On the heights of Saint-Estèphe stand the magnificent pagodas of Cos d'Estournel, the legacy of Louis Gaspartd Lacoste de Maniban, known as the 'Maharajah of Saint-Estèphe'.
A keen traveller, his palace, built on the estate founded in 1811, was fashioned over the years in the designs of the far-off lands he visited, and remains today one of the most fascinating landmarks in Bordeaux. Yet, its exotic and Oriental-inspired palace aside, Cos d'Estournel's 91 hectares of vineyards are well worthy of note on their own. Its surrounding terroir provides remarkable complexity and richness in the wines, and the estate was elevated to Second Growth status in the 1855 Classification.
Several changes of ownership have marked the estate's history, the most recent - and arguably significant - being the takeover of Michel Reybier in 2000. Since Reybier's ownership, winemakers such as Jean-Guillaume Prats and Aymerick de Gironde have done scores to bolster the Chateau's reputation for quality and style. The estate has gone from strength to strength since, with Robert Parker even awarding the 2009 vintage a perfect score of 100 points, calling it 'one of the greatest young wines I have ever tasted'.
Today, Cos d'Estournel is without a doubt the leading estate in St-Estèphe. Located in the south of the appellation, on the border of Pauillac, its clay-gravel soils and south-facing exposure combine to create fantastic wines that rival many top growths, which has led the estate to be dubbed a 'Super Second'. Typically a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 38% Merlot and 2% Cabernet Franc, the Cos d'Estournel wines are full-bodied, dark and brooding, with fantastic potential for ageing. The Chateau possesses some of the best winemaking facilities in the whole of Bordeaux, as well as vineyards averaging around 45 years of age - although some are between 80-100 years old.