Michel Reybier and family have owned Cos d’Estournel since 2000 and the acquisition of Cos Labory from the Audoy family brings together two major properties in Bordeaux’s St-Estèphe appellation.
Michel Reybier said: ‘I would like to thank the Audoy family for the qualitative approach and passion it has dedicated to the wines of Cos Labory.
‘This is what has guided my decision to perpetuate the estate’s independence while pursuing the level of excellence made possible by this great terroir of St-Estèphe.’
The neighbouring properties of Cos d’Estournel and Cos Labory, ranked as second and fifth growths respectively in the Bordeaux 1855 Classification, have a long and intertwined history.
Pierre Gaston began making wine at Cos Labory back in the late 1700s, although it was initially known as Cos Gaston. Upon his death, his three children reputedly drew lots for the estate, and it went to his eldest son, Hyacinthe.
Hyacinthe’s only child, Marie–Sany, married Francois-Armand Labory, and the couple renamed the estate Cos Gaston Labory, later shortened to Cos Labory. At the time, it was producing more wine than its closest neighbour, Cos d’Estournel.
Louis Gaspard d’Estournel, the founder of Cos d’Estournel, then purchased Cos Labory in in the mid-1840s, bringing the adjacent properties together for the first time. Some top Cos Labory vineyards parcels were reportedly transferred to Cos d’Estournel.
Gaspard d’Estournel – a colourful character who was known as the Maharajah of St-Estèphe in honour of his globe-trotting visits to India – sold the business to an English banker, Charles Martyns, in 1852. In 1860, Martyns sold Cos Labory to Louis Peychaud, ending its 13-year association with Cos d’Estournel.
George Weber bought Cos Labory in the 1930s, and he left it to his daughter Cecile and son-in-law Francois Audoy in 1959.
Bernard Audoy, their eldest child, continued to run the business, and it has earned plaudits from some critics. ‘A Cru Classé that in recent years has clearly been striving to catch up with its 1855 neighbours,’ wrote Jane Anson for Decanter in 2020, after tasting Cos Labory 2019 en primeur (92 points).
However, Audoy is now 69 years old and gearing up for retirement. Neither he nor his three brothers have any children ready to take the reins, so they decided to sell Cos Labory to Reybier, reuniting it with Cos d’Estournel after 163 years apart.
Bernard Audoy said: ‘We feel proud and fortunate to be handing over the reins of Cos Labory to Michel Reybier and his family and remain confident that they will continue to manage the estate with respect and commitment while pursuing new and ambitious directions.’