2012 Cos d’Estournel Vintage Harvest Interview Jean Guillaume Prats



2012 Cos d’Estournel marks the end of an era with the Prats families involvement with Chateau Cos d’Estournel.  It’s the final vintage for the man who has become the face of St. Estephe estate.  Jean Guillaume Prats will leave the property at end of the year for a position with LVMH as the CEO of Maison Estates and wines starting in February 2013. Next, year, we’ll be speaking with Aymeric de Gironde, who will replace Prats at Chateau Cos d’Estournel starting in January.

The full details can be read here:  Jean Guillame Prats Leaving Cos d’Estournel in Shocking News!

We caught up with Jean Guillaume Prats for our last interview with him on about the estate he helped build into one of the most famous, respected and expensive wines in the entire Bordeaux appellation.

Jeff Leve Is the 2012 Cos d’Estournel vintage one of the latest harvests in the history of Cos?

Jean Guillaume Prats “We finished picking on October 16. That makes 2012 Cos d’Estournel one of the latest harvest in the history of Cos d’Estournel. It was more than 4 weeks later than last year.”

Jeff Leve Having gone through the growing season and harvest, now that your vats are fermenting, what previous year does the 2012 Bordeaux vintage remind you of?

Jean Guillaume Prats “Based on the weather conditions, in some ways, it’s a different version of 2003 with the excessive weather conditions over the summer and it also recalls 2002, for the great Indian summer in September.”

Jeff Leve What about as a matter of style for 2012 Cos d’Estournel?

Jean Guillaume Prats “2012 Bordeaux could turn out to share commonalities with the 2002 Bordeaux vintage, but with more intensity.”

Jeff Leve What was the most difficult or stressful part of the growing season this year?

Jean Guillaume Prats “The season had a spring that should not be remembered.”

Jeff Leve Those are strong words!  I imagine much of that has to do with the difficult flowering conditions. What special vineyard techniques did you perform this year?

Jean Guillaume Prats “It was important that we cut bunches at veraison time. This allowed us to keep the homogeneity within the grapes, which in turn helped us reach a level of harmonious phenolic ripeness.”

Jeff Leve Did the drought and stress present you with any unique challenges?

Jean Guillaume Prats “No.  That is because of the clay in our soil that we are fortunate to have under the gravel in the Cos d’Estournel vineyards.”

Jeff Leve When we spoke earlier in the year, you were worried about the vintage. What happened to change your mind?

Jean Guillaume Prats “We were saved by a strong August and September. When you look at what could have been the scenario going back to June and July, it did not look good.  Things turned much better than we previously anticipated.”

Jeff Leve When did you start harvesting?

Jean Guillaume Prats “We started to harvest Merlot September 27 and completed the picking for the 2012 Cos d’Estournel October 16.”

Jeff Leve How did the October rains effect your harvesting?

Jean Guillaume Prats “We stopped harvesting for one week between the picking of the Merlot and Cabernet.”

Jeff Leve Did you consider waiting longer to at any point before restarting your harvest?

Jean Guillame Prats “We are already close to mid-October. I am not sure what more we could have gained by waiting.”

Jeff Leve Which grape variety gave you the most trouble this year?

Jean Guillaume Prats “The Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot were top. The Petit Verdot was disappointing this year.”

Jeff Leve For the harvest, how many pickers did you employ?

Jean Guillaume Prats “It takes 130 pickers for the harvest.”

Jeff Leve What are your yields with the 2012 Cos d’Estournel?

Jean Guillaume Prats “We will be at 30 hectoliters per hectare this year.”

Jeff Leve What do you anticipate your alcohol levels will be for the 2012 Cos d’Estournel?

Jean Guillaume Prats “On average, we should reach 13.8% alcohol.”


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