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Château Cos Labory 2015, St-Estèphe, Bordeaux France


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Even though Saint Estephe is the largest major appellation in the Medoc, it’s interesting to note that while all the other major appellations in Bordeaux are created from several communes, that is not the case with St. Estephe. The entire region is centered around the village of St. Estephe.

Previously, well before the 1982 vintage, the wines of St. Estephe were always thought of as the biggest, most rustic, tannic wines of Bordeaux. That is not the case today at the top estates in the St. Estephe appellation.

The name of the estate comes from its geographical location on the Cos hill and the name of François Labory, who was the first owner until 1845. Mr. d’Estournel then acquired it before selling it again to an English banker, Charles Martyns in 1852. The property was finally taken over by George Weber in the 1930’s, who bequeathed it to his daughter and son-in-law, François Audoy in 1959.

In 1971, the couple acquired the neighbouring estate, Château Andron Blanquet. Their sons worked with them on the two estates for a few years and then the elder Bernard took over the running of the properties. Bernard is a strong, practical manager with a quiet reassuring manner. He has always lived in Saint-Estèphe and is perfectly emblematic of his estate, his wines and the appellation that he has presided over since 2000.

While St. Estephe is close to the same size as Pauillac and is located right next door to Pauillac, St. Estephe has very few 1855 Classified Growths. However, the wine produced here was classified as one of eighteen Cinquièmes Crus (Fifth Growths) in the Bordeaux Wine Official Classification of 1855.

This eighteen-hectare (44.5-acre) vineyard on top of the Cos hill is blessed with Quaternary gravel soils and exceptional drainage. To extract the best, they strive vintage after vintage to perfect the fit between the plots and the grape varieties. They also choose slow growing rootstocks and keep the planting densities high (8,700 per hectare).

60% Cabernet Sauvignon 35% Merlot 5% Cabernet franc from 35 year old vines. Aged in French oak 50% new for 12-18 months.

” Lovely rich, plummy fruit here, with an enjoyable tannic structure and freshness. This is a good 2015, focussing on maintaining juiciness in the fruit without sacrificing structure. One of the earlier drinking wines in St-Estèphe – give it four or five years to integrate further then get stuck in!” (Jane Anson – Decanter)

Try with Irish beef stew, tuna mi-cuit (‘half cooked’) with lardo di Colonnata (Italian white bacon fat) and truffle, chervil mousseline (French parsley sauce) and black rice, a touch of black pepper, rosemary, or star anise will make a vegetable resonate with wines from Bordeaux, but try roasting cauliflower with a rub of sumac or za’atar to add depth of flavour or a hint of cumin or turmeric with roasted root veggies. Umami flavours in soy and tamari are another option, vegan creamy mushroom spagetti, or a green lentil curry!

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