Palmer & you



The life breath of Château Palmer.
Our latest inspirations and creations.
These respirations which drive the estate's beating heart, animating its life and that of its men and women.

The Taste of Harvest
It’s a crucial period of the year in Bordeaux, with harvest season already in full swing at Château Palmer for more than two
October 2019 – It’s a crucial period of the year in Bordeaux, with harvest season already in full swing at Château Palmer for more than two weeks. The grapes that have reached full maturity are being carefully harvested from parcel to parcel. The freshly picked bunches are carried to the sorting table where a team attends to the removal of leaves and damaged berries. In the estate’s vat room, the tanks are filled methodically so that each will contain only a single lot of grapes from a specific parcel.
Next comes the tasting of the juice, which takes place every morning in the tasting area of the vat room. Thomas, the director of the estate, Sabrina, the technical director, Olivier, the cellar master, and Hervé, who runs the analysis laboratory, all come together to taste each of the lots and to lay down the programme of tasks, like remontage or pumping over the must, for the following day.
At this stage, certain musts still have sugars remaining, while others, notably from the first parcels harvested, have finished their alcoholic fermentation. The tasters concentrate on their texture, their tannic structure, and their acidity, to guide them in setting the rhythm and volume of pump-overs for all the vats.
This morning tasting is a decisive moment, when choices made in managing a vinification will contribute to shape the new vintage. It’s an exercise which requires an acute knowledge of Château Palmer’s vineyards, to be able to make decisions that will allow this 2019 vintage to fully express all the richness, nuance, complexity, and beauty of our terroir.
"Jazz, the sound of New-York" by Philippe Lévy-Stab
Château Palmer welcomes the exhibition “Jazz, the Sound of New York” by Philippe Lévy-Stab.
September 2019 - Château Palmer welcomes the exhibition “Jazz, the Sound of New York” by Philippe Lévy-Stab. Composed of portraits of great jazzmen and perspectives of urban landscapes, the exhibition retraces a unique creative project developed over the course of the last thirty years by the photographer. From 2nd September to 20th December 2019, the photographer’s universe unites with that of the estate, brought together by a shared passion for jazz.
Philippe Lévy-Stab has been encapsulating the spirits of the greatest figures in jazz since he was a teenager. In photos taken over the course of all-night sessions in Manhattan clubs, he captures the inspiration and singularity of these musicians. By exposing them on paper he gives form to the intangible, printing black and white photographs that reveal the humanity of such artists as Art Blakey, Dizzy Gillespie, Freddie Hubbard, Elvin Jones, Wynton Marsalis, and Archie Shepp.
Spontaneous by nature, jazz is generally not a conducive setting for long portrait sittings. In adapting to this constraint, the photographer created his own style. His photographs are the fruit of short, five-minute shooting sessions directly in front of the musicians, a proximity made possible by the relationships and trust he’s developed over three decades of immersion in the jazz world.
Philippe Lévy-Stab’s images also celebrate New York, whose rhythms the photographer has internalised through years of walking its streets. For him, the links between music and urban landscapes are palpable. As Lévy-Stab puts it, “If jazz were a cry, it would be that of New York itself, this city of such energy it forges its own reality, where the spirit of jazz reveals its deepest truths.”
The exhibition “Jazz, the sound of New-York” by Philippe Lévy-Stab may be seen during estate visits to Château Palmer, from 2nd September to 20th December 2019. Length: 2 ½ hours - 70€ - Reservations by e-mail: chateau-palmer@chateau-palmer.com
Roy Hargrove - City Hall Park, New York 2009
Gelatin silver print 100x100cm - Ed. of 5.
©Philippe Lévy-Stab
The Benefits of Compost
Composting is the ideal process for recycling all the organic materials that would otherwise be thrown away at...

August 2019 — Composting is the ideal process for recycling all the organic materials that would otherwise be thrown away at Château Palmer. It is composed of four elements. Animal manure comes from the cattle and sheep that our shepherds care for. Vine cuttings are gathered up by our vineyard manager, the vignerons and the tractor drivers. Waste remaining from the harvest is made up of grape stems and waste from the sorting tables (grapes, insects, leaves). Green waste from our gardens includes branches, twigs, peelings and much more. All of these elements that enter into creating the compost are collected throughout the year, with the exception of harvest waste, which is amassed from September to October. All of it is kept in piles on a specially dedicated parcel of land.

In the month of August, the four piles are mixed together using a blending mill. The compost is laid out in windrows, or long swathes, across the ground. Biodynamic preparations made from plants are added to encourage the transformation into compost. It’s at this moment that a fermentation begins, reaching a temperature of 60°C, and causing water to evaporate.

The compost will evolve and slowly stabilise over several months. This richly complex process will yield numerous benefits for the vines and the soil. It can be used when still “young”, after around four months of maturation, or when “old”, after more than six months of maturation. “Young” compost will have high concentrations of nitrogen compounds that will be beneficial for the plant. “Old” compost will be richer in carbon and represent a valuable contribution to the soil. The dispersal of compost in the vineyard takes place between December and January, notably when planting new vines, but also for certain parcels already in production.

Blending and composing
The cellar master and his team are the composers of the Château Palmer wines. They conduct the various...

August 2019 - The cellar master and his team are the composers of the Château Palmer wines. They conduct the various stages of winemaking to showcase the wine's complexity and balance. In particular, they combine, or in other words, blend, several lots of grapes. 

The wines of each vintage are blended twice to achieve an ideal balance.

A few months after the harvest and before the en primeur tastings, the first blend is made, and our two wines are hereby created: Château Palmer and Alter Ego.

Each batch is put in barrel following fermentation. Ageing begins, during which each batch is tasted regularly to help us decide on the final blend. The winemakers choose the ideal proportions for the powerful and well-structured Château Palmer, and for the more spontaneous and fruity Alter Ego. Both wines feature a smooth, delicate structure, which is emblematic of the estate.

The wines are blended for the second time before bottling, i.e. after 20 to 22 months of barrel ageing. The aim is to produce homogeneous wines, that will then be put in vats again.

The team finished blending the 2017 vintage over the last few weeks, thus concluding the winemaking process. 

Like a score, the notes combine in harmony to create a beautiful piece of music. Composing has now come to an end, leaving room for endless interpretations when these bottles will be shared and enjoyed.

Floral interlude
The time has come again for a floral interlude in the vines at Château Palmer. As the flower buds disappear...

June 2019 – The time has come again for a floral interlude in the vines at Château Palmer. As the flower buds disappear, grape blossoms are discretely revealing themselves throughout the vine rows. Their perfume wafts through the air almost imperceptibly, so subtle and delicate are the aromas.

Though the flowering period is generally brief, spanning between 8 and 10 days, it is one of the most important stages in a vine’s life cycle. As hermaphroditic plants, simultaneously possessing both male and female reproductive organs, vine flowers pollinate each other: sometimes within the same flower, often between flowers of the same bunch, sometimes between bunches on the same vine, and sometimes even between neighbouring vines, with help from various species of insects and birds.

While carrying out the work of desuckering the vines, the vignerons and vigneronnes of Château Palmer become spectators of this natural evolution. Perfect weather conditions are necessary at the moment of flowering: sunny, dry and hot, between 18 and 25 ºC. Only then do the flowerhoods delicately open to reveal the pistils and stamens. Afterwards, the flowers will gradually disappear, giving birth to a multitude of tiny berries. However, should weather conditions be changing and less favourable, they can bring about flower abortion or couluring, causing an imperfect pollination of certain flowers.

The quality of flowering will be a first indication of the potential size of the coming harvest. Of course, this estimation isn’t set in stone, for the growth cycle of the vines continues. But today, this floral expression comes as a great bouquet of hope for Château Palmer... even if there’s still a way to go yet before the 2019 vintage is harvested!

2018, the unprecedented vintage
From dread at first, to delight at last!

April 2019 - From dread at first, to delight at last! From December to March, it rained cats and dogs on the Médoc, saturating and chilling the soil. Naturally, the buds were in no hurry to show their faces. Spring arrived, but the rain continued, falling incessantly amidst unseasonably cool temperatures. Despite the considerable care and attention of our teams, it was only a matter of time before mildew moved into the vine rows. The vines’ defences were tested to the extreme. Our vignerons blanketed them with care, tending to each plant with herbal teas and Bordeaux mixture, and thinning their leaves to keep the grapes aerated.
And then a miracle occurred. Summer arrived in all its glory – hot, dry, and restorative. Come the first week of August, the berries began their colour change. All summer long, they bathed in perfect sunlight while enjoying cool nights and not a drop of rain. As the vines concentrated all their energy into the surviving bunches, a glow of rebirth spread through the rows.
What resulted was a level of tannic and aromatic concentration in the grapes that has rarely been seen in the history of the estate. Daily tastings during the vinifications confirmed the incredible potential of the harvest. The extraordinary power of every lot of juice brought us to make an unprecedented decision: they would practically all be incorporated into the final blend of a truly exceptional Château Palmer, and there would be no Alter Ego this year.
In the constellation of the great vintages of Château Palmer, 2018 already shines with singular splendour.

Final months of maturation for the 2017 vintage
The 2017 vintage continues its maturation in barrels in the historic chai des Marronniers barrel cellar.

March 2019 - The 2017 vintage continues its maturation in barrels in the historic chai des Marronniers barrel cellar. One year after the final blending, the wine slowly refines in the darkness of the cellar, and in the precision hands of our technicians. 

During the final months of maturation, the wine requires, among other things, two important procedures: le collage, or fining, and la levée de colle, or post-fining racking

Fining a wine simply entails adding egg white to it. Naturally binding with the fine suspended particles remaining, it gathers them into a heavier mass which will settle to the bottom of the barrel over time. The final, post-fining racking, or levée de colle, will allow us to separate the wine, which will have become clearer and more brilliant, from the lees or the deposit left at the bottom of the barrel.

As at every stage, our taste buds will be our guides. To be able to determine the right level of fining needed by the wine, we carry out tests beforehand, using between 0 and 5 egg whites per barrel. Afterwards, we taste again and retain the level of fining that we’ve determined will sublimate the wine.

Today, the cellar is entirely focused on this final racking operation, the last step before the wine is bottled this summer. To delicately separate the clear wine from its lees, we use the ancestral method of levée de colle à la bougie – by candlelight. The wine flows out of the barrel, illuminated by the glowing flame, and as soon as the slightest haze begins to disturb the radiance highlighted by the candle, we stop. The wine is then clear, with a beautiful, lustrous sheen.


Hear Palmer, 10 vintages of Jazz
This year, Hear Palmer 2018 will mark the event’s 10th edition. Since 2010, wine and jazz go hand in hand at Château Palmer.

This year, Hear Palmer 2018 will mark the event’s 10th edition. Since 2010, wine and jazz go hand in hand at Château Palmer. The wines of the estate are not only tasted but heard, unveiled through the notes of great jazzmen.

Hear Palmer was born of a meeting between Jacky Terrasson, a famous French-American jazz pianist, and Thomas Duroux, managing director of Château Palmer. The idea of collaborating together came naturally for the two men, for a delicious dialogue of complexity and spontaneity exists between Château Palmer and Jazz. At once universal and mysterious, they both flirt between rigour and improvisation. From this blend of passions, wine for the one and jazz for the other, Hear Palmer was created. It took the form of a unique concert, held in the château, and resonating with a particular meaning – an expression in music of the 2009 vintage, the first in a long list of interpretations.

The 2010 vintage would then be interpreted by Yaron Herman and Michel Portal in the chai des Marronniers, the estate’s historic barrel cellar. Next came the 2011 vintage by the trio AIR, composed of Giovanni Mirabassi, Flavio Boltro and Glenn Ferris, once again within the walls of the château. Afterwards came the Lionel Belmondo trio to unveil the 2012 vintage. The 2013 vintage was set to music by the Daniel Humair Quartet, of which the saxophonist is none other than Émile Parisien. A beautiful concert, performed in the vast chai des Jasmins barrel cellar. As for the 2014 vintage, it would mark with an historic date for Château Palmer: that of our 200th anniversary, when we remembered the day two centuries earlier when the Major-General Charles Palmer bought the estate from the widow De Gascq. A watershed moment, celebrated by the Christophe Dal Sasso Big Band. Thomas Enhco and Dan Tepfer would improvise on the 2015 vintage, and Archie Shepp would shake the chai des Jasmins with his Quartet, unveiling the 2016 vintage in the year of his 80th birthday! Finally, the 2017 vintage was expressed in the notes of the Einar Scheving Quartet, an Icelandic group. 

As many interpretations as there are vintages. Revelations in music, of which the next expression will be the 2018 vintage…

This 10th edition of Hear Palmer represents an opportunity to offer a new, original format, of not one, but three concerts. The philosophy of the event remains unaltered: an artist is invited to express his vision, his understanding and his emotions about the new vintage of Château Palmer – he becomes its patron and its voice.

This year, it’s Émile Parisien who will once again recount, in music, the estate’s new vintage, but this time he’s been given carte blanche to imagine and present a programme of three concerts in three symbolic locations… with the first to be held in the château. A lovely echo of that very first concert given by Jacky Terrasson.

Hear Palmer 2018 :

29th March 2019 at Château Palmer, Duo Metanuits, Émile Parisien & Roberto Negro (private concert) –La révélation

30th March 2019 at Le Rocher de Palmer, at 20:30, Émile Parisien Sfumato & his friends – L’assemblage

31st March 2019 at La Cité du Vin, 18:00, Carte blanche for Émile Parisien – La finale

For more information visit hear-palmer.com/en


Hear Palmer and Qobuz offer some high quality music: from the 5th of April to the 5th of May, the live concerts will be available on free download on: www.qobuz.com/hearpalmer-uk


The Great Garden
What if we took the time to see our surroundings, to look, to understand, to contemplate? Each living thing grows...

December 2018 – What if we took the time to see our surroundings, to look, to understand, to contemplate? Each living thing grows in an environment which corresponds to it, shelters it, nourishes it and makes it grow. One of the fundamental principals of biodynamics is to view each element of life as part of an interconnected whole. These elements form an environment which is plural, virtuous and autonomous. Seen in this light, a grapevine does not exist on its own. Rather, we should consider it as part of an ensemble: the soil, the water, the plants, the animals, the insects… the cosmos.

As one strolls though the vineyards, one the first elements that we notice is the ocean – an ocean not of salt water, but of chlorophyll. The green of vine leaves, slowly changing colours with the seasons and stretching to the horizon, as far as the eye can see. Yet the richness of an environment lies in its complexity. An observation which inspired a desire at Château Palmer to enhance the estate with relief and forms, to strengthen its identity. And so we launched a plantation project of new trees and hedges, including native and heritage varieties. In selecting the plants, we had to take into consideration their effect on both the balance between pests and predators and the structure of the landscape.

Enlisting the aid of an entomologist – a scientist specialised in insects – we undertook a study of the minuscule life inside our vine parcels. The harmony of a vineyard depends on the complex equilibriums that exist between species, notably between pests (harmful to the vines) and predators (which feed on pests). The objective was therefore to plant trees and hedges that would be beneficial to the predators' habitat and their ability to feed and reproduce, and in so doing, protect the grapevines. We then conducted a study with France’s league for the protection of birds (LPO), which provided us precious insights into these animals and their benefits for the vineyard. In fact, bats are also ideal allies, notably against the grape caterpillars that spread the dreaded grey mould. By planting trees in the parcels, such as the fruit trees planted in our Cassena parcels, we provide bats with reference points and shelter, thus allowing them to adopt the vineyard as a hunting ground.

This diversity of flora and fauna nourishes the estate and enriches it. It makes the vineyard environment more balanced and interdependent. Resilient. More than 2500 trees and hedges later, we continue this reorganisation of land and space. This year, around twenty additional trees will be planted in the parcels. The vines are not alone; they communicate, exchange and interact with other species. The vineyard has been reimagined. It is becoming a garden, great and multiform.