A fire that partly damaged the famous ‘Zanzibar door’ entrance of Château Cos d’Estournel in St-Estèphe has been condemned as an ‘odious and criminal action’ by the second growth estate, and was being investigated as an act of vandalism by local police.
A spokesperson for Cos d’Estournel said that an apparent arson attack on the Château’s ornate door on the night of 25 July was an attempt to destroy a ‘priceless piece of art’.
In an email Tuesday (7 August), the spokesperson said that the door was only partly damaged in the attack and that efforts were underway to restore it.
Local media carried an image of a black tarpaulin covering the estate’s so-called ‘Zanzibar door’.
Police have started an investigation in suspected vandalism, according to the Lesparre-Medoc Gendarmerie said.
A police spokesperson added that he had never seen anything of the kind before and was unable at this stage to say yet how the fire might have been started or why.
Insurers were assessing the cost of the damage.
The imposing, intricately carved wooden door, is said to have been imported from the Sultan of Zanzibar’s palace and was installed by Cos d’Estournel’s eponymous first owner, Louis Gaspard d’Estournel, in the early 1800s.
Nicknamed the Maharajah of St-Estèphe, d’Estournel also built the exotic pagoda style towers that make the Château a unique Bordeaux landmark.
Although d’Estournel was forced to sell the estate to London bank Martyns in 1852, he is credited as the first to see the estate’s potential, vinifying the best grapes separately as of 1811.
He died in 1853, two years before the estate achieved second growth status in the 1855 classification.
An exclusive report for Premium subscribers by Jane Anson