Craftsmen of the vine
The men and women of Cos d’Estournel are at the heart of the winemaking process. True artisans of the vine, they use the most highly advanced equipment to pursue the purest traditions of winegrowing and winemaking. They have the intimate knowledge of the vineyard, patiently honed expertise and long-standing commitment needed to make the best choices. Every detail counts when seeking to fully reveal the potential of such a magnificent terroir.
Each vine-grower on the estate is entrusted with the same ten plots, or forty thousand vine plants, year after year. He or she follows them closely from one season to the next and is entirely responsible for their care.
Intimately persuaded of the potential of his vines, Louis Gaspard d’Estournel sought constantly to expand, and would gradually acquire the prime plots on the hill of Cos.
Today the vineyard occupies 91 hectares. Cabernet Sauvignon accounts for two-thirds of this precious mosaic of 61 plots, with a lesser proportion of the land dedicated to Merlot and a small proportion to Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.
Nestled among the vine plants of the estate—45 years old on average—are certain very precious specimens, guardians of the vineyard’s heritage. Some of the oldest vine plants date back to the early 20th century. They continue to thrive, finding nourishment in the deepest layers of the land. Their grapes bring depth and structure to the wines of Cos d’Estournel, a testament to the incomparable complexity of the vineyard’s soil.
The grapes from these mature plants are blended with the fruit of their younger counterparts to produce the Grand Vin of Cos d’Estournel. The average age of vine plants whose grapes are used in the estate’s first wine is 55 years old.
A legacy to preserve
Keeping the oldest vine plants alive is crucial to perpetuating Cos d’Estournel’s rich heritage. Despite their low yield and the special care they require, these plants produce the grapes that shape the core identity of the estate’s wines.
They also ensure the continuity of the vineyard through massal selection. Grapes are examined and tasted to identify the plants that most closely represent the singular qualities of the estate’s terroir. Their shoots are then used to grow young vines, so that the defining characteristics of Cos d’Estournel may be passed down from one generation to the next.
It is a time-consuming process that requires great commitment, first during the selection process and then in caring for the young vines until they are mature enough for their grapes to be used in the Grand Vin. But this measure is essential to preserving the unique signature of the wines of the estate.