Château Cos d’Estournel: Wines

Looking first to the red harvest, the fruit is collected by hand, and is down to a combined work-force which includes regular Château Cos d’Estournel employees as well as a team who trek there from the Andalucían village of Alcalá La Real, camping in the grounds of the estate at night, and picking the grapes by day. The sorting of the fruit begins in the vineyard, with the harvest carried out not just an a parcel-by-parcel basis, but even on a row-by-row basis, harvest of some rows delayed in the search for optimal maturity. The fruit is then transported to the chai where there is a second selection over a table de tri.

Château Cos d'Estournel

Asking Dominique Arangoïts (pictured above) about the use of optical sorting, there doesn’t seem to be great enthusiasm for it here. I find that most of those in Bordeaux who reject optical sorting are concerned about the brutality of the technique, and about the possibility of oxidation, but this isn’t the cases here. The now-departed manager Aymeric de Gironde experimented with optical sorting in 2004 (before he came to Château Cos d’Estournel) and found that the result of traditional sorting, by hand and eye, was at least as good as the optical method, and in some cases it was better. I suspect that Michel Reybier will change little about how the harvest is managed, but time will tell.

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