Château Cos d’Estournel, 2017 Update

The Médoc is a flat and featureless expanse of pebbles, an ancient river beach with ‘invented’ terroir. At least that is how some of its critics might put it. While I accept the vineyards might not be as photogenic as those of the Mosel, or other mountainside vineyards clinging for dear life to sparse soils in Savoie or Jura, there are certainly spots here and there on Bordeaux’s famous peninsula where words such as ‘flat’ and ‘featureless’ should not immediately spring to mind. Aymeric de Gironde, manager at Château Cos d’Estournel, was intent upon showing me as much during a recent visit to the estate.

I clambered down from Aymeric’s Range Rover Sport, its paintwork a glossy and shimmering black, pristine except for the mud-splattered wheel arches. “This is where I bring people who tell me the Médoc is flat” said Aymeric. Looking across to Château Cos d’Estournel, peeking over a distant crest, as my gaze bounced from one interlocking phalanx of vines to the next, it wasn’t difficult to understand why. Alright, so it wasn’t quite the Scharzhofberg, and there are one or two spots in the Loire Valley that could top it for visual impact. Having walked in the Clos de la Coulée de Serrant I can vouch for its beauty, the light and the stone. And having stood at the summit of Les Monts Damnés I will close my ears to anyone who tries to dissuade me of its formidable gradient. But Aymeric’s point was still well made; the scene laid out before me was an impressive and unexpected new vista upon the architectural delight that is Château Cos d’Estournel.

Château Cos d'Estournel

But I am getting ahead of myself (not for the first time). I was halfway though a tour of the vineyard of Château Cos d’Estournel with manager Aymeric de Gironde and technical director Dominique Arangoïts. Let’s rewind to the beginning.

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