Château Cos Labory 2011
• Domaine: Château Cos Labory
• Appellation: Saint-Estèphe
• Classification: Fifth Growth, 5ème Grand Cru Classé
• Origin: Left Bank, Bordeaux, France
• Importer: Laguna Cellar
Château Cos Labory is a Saint-Estèphe property that has made significant changes over the decades to improve their viticultural practices. Quality from this producer that was formerly categorized as an underperformer has steadily been climbing, and with it the accolades and scores. The vintages after 2015 have received mounting critical acclaim featuring scores in the low 90s. With prices under $100.00, this Fifth Growth producer is an excellent value for those who love the muscular, richly concentrated, powerful wines of Saint-Estèphe.
Château Cos Labory derives its namesake from the hill of Cos, located within the Saint-Estèphe appellation. The first records of the estate date back to the 1700s and it was originally named Cos Gaston. The second portion of its name came from the Gaston family who was managing the property at the time. Pierre Gaston had three children and the property ultimately went to his son, Hyacinthe. Hyacinthe and his wife had a child – a little girl named Marie-Sany. When Marie-Sany came of age, she married a gentleman named Francois-Armand Labory, who received the property as a dowry. Thus, Château Clos Labory received the second half of its namesake, which it still carries today.
The château produced quite a bit of wine back in the day -- more wine than their nearest neighbor, the “Super Second,” producer, Cos d’Estournel. Eventually Château Cos Labory was purchased by Louis Gaspard d’Estournel, the father of the Second Growth estate. He purchased the best vineyard parcels from the estate and transferred them over to Cos d’Estournel. Cos Labory received the high honor of Fifth Growth status in 1855, but it wasn’t until 1971 when the Weber family took over the property that things started to really change. The Weber Family still owns Cos Labory through descendants, and they have spared no expense in revitalizing and caring for it. In 1999, they added temperature controlled stainless steel fermentation tanks. The operations at the estate are very much a family affair, and at Château Cos Labory, they believe in creating wines that one can enjoy when young. This is somewhat atypical of the Saint-Estèphe appellation, which produces wines that are often backward and ungainly in their youth.
The current owner, Bernard Audroy, is an oenologist who trained at the Bordeaux Institute. He is a huge proponent for Saint-Estèphe – which is an often-misunderstood appellation due to the sheer power the wines possess that borders on austerity. He deeply values tradition in his approach and favors Cabernet Sauvignon over Merlot when crafting his wines. The 18-hectare vineyard is planted with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc and the vines are an average age of 35 years old. The vines thrive in their gravel, limestone and clay soils – which are typical of Saint-Estèphe and some parcels are in the middle of the vineyards at Cos d’Estournel. Cos Labory has made the interesting choice of aging some of their wines in American Oak. Their wines have a strong, powerful quality to them and a delightful spiciness that complements Asian cuisine beautifully.
"A very dry wine, it shows the traditional Saint- Estèphe hard tannins. That suggests it will develop slowly, gradually bringing out the potential of the red berry fruits and acidity as it develops into a fine, complex wine. Drink from 2017." - Roger Voss, The Wine Enthusiast (5/2014), Ratings: 91
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