Michel Reybier, the billionaire hotelier and owner of St.-Estèphe second-growth Château Cos-d'Estournel, has purchased neighboring winery Château Cos Labory. Reybier finalized a deal a few weeks ago, purchasing the fifth-growth from the Audoy family for an undisclosed sum.
The deal expands Reybier's growing wine empire and his presence in St.-Estèphe. Cos Labory, which has a track record of producing very good, but not outstanding, Bordeaux for under $50 a bottle, gains a new owner with deep pockets. This is not Reybier’s first expansion in St-Estèphe. In 2017, he acquired neighboring Château Pomeys, which he converted to a boutique restaurant and hotel, renaming it Maison d’Estournel.
"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," said proprietor Bernard Audoy.
Despite the proximity to Cos-d'Estournel, which Reybier bought in 2000, his plan for Cos Labory is to maintain its unique identity. "I would like to thank the Audoy family for the qualitative approach and passion it has dedicated to the wines of Cos Labory," said Reybier. "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."
Cos-d'Estournel's cellarmaster Angélique Vigouroux will remain in her post while also taking on the job of technical director at Cos Labory, working with Cyrille Audoin, who will manage Labory’s 86.5 acres of vineyards. "The first step will be in the vineyard, where we will discover more in depth the terroir of Cos Labory and its specificities in order to extract the best potential," said Reybier.
The vineyards are planted to 55 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 36 percent Merlot, 5 percent Cabernet Franc and 4 percent Petit Verdot and produce about 6,500 cases a year.
For 13 years during the 19th century, Cos Labory and Cos-d'Estournel were intertwined, and this historic connection appeals to Reybier. Cos Labory was originally known as Cos Gaston when it was owned by Pierre Gaston in the 18th century. The estate changed names when it was inherited by Gaston's granddaughter, who married a Labory. Louis Gaspard d'Estournel, the eponymous founder of Cos-d'Estournel, bought Cos Labory in 1847, but the two estates weren't under the same owner for long.
D'Estournel sold his business in 1852, and eight years later, the new owner sold off Cos Labory. It then passed into the hands of the most recent owners in the 1930s. With Bernard Audoy, 69, hitting retirement, and neither his brothers nor any of their children in a position to take over the estate, they decided to sell to Reybier.
Cos Labory will join a prestigious stable of fine wines already owned by Reybier. In Tokay he owns Tokaj-Hétszőlő, in Provence he bought Château La Mascaronne in a partnership with retired basketball star Tony Parker, and in Champagne he makes a high-end Michel Reybier cuvée as well as the Jeeper line. He is also heavily invested in luxury beauty and health clinics in Switzerland and an extensive luxury hotel group.