Saint-Estèphe is the most northerly commune of the Haut-Médoc. Its vines are grown on clay-rich soil, unlike the gravel that lies in much of the rest of the Haut-Médoc. As a consequence, its wines tend to have higher acidity levels. In particularly dry years, when the rest of the Haut-Médoc's vines are stressed by lack of water, Saint-Estèphe is relatively unaffected and produces some of its finest wines. Overlooking its famous neighbour, Lafite-Rothschild, Château Cos d'Estournel sits on a ridge just north of the Pauillac border. The quality of the wine suffered in the 1960s and the estate invariably found itself playing second fiddle to such châteaux as Montrose. The chateau's fortunes changed in 1971 when Bruno Prats, a highly accomplished winemaker took the reins. Since 1997 it has been run by Bruno's son Jean-Guillaume Prats and the tradition of excellence has been passed seamlessly to the next generation. Like many top Bordeaux châteaux, Cos d'Estournel uses the grapes from the younger vines to produce a second wine, one that has many of the characteristics of the Grand Vin, but is ready to drink sooner. This provides a chance to enjoy a wine from a great estate, without the wait. Pagodes de Cos takes its name from the chai where the wines are made, an ornate building which resembles an oriental pagoda. Bordeaux authority Robert Parker writes, "Possibly the finest Pagodes the estate has produced, as Jean-Guillaume Prats said, this 2010 is better than many vintages of Cos d'Estournel produced in the sixties and seventies ... plump and fat with an abundant concentration of black fruits as well as outstanding intensity, purity and texture." Let the bottle stand upright for a day to allow any sediment to drop to the bottom, then decant for a couple of hours before serving. Enjoy with roast lamb, beef, venison, rich stews or farmhouse cheeses. Drink by the end of 2030.