Cos defends 2011 release price

Cos d’Estournel’s director of development, Dimitri Augenblick, has defended his estate’s release price for the 2011 vintage.

Speaking to the drinks business, Augenblick explained that contrary to the outcry among the trade and commentators, 2011 Cos is not as highly priced as it might first appear.

When the wine appeared last month it was greeted with dismay by merchants and commentators, who said it was proving impossible to sell.

The main complaints were that it was too expensive for a vintage of only average quality and it made more sense for collectors to buy less expensive back vintages.

However, when viewed ex-cellar, the 2011 price of €90 p/b was actually lower than the 2005 price of €100 p/b (the first time the estate passed €100 a bottle ex-cellar).

He also pointed out that after rising to €100 p/b in 2005, in 2006, 2007 and 2008 the price then dropped sharply to €67, €56 and €55 respectively and it was only with 2009 and 2010 that prices rose again.

“So €90 a bottle in 2012 is not so expensive,” said Augenblick. “After 2009 and 2010, we didn’t want to be as low as 2008 but also knew it couldn’t be higher than 2005.

“This is part of our strategy for positioning our brand,” he added.

Augenblick admitted that, “2009 was expensive but it was crazy for everyone. That was the Chinese market.”

Returning to 2011, Augenblick also defended the quality of the vintage – and thus the resulting price – something that Christian Seely and other Bordeaux owners told db earlier this week.

For all of the cries to bring 2011 down to 2008 pricing, he argued that 2011 is perhaps a better year and merits a slightly higher price point.

“2008 is great,” Augenblick explained, “but it’s a bit simple”.

Much was made of the hail storm that struck Saint Estèphe in September, but Augenblick said that the canopy took most of the damage.

As the storm was followed by several days of sunshine, the estate found itself harvesting on 5 September not 8 September as originally planned.

He added that he was glad the vintage was not as powerful as the previous two “because not everyone likes the big years. It was a winemaker’s vintage and the wines are more classical and remind me of 1986,” he said.

He also added that the difficulties of the year meant that, “we made less Cos but the best we were able”.

Production of the estate’s first and second wines has been practically reversed for 2011, with Cos making up 30% of the normal volume, with greater production of Les Pagodes de Cos instead.

2011 was also the smallest crop since 1991.

Augenblick finished by saying that it was worth remembering that every year the first growths are three times more expensive than Cos and sure enough so far, Lafite at €420 is three times Cos’ €106.

‘It’s the same thing every year,” he added, “buyers always want Cos at £10 a bottle but at that price it’s not Cos”.


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