Having a great meal should pair with a glass of fine wine, it has been a blooming trend in recent years in Asia, east-meets-west cuisine culture has been profoundly influenced by the new generation foodies, knowing the amazing chemistry of great wine and fantastic food pairing becomes the ultimate enjoyment of fine-dining (even lunch to a certain extent). If one said the best east-meets-west cuisine representation is Thai food, then I guess the best east-meets-west wine icon should be Château Cos d’Estournel. Why? OK, if some of my dear readers have visited their castle, with no doubt that you will instantly know what I mean, but if not, no worries, because here I am taking you on a tour to this wonderful wine estate located in Saint-Estèphe, the left bank of the famous Gironde River neighboring another prestigious wine growing region – Pauillac.
The first time I learnt about Château Cos d’Estournel dated almost a decade ago from my wine sommelier mentor, and what impressed me is the oriental ‘Pagoda’ that I saw from a photo at the first place that makes me so memorable about this wine estate, such eastern architectural design has a profound connection dated back to early 19th century, the owner of the Château,
Mr. Louis Gaspard d’Estournel, who possessed a passion on vinifying the wine separately from others with his realization of the distinctive terroir characteristics and wine style of the Château. The wine became a precious serving and renowned so that even having demands from the kings and emperors as far as India (that is why you can also find elephant sculptures in their cellar, and also the icon), before the advanced transportation like we have nowadays, wines are shipped by big boats and sailed on the sea for months before reaching the destination, with the storage period that affects the oak barrels, that somehow created an exotic flavor in the wine with aroma and tastes like herbs, bell peppers and even spices that have been used prominently in Indian cuisine.
Saint-Estèphe is well-known with its gravel-predominated soil composition resulting in the production of big and tannic cabernet based wines, that is exactly how the name of the Château comes from – ‘Cos’, in old Gascon, means ‘The Hill of Pebbles’, this renowned second growth wine estate produces prominently Cabernet (75%) and Merlot (25%) that aligns with the characteristic of the region yet providing a distinctive aroma and unforgettable experience of enjoyment for wine connoisseurs.
Since the acquisition by Mr. Michel Reybier, a luxury resort magnate with prestigious hotels and spas in Geneva and Paris, in year 2000 as the new owner of the Château, Michel strives to uphold the spirit and legacy of the unique character, and elevate a higher standard in terms of quality to offer the avant-garde style that was initiated by Louis Gaspard.
One can simply find the great freshness, concentrated with exotic spice from vintage 2003 with well-balanced tannin and acidity, blackcurrant and blackberry aroma and a hint of spiciness; an exceptional year of 2005 brought along the intense dryness, full-bodied wine with wonderful purity on the nose, although aging in 80% of new oak barrels, the fruity flavor can still be found pleasantly in currants, berries and minerals but not overpowered by the oaky taste. While for vintage 2009, thanks to the gravity system of their new cellar, the wine is powerful with high tannin content, thick yet without being too heavy or aggressive, the freshness, spice and typical terroir can be found in this vintage that offers a striking perfume of blueberry liqueur and cassis.
Perhaps when you visit this Château one day, why not have a sip of their red wine to experience the exotic eastern fantasy in the beautiful Saint-Estèphe!
Image courtesy of Château Cos d’Estournel