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The Story

The call of faraway lands. As mysterious and intriguing as a lone adventurer returning from a solitary sail, Cos d’Estournel is slow to reveal itself. Little by little, it evokes stories of distant places, market stalls brimming with unfamiliar fruits, spices and wares, village festivities warmed by the joy of revelers and the setting sun, and sumptuous visions of ladies and their voluptuous curves. A myriad of scents, colors and tastes appeals to the senses. The Grand Vin of Cos d’Estournel is both demure and deliberately sensuous, a fascinating and elegant nectar.

The vineyard of Cos spreads around the château on 91 hectares.The Cabernet Sauvignon vines (60% of the vineyard) find the soil of their choice in the thin layers of gravely soil situated on the top and on the southern slopes of the hill. On the other hand, the Merlot vines (40% of the vineyard) excel on the eastern slopes and on the slopes where the Saint-Estephe limestone bed shows on the surface.

The percentage of Cabernet and Merlot varies from one vintage to another according to the year weather conditions, benefiting successively to the one or the other. Plantation is extremely dense (8000 to 10000 vines per hectare) and the average age of the vineyard is high (35 years old on the average) in order to enable the roots to extend excessively and to obtain a very slender yield per vine that will create the « Grand Goût »

Each vine grower is in charge of 45 000 vines on which they have got to undertake various labours every year. These cultural tasks are for most of them done manually. The harvest is of course manually picked too. And it is by hand that the grapes, once collected in special wooden baskets, will be strictly selected.


Vintage 1977

Bordeaux / The 1977 vintage ended up being one of the poorest of the 1970s. Early budburst faced a damaging spring frost, reducing crop size from small to minimal. The forming crop was poorly treated by the cool and constantly wet summer. Then came the driest September in 125 years, followed by a dry October saving the vintage from total disaster. The epitome of the vintage was the poorest Mouton-Rothschild ever made. The only pleasure it can give is the beautiful label. On the other hand, there are surprises. Lafite with a ridiculous price of 150 euros per bottle turned out to be very pleasant. The best experience this year is still the Yquem produced in very small quantities. Overall, all dry wines were ready to drink upon release and are not


Main characteristics of the vintage
From the beginning of March, the weather was good with temperatures quite high above the seasonal average causing the vines to grow around March 10, which was really very early. At the end of the month, despite the sunny weather, it was rather cold (on March 31, the temperature dropped below 2°C). Merlots and Cabernet Francs were first affected by the frost, because their growth predated that of Cabernet Sauvignons. The Montrose vineyard, well ventilated by its proximity to the Gironde estuary, was never subject to spring frosts before 1977. Then, May and June were too mild for the season with precipitation. Early vegetation was delayed and flowering was late (mid-flowering on June 21). If July temperatures were normal, August and September lacked sun and heat, leading to insufficient maturity of the grapes. The first days of harvest were characterized by alternating rain and sun, followed by nice cool weather. During this period, the temperature did not exceed 20°C;


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Written Notes

I didn’t expect this wine to be that lovely, thinking of all the weather problems this vintage experienced. A sensual nose of ripe(!) blackcurrants, fine acidity, tasty, complex, lovely finish. It’s nice to drink now and for 3-5 more years.

  • 88p
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St-Estèphe, Bordeaux
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