“Making a great wine is about putting a place in a glass.”

thomas duroux — director of Château Palmer

domaine chateau palmer

CULTIVATING DIVERSITY. Taking the time to see what surrounds us. Every being exists within an environment that is adapted to it, that shelters it, nourishes it, and helps it grow. One of the founding principles of biodynamic viticulture is to consider each living element as part of a whole. A vine cannot be observed in isolation. It must be considered as part of an ensemble, connected to the soil’s microbiota, the river’s guiding hand, the animal kingdom, human activity, the food landscape, and the global garden. At a fundamental level, the Château Palmer vineyard is a vast ecosystem, a holistic and circular farm, a living organism whose essence, whose true nature, is to be self-sufficient and balanced.

STANDING THE TEST OF TIME. “Time isn’t the main thing. It’s the only thing.” Just like Château Palmer, Miles Davis’ cool jazz has deep, ancient roots, but expresses itself with the utmost modernity through innovation and instinct, constantly pushing its limits to achieve the desired expression of a musical phrase. Revealing the truth of a prestigious terroir is a long road that forces us to move forward with an open mind, to experiment, never indulging in certainty or preconceptions. Fine wine stands the test of time; Palmer’s legendary vintages are proof enough. In their role as witnesses of the past, they provide a source of inspiration for the future.

PASSING DOWN A PLACE. A place and its surrounding area, a château and its village, the beating heart of a community driven by a shared vision. The men and women leading Château Palmer into the 21st century are rhyming tradition with innovation, drawing on the latest progress in agronomy and oenology to better understand a vineyard’s life and its role in transmitting the nuances of the terroir. By fostering pioneering growing practices that respect the harmony of nature, they ensure that, for decades to come, the estate will continue to inspire irresistible callings and create wines that embody a place, those who pass it down, and the elusive forces which draw them together.


“All great terroirs overlook the river.”


THE TERROIR. Fine wines, fine terroir. The Plateau des Brauzes, a place charged with powerful energy, was the first terraced deposit of gravelly soil swept along by the Garonne River throughout two ice ages. Today, it exudes both intense vibrancy and unmistakable serenity. Walking through these rows of vines means becoming aware of the converging circumstances that gave life to this blessed terroir, a veritable kaleidoscope of soils overlooking the Gironde estuary. For four centuries, generation after generation, the teams at Château Palmer have devoted their talent, intelligence, and know-how to a passionate pursuit: capturing the subtleties of this demanding and legendary terroir.

THE STONES. Beneath our feet lie countless tons of gravelly soil packed with strangely named precious stones – lydian, quartzite, chalcedony – inherited from the Quaternary Period. More than a million years ago, in a brilliant and spontaneous twist of nature, the Garonne River deposited them here in terraces on the banks of the estuary. Their behavior has fascinated us ever since. In these washed-out soils with sparse organic matter, the stones prevent the vines from overgrowing and putting out too many shoots and leaves. As they are arranged in layers, they ensure perfect drainage while releasing stored heat, and our vines grow high-quality grapes as a result.

THE GRAPES. To express the potential of its terroir, the estate has an approach based on three pillars: two equal parts Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, rounded off with a splash of Petit Verdot. This is a unique varietal distribution, whose core is comprised of old Merlots planted in the 1930s on great Cabernet terroirs. As Merlot is an early-ripening variety, it provides the uniquely velvety Château Palmer wines with generosity and suppleness. Cabernet on the other hand, is grown from hard wood and gives Palmer and Alter Ego their restrained power and rich substance. Lastly, the long untamed Petit Verdot completes this assemblage, adding an essential spiced touch.


“A great wine depends on a great many small details...”

Nicolas Pescina — cellar worker

au chai

THE VAT ROOM. Framed in soft lighting and set within an imposing wooden framework, the vat room is the culmination of the vine’s four seasons. This space witnesses the freshly harvested grapes being transferred to conical vats ranging from 89 to 195 hectoliters, where the fermentation begins. The 54 highly sophisticated, temperature-controlled vats ferment the grapes plot by plot, or even within specific plots. The result is an exact expression of each terroir’s typical nature, with as little intervention as possible. Alongside growing practices that further highlight the individual identity of each plot, these technical installations enable Palmer to achieve an unprecedented level of precision.

THE EXPERIMENTAL VAT ROOM. Questioning accepted practices is the rule at Château Palmer. The estate’s pioneering spirit draws on respect for the past while resolutely looking to the future, eager to experiment, improve, and understand. Nowhere does this find its essence more than in the experimental vat room, a unique space where experiments are performed within a lab and nine micro-vats. The research carried out here has enabled us to half the use of sulfur during the vinification by developing our own pied de cuve fermentation starter. These projects are driven by the same ambition: to use all the tools and knowledge at our disposal to preserve the expression of our terroir – while carefully avoiding any hint of artifice.

TWO-STEPS AGEING. If the vat room is where a wine is born, the barrel cellar is where it is brought to maturity. Monastic silence reigns, both at “Les Jasmins” and in the half-light of the historic “Les Marronniers” cellar. The kind of silence needed for time to work its magic, and lasting between 20 and 22 months of aging. The first step takes place in 225-liter barrels – less than half of which are made with new wood to fully respect the wine – and the second in 30 hectoliters vats, which lend the wine its patina throughout the second year. In the gentle chiaroscuro, the wine passes unhurriedly through time, shifting through the immutable stages of maturation and up to bottling. Only then can it finally make its entrance into the world.


“Passing on to the next generation in full health.”

sabrina pernet — technical director

CHARLES PALMER. In 1814, Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Palmer’s name was on everyone’s lips. His conquests, both military and romantic, had built the reputation of this future Major General of the British army and aide-de-camp to the future King George IV. Madame Marie Brunet de Ferrière, the widow of the Baron de Gascq, fell under his spell. Sitting by his side on a long journey from Bordeaux to Paris, the young widow sold him the Médoc wine estate she has just inherited. Without even visiting it, this son of a Bath brewer became the owner of the Gascq estate, which had been renowned for the quality of its wines since the early 18th century. Over a period of almost 30 years, this gentleman expanded and modernized the estate, laying the foundations for its timeless style.

THE PEREIRE BROTHERS. In mid-19th-century Paris, Émile and Isaac Pereire were involved in all kinds of business sectors. From railroads to real estate to banking, every cutting-edge industry bore their stamp. Yet these sons of immigrants raised in Bordeaux dreamed of achieving greatness in their native land. In 1853, they acquired the estate and arranged it around a neo-Renaissance château, paving the way for the famous “village.” Despite the Great War, powdery and downy mildew, or grape phylloxera that plagued the late 19th century, the Pereire brothers never stopped developing Château Palmer. The rigor and passion with which they laid the foundations saw it enter the 1855 Classification and have enabled it to stand the test of time.

TODAY. Since 1938, Palmer has set itself apart as one of Bordeaux’s finest grand cru estates. Four dynasties, then two, have led the estate to global recognition in less than a century. The Mähler-Besse family, originally from the Netherlands, are established figures in the textile and wine trades; and the Sichel family, specialized in the distribution of grand cru wines in England, France, and Germany. Together, their descendants rebuilt the vineyard after World War II, producing several exceptional vintages including a legendary 1961. Having entrusted the management of Château Palmer to Thomas Duroux in 2004, they are continuing to sustainably develop the estate while remaining attentive to the world around it.