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21.06.2022
INSTANTS, a Château Palmer and Leica Residency
Château Palmer and Leica have come together to create a shared photography project.
Château Palmer and Leica have come together to create a shared photography project. Together, they launch INSTANTS, a residency program inaugurated by Dutch photographer Paul Cupido, and confirm their support for contemporary photographic creation.

As an avant-garde grand cru classé in its field, Château Palmer has built its reputation on the quality of its wines and its pioneering winemaking choices. It is also renowned for its creativity, developed through ambitious artistic collaborations in the worlds of jazz and photography. This encounter with Leica, a global leader in exceptional optical engineering and the legendary partner of the world’s finest photographers, led to the launch of the INSTANTS artistic residency program at Château Palmer in collaboration with Art Photo Projects.

After his name was put forward by Art Photo Projects, Dutch photographer Paul Cupido is inaugurating and completing this new residency program throughout several stays at Château Palmer between April and October 2022. For this first edition, equipped with Leica’s iconic cameras, he has been given carte blanche to portray the history and values of Palmer: “Château Palmer gave me the opportunity to visit the estate, meet the winemakers, and fully appreciate its geographical location on the fertile banks of the Gironde River. I want to offer a poetic interpretation of these elements, much like a composer translates feelings into notes, or a winemaker works with what nature provides.”

INSTANTS is organizing an exhibition in the new Leica gallery in central Paris in spring 2023, at 24 Rue Boissy d’Anglas. An art book is also set to be published with Filigranes Éditions.

Mirages © Paul Cupido for INSTANTS residency, Château Palmer and Leica, 2022

Leica is a German manufacturer of high-end cameras since 1925. For more information: https://leica-camera.com/

 

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13.06.2022
PASSING THE TORCH - PART 2
The estate was divided into five "islands" four years ago and the teams rediscover their distinct plots each season

The estate was divided into five "islands" four years ago and the teams rediscover their distinct plots each season, mastering them with time, experience and ever-deeper roots.

 

Le Cassena

This singular island nestled two miles from the château is bordered by a forest and scattered with fruit trees. This is the estate's "most varied" ensemble, featuring four varieties of white grapes alongside the reds. These vigorous vines each require specific pruning and treatment. Debudding is one particularly delicate stage, consisting of cutting off a vast number of excess branches, often "as thick as Christmas trees," says Franck, to give an idea of the scale of the task. This valiant Médoc native can count on Isabelle, a former pre-school assistant, who is as skilled at growing vines as she was at raising children. Christine completes this trio, and received twenty roses from the director, in person, to celebrate her twentieth year with the estate last February. All three are unwaveringly loyal to the earth and have a truly extraordinary work ethic.

 

Le Plateau

These are the oldest vines, lying closest to the estuary and offering the finest wines. The Plateau des Brauzes is also the "cleanest" island, according to the winegrowers, meaning it is a well-known, tamed terroir. It serves as the estate's memory, located just behind the château where the sun rises and the Merlots shine. Aurélie, a former carpenter who is now proud to work with wood's very roots, heads up an enthusiastic team. Every year, they are delighted to "rediscover the same plots" and eager to experiment with new techniques. On plot 46, for example, the number of vine stocks has doubled to reach 20,000 feet per hectare. Meanwhile, on plot 16, the vines are being pruned higher this year and trellised up to six feet. The objective is to develop a better understanding of the ecosystem and work tirelessly to make the vines more resilient and robust. Both a calling and an exultation.

 

Domec

Driss is one of the guardians of the estate. When he has finished working on the Merlot or Cabernet vines of the Domec island — a total of thirteen hectares between the cellar and the Route des Vins — he sleeps in the village, watches over the château, feeds the animals, and sometimes even helps deliver a calf or a lamb, accompanied by his wife and their three children. "Perfectionism" is his philosophy, because "it pays off." "A profound knowledge of the vines makes our job easier," says Émilie. "We see the results of our work from one year to the next." The winegrower chose Château Palmer for "its pioneering spirit," "the absence of pesticides," and its biodynamic approach. Vintage after vintage, the five members of the team watch with satisfaction as "the plant learns to stand on its own two feet." The winegrower provides the impetus, and nature follows.

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25.04.2022
2021, time and moderation
The year 2021 is a vintage in which the talents of a diverse and determined team have made the difference.

While January initially heralded a cold winter, February promised kinder temperatures and nourishing rains. The return to dry weather fostered consistent budding across the vines. Having been efficiently contained by the teams, the spring frosts – black from April 6 to 8; white in mid-April and early May – slowed growth. Flowering eventually began on May 28, two weeks later than in 2020, in a warm, dry climate. The fruit set accelerated, and a handful of our most earliest ripening Merlots were affected by coulure.

Rainfall was followed by a sharp rise in temperatures in June, leading to explosive vegetative growth. Shortly after a torrential storm on June 19, the arrival of mildew required meticulous monitoring until the end of the ripening period. A half-hearted summer until August 15 exacerbated vine growth, sparking fears of low numbers of grapes. In late August and early September, four weeks of dry weather thankfully dispelled a lot of the water and the ripening process resumed as normal, just in time for the harvest.

Threatened by botrytis, the Merlot harvest started on September 24 while the Cabernets finished on October 15. Despite more modest yields than expected, the harvest was healthy with ripe grapes, and the tasting revealed a remarkably fine tannic texture. The assemblages were finalised in early December, reflecting an ever-clearer perspective of the Château Palmer plots. This 2021 batch offers exceptionally fulfilled wines, rooted in moderation and harmony, harking back to the vintages of the previous century.

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22.04.2022
Open/Closed: A Château
Who still dreams of châteaux?

If it were a château, would it be in the sky? Quiet, haughty, disconnected from days and nights? No. Just like at Palmer, it would be firmly rooted among the vines. 
 

Who still dreams of châteaux? The Grand Siècle fantasy has worn thin. The new world seeks out the horizontal, refusing all arrogant ancestors. While this may be true, we are too quick to forget that its towers are also perfect lightning rods. Freed from its cold disdain, the château now appears as an anchor, an efficient catalyst capturing energy from the landscape to emanate across the surrounding areas.

To truly understand this concept at Palmer requires beginning a journey at the port, allowing the ocean breeze to blow you from the estuary to the foliage of the vine stock. From there, the silhouette will loom tall, nestled against the hill, the bridge that binds the estate together. 

The château recounts the history of Palmer much like the needle deciphers music from the grooves of a vinyl record. A walled complex that amplifies atmospheres and eras, set to an endlessly singular and overpowering melody. While the estate has existed since the early 18th century, the château only came to life in 1854. This was a year after two brothers Isaac and Emile Pereire, iconic businessmen of the Second Empire, acquired the 163-acre ensemble created by the adventurous Charles Palmer. They decided to endow it with an edifice befitting its reputation – a reputation confirmed by the classification of 1855. 

The château was built by Bordeaux architect Charles Burguet in a neo-Gothic style in keeping with the times. It featured a main building spanning three floors, flanked by four turrets with round front-facing façades and angular rear sections. These aspects are hardly out of the ordinary, but those looking closely at the detailed ornaments will see that the subtle Baroque appearance – which adopts a mysterious aura after nightfall – is akin to the fabulous quintas in the Portuguese town of Sintra so adored by Lord Byron. This reference is not down to chance, but in fact highlights both the Lusitanian origins of the Pereire brothers and the estate’s cosmopolitan personality. 

Alongside this worldly openness, the Pereire brothers also extended the château outwards in the tradition of the Bordeaux estates, building a self-sufficient village home to the workers who oversaw the smooth-running of the property. 
These are two sides of the same coin. 

At Palmer, the château is worn like a talisman. Its place on the label is not just symbolic. It deepens with every passing day, shaping the organization of the village and lending a full sense to the consumable landscape – both its meaning and its direction.

 

by Paul-Henri Bizon

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15.04.2022
Nature at work
Spring is never short on surprises. On sudden appearances.

Spring is never short on surprises. On sudden appearances. While the final jobs are being completed (acanage, pliage), the sap awakens and the vine transforms. This is “winter’s dreams told at the table of angels,” to quote the poet Khalil Gibran. The first buds emerge under their fine down; a “budding” period both miraculous and at the mercy of climatic whims.

 

These are “weeks that count twice as much,” says Sabrina Pernet, the technical director of Château Palmer. The early April frosts forced the teams to be tirelessly vigilant, tending gently to the Merlots with candles and wind turbines. Since then, the winemakers have coddled the buds, spraying valerian and essential oil of Helichrysum to strengthen the branches until the blossoms arrive. The ingenuity of the earth reclaims its rightful place while the spring breeze warms our hearts.

 

The next few days will see the arrival of green shoots of Cabernet Sauvignon and the new vintage will be revealed to early buyers, complete with its promise of aromatic freshness and supple tannins. Blooms and resurrection; the unstoppable dance of the seasons, true to itself and different every year, ends the long winter’s night with a promise of radiant days to come.

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14.01.2022
Passing the torch - PART 1
Château Palmer is an intricate patchwork of skillsets, grape varieties and personalities...

Château Palmer is an intricate patchwork of skillsets, grape varieties and personalities. The estate was divided into five "islands" four years ago and the teams rediscover their distinct plots each season, mastering them with time, experience and ever-deeper roots. Each section has its own dedicated squad, its "specialist" winegrower, its mood swings and sense of humour, its pruning style and its harvest. These rich, varied profiles have all had a dramatic year; twelve rainy months with little sunshine and the threat of frost and mildew. A "summerless" year, as the growers like to say, having come to terms with the whims of the climate. "We were wearing T-shirts in February and woolly hats in April." But the unpredictable weather has done nothing to dampen their enthusiasm, nor sap their work ethic, which is founded on precision, attentiveness and a love of the earth.

 

Boston-Boulibrane

In a mixture of jest and pride, Jonathan has named it the "Arctic Circle." This island is the furthest and wildest on the Château Palmer estate; an enclave fit only for strong hands and hardy souls capable of braving the cold to nurture a young, undisciplined Cabernet-Sauvignon vine planted just twenty years ago. Back in 2017, the frost decimated the harvest. Since then, the plot's crack team led by Stéphanie has refined its strategy to rescue any endangered sections. Their methods now include emergency wind turbines against late frosts, an arsenal of candles lit for the first time this year, and regularly spraying the vine with herbal tea. Accompanied by Teddy, an archaeology graduate with a passion for biodynamic agriculture, this brigade of adventurous winegrowers and vineyard first-aiders enjoy the reward of working in a unique, wooded setting near the sheep pen. A challenging land, but therefore one of infinite promise.

 

The 40s-50s

A railway track meanders through this island and its twenty plots, home to a majority of Merlot and a small section of Cabernet and Petit Verdot. This third variety is gentler and easier to prune than the others, but also more sensitive to humidity in a context where there can be "all four seasons in one day," as Marie often says. She and her colleague Kyllian welcomed a new member this winter. At the age of forty, Bruno has discovered teamwork, the Palmer spirit — "getting the most out of every detail!" — and is astounded by the daily celebration of biodiversity. "Nature recharges its batteries here; you can feel it. The grass is thick, teeming with insects, and the occasional snake. I prefer seeing animals than tractors. It's essential for our children's future."

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04.01.2022
2022, A New Chapter
While the vine rests and grows, the cold winter nights already offer a glimpse of the next season, rooted in history and thir

A cycle ends under a deep-blue evening sky. The hallmark is there, fixed for eternity, a momentum lending its color to the estate and expressing its infinite nuances of uncompromising respect for nature, the highest standards of expertise, and the absolute sincerity of a longstanding commitment.

 

While the vine rests and grows, the cold winter nights already offer a glimpse of the next season, rooted in history and thirsty for rebirth. The future of Château Palmer is not left to chance; it is crafted attentively, to a jazz-like beat, blending knowledge from the past, sensitivity to the present, and pioneering spirit.

 

In this context, the outline of tomorrow is sketched in the seasonal half-light. An autonomous farm based on a circular economy, a stroll through a renovated village, a nurturing landscape delicately set to music, ending with exceptional wines as nature plays out the full, fertile extent of its composition.

 

One chapter ends, but an invitation is extended once again to venture further each day, steeped in the passion of the vines and a celebration of life, constantly clearing new ground, seeking reinvention while standing tall on sustainable and prestigious foundations. Towards infinite new perspectives.

 

Watch the video : https://bit.ly/chateau_palmer2022

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