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COS Chronicle

An Exhilarating Year

ARTICLE -

2019 was characterized by a thrilling succession of unusual but ultimately favorable climatic events. It was a year in which the ideal location of our magnificent terroir and the ceaseless efforts of our teams in the vineyard proved crucial to bringing our vines to fruition and producing a harvest of exceptional quality.
A look back on an exhilarating year.

November 2018 to March 2019
A Winter Calm

Winter was a tranquil period, with little rain in November, December and January, resulting in 88, 108 and 70 mm of rainfall, respectively. The estate’s soils were relatively dry and warmed rapidly under gentle temperatures, resulting in early, homogenous bud break starting on March 25.

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April–May 2019
The Estate’s Vines Acclimate

Spring was also quite dry, with only 12 mm of rainfall in April and 37 mm in May. Temperatures were cooler than usual and soil activity was sluggish, resulting in slower vine growth and smaller leaf area. Meanwhile, the estate’s vines began adapting their development to dry conditions by limiting the size of the conduits through which their sap flows.
These concurrent phenomena helped prepare the vines for limited water supplies that would be brought on by heat waves later in the season, by limiting evaporation and encouraging the vine to regulate growth.

June 2019
Early Leaf Thinning

Flowering occurred later and took longer than usual, with the estate’s flowers appearing during the first two weeks of June. Temperatures remained uncommonly cool. From June 20, however, the situation reversed itself, and the estate’s vines began accelerating development as temperatures finally rose, reaching 35–36°C on June 26 and 27, with nighttime temperatures of 20°C.
In light of these conditions, the team decided to begin leaf thinning early on the eastern-facing side of the vineyard. The timing and quality of these efforts allowed the estate’s grapes to protect and prepare themselves for the hot summer.

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July 2019
Perpetual Vigilance

We experienced a second heat wave on July 22–25, with temperatures reaching the year’s high of 39°C on July 23. The winegrowing team worked almost incessantly, lightly ploughing at a more frequent pace and more intensely than usual to let rainwater accumulate and reduce evaporation. These techniques proved particularly useful during rains in late July: 27 mm of rainfall delivered precisely the amount of water needed to rehydrate the estate’s gravelly soils without impacting their more inert clay counterparts and allowed veraison to occur more rapidly and in a homogenous fashion.
The hot, dry weather, the effects of which were tempered by the estate’s proximity to the Gironde Estuary and the ocean as well as the precision of our methods, allowed the grapes to eliminate their vegetal aromas to make way for impeccable phenolic ripeness.

August 2019
Exceptionally Concentrated Grapes

In August, as in July, the vineyard experienced very dry, hot weather. A second rainfall (38 mm) brought some relief to the estate’s gravelly soils, as teams continued their light ploughing efforts.
Low water supplies proved optimal, resulting in Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grapes of a small size, a sign of excellent concentration within the berries. Veraison reached its mid-point on August 4 before concluding in a rapid, homogenous fashion.

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Vendanges 2019 (6)

September 2019
A Final, Unexpected Event Before Harvest

The weather remained hot and dry, with a fourth and final heat wave on September 13–17. Concern grew as weather conditions favored intense concentration within the grapes. Fortunately, the week of September 23 brought moderate rains (30 mm) that, while usually feared at this time of year, reversed the trend: rehydrated, the estate’s grapes were able to complete their ripening process, especially that of their skins.
The rains also marked the start of harvest, which began on September 16 for the Sauvignon Blanc, on September 19 at Goulée and on September 23 at Cos d’Estournel for the Merlot planted on gravel, before coming to an end on October 7.
The vineyard was healthy and our team of harvesters worked rapidly to ensure the precious berries were collected at the height of maturity.


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