournel can be considered “reservoirs of biodiversity,” natural havens that buzz with animal and plant life that in turn create a valuable balance for the ecosystem as a whole.

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At Cos, a long-term vision of biodiversity prevails.

The vineyard is managed according to a commitment to sustainability. The process of obtaining the necessary certifications, including the HVE3 and ISO 14001 certifications for biodiversity and environmental management standards, drives the teams to constantly revisit and improve their methods in continuity with all the efforts that have been carried out over the years. Techniques, tools, and knowledge allow them to adapt to the requirements of the growing cycle and anticipate new developments in order to favor non-interventionist methods.

Cos d’Estournel embraces an ecological, highly sustainable vision in its approach to its natural surroundings and adheres to a rigorous set of standards to protect the environment and all those that inhabit it. For respecting the land, the vine, and the place where grapes grow and are transformed into wine, is primordial to crafting exceptional wines.


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