Headlines

Palmer & you

HEADLINES

NEWS

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.

19.04.2018
Sèves Brutes: Raw Saps by Nathalie Rodach
How can we reveal all of life’s movements, of which the human eye captures but a fraction?

April 2018 - How can we reveal all of life’s movements, of which the human eye captures but a fraction?
 
With Sèves Brutes: Raw Saps, the visual artist Nathalie Rodach has traced an itinerary through three familiar Bordeaux sites to explore this monumental question. In so doing, she has charted a map of a universe hitherto invisible to us, presented in three parts: the future, the present, and the past.
 
The future at Château Palmer.
Nathalie Rodach allows us to see the invisible, the lifeblood flowing within. She explores the living by seeking inspiration in the notion of raw sap, this sap composed of water and mineral salts which flows up from the roots to nourish the plant and stimulate its growth. To comprehend this process, Nathalie Rodach roamed throughout the vineyards of Château Palmer, to better discern the secrets of the soil. Last February, the artist laid down a kilometre of natural red pigment between the vines, leading finally to the estate’s winery – a nervous system of vine sap laid bare, yet only visible in its entirety from the sky. As Nathalie Rodach shows, sometimes the closer we are, the less we perceive. The installation at Château Palmer has since been swept away by the elements. But the videos of its creation, accompanied by a series of drawings, together render the contours of an elusive future. They are exhibited at Bordeaux’s Arrêt sur l’Image Galerie.
 
The present is also on display at Arrêt sur l’Image Galerie, in the form of an immense drawing which weaves together the stark white of absence and the sanguine red of life. Each one of the 180 sheets which compose it are snapshots, moments of suspended present, like so many traces to confirm an existence. The beating pulse of the living punctuates all the works that Nathalie Rodach creates. Each line she traces is somehow animated, like threads of life.
 
The past is made visible at a second Bordeaux exhibition centre: MADD-Bordeaux, the Museum of Decorative Arts & Design of Bordeaux. In the museum’s courtyard, Nathalie Rodach has unveiled fossils in glass. They carry the traces of a life that vanished long ago, fixed in lava and in memory. From these frozen fragments, traversed by red, black and white, can we reconstruct what was lost?
 
The present and the interpretation of the future can be discovered from May 17th to July 13th 2018 at Arrêt sur l’Image Galerie (for details, visit www.arretsurlimage.com). The past can be explored from May 17th to September 17th 2018 at MADD-Bordeaux, the Museum of Decorative Arts & Design of Bordeaux (for details, visit www.madd-bordeaux.fr).

Discover
12.04.2018
Mémoire de l’éphémère by Ernest Pignon-Ernest
A portrait of Pier Paolo Pasolini carrying his own lifeless body, pasted on walls in Ostia, Rome and Naples, the very cities.

April 2018 - A portrait of Pier Paolo Pasolini carrying his own lifeless body, pasted on walls in Ostia, Rome and Naples, the very cities where the writer and film director lived and died... Pasted along the docks in Brest, the image of a man being slammed to the wall by two others, held aloft by his arms as he is crucified – an homage to Jean Genet and his 1947 novel Querelle de Brest …

A pioneering artist, Ernest Pignon-Ernest’s works have often emerged out of literature, drawn not to be hung in museums, but to be installed in places where they will resonate with meaning. Known as a man of social commitment and modesty, the artist offers a historical and political vision of places, transforming the space where he intervenes into a veritable work of art, thus surprising passers-by an alternative reading of a quartier, a street, or an address. The works of Ernest Pignon-Ernest engage us. They are born, live and die in rhythm with the city, revealing a sacred dimension to the urban environment.
“My works arise from both a physical approach to a place a more symbolic approach to its history,” the artist explains.
“The place becomes the subject.”

The ephemeral nature of each work, its death all but preordained, is intended by Ernest Pignon-Ernest: “Fragility is one of the key elements of my work.”

Yet a singularity of the artist was the decision early in his career to photograph his works in situ, thus preserving a lasting trace of his passage. In partnership with Galerie Lelong & Co., an exhibition of 29 photographs by Ernest Pignon-Ernest at Château Palmer presents the works of this visionary artist. From Rome to Uzeste, from Naples to Paris and Brest, his oeuvre is one of imagery as wordplay, metaphors on presence and absence, the said and unsaid, poetry and political engagement, memories and the ephemeral…

The exhibition Mémoire de l’éphémère may be seen during estate visits to Château Palmer, from 5th May to 31st August 2018. To reserve, address a request by e-mail to chateau-palmer@chateau-palmer.com.
 

Picture: Rimbaud, Paris 1978

Discover
10.04.2018
Under the River’s Sway
In the Médoc, it’s often said that “the great terroirs overlook the water”.

April 2018 - In the Médoc, it’s often said that “the great terroirs overlook the water”. Last vintage, it saved them, thanks to the shielding powers of the Gironde estuary, meeting place of the Garonne and the Dordogne.

With a significant lack of rainfall and a particularly mild February and March, we’d expected the vines to awaken early from their winter dormancy. Sure enough, starting late March and into the first half of April, the buds began opening amidst optimal growing conditions. Then, during the nights of 27th and 28th April, the Bordeaux region was unfortunately struck by a particularly brutal wave of frost. Thankfully, the river, acting as a veritable thermal buffer, would protect the majority of Château Palmer’s vineyards, being situated on the first gravel rises along the shore. Only a few plots inland to the west would suffer from freezing temperatures.

Finally, late May brought the fine weather which would provide ideal conditions for flowering, and the promise of an excellent harvest. The spring remained quite dry until the month of June. As summer began, it brought several rainy periods which helped us traverse the season in confidence, but would slightly prolong the vegetative growth of the vines. The berries’ colour change would take place on schedule in mid-August. The rains of September then speeded the maturation of the skins. And so, harvest arrived early, with the vendange launching officially on 20th September. First picked were the most beautiful plots of Merlot, soon followed by the Cabernet Sauvignon and the Petit Verdot. By 29th September, the harvest was over.

From the moment vinification began, it became apparent that the conditions of the vintage, coupled by the respectful vineyard management methods we’d used to safeguard the terroir, would allow us to enjoy a great clarity of expression from our plots. For the very first time, the final blends of both wines were almost finished before the beginning of the malolactic fermentation.

Today, the 2017 vintage at Château Palmer is precise, without excess. The wines exhibit the elegant balance of our most classic vintages. Their velvety tannins and aromatic depth are promises of splendid ageing potential.

Discover
10.04.2018
Hear Palmer 2017 by the Einar Scheving Quartet 
March 30th 2018. It’s 8 p.m., and the estate is bathed in darkness, seemingly dormant.

30th March 2018. It’s 8 p.m., and the estate is bathed in darkness, seemingly dormant. And yet, there’s light coming from the barrel cellar, and a festive, musical ambiance is in the air. The 9th edition of Hear Palmer is about to begin…

As the artists arrive, a round of fervent applause from the audience shakes the gravel in the nearest parcels. The jazzmen who form the Einar Scheving Quartet prepare to celebrate the 2017 vintage. For the next hour and a half, the audience is transported by their music, as they embark on a stroll between Iceland and Château Palmer. A seductive alchemy takes hold, between the freshness of the Icelandic melodies, the fragrance of the oak barrels, and the aromas of the nascent vintage.

As the concert comes to an end, silence returns to the “Jasmins” barrel cellar. With depth and delicacy, the musicians delivered an inspired interpretation of our two wines, Alter Ego and Château Palmer. Having first been heard, the wines are now ready to be tasted. And so begins en primeur week...
 
This 9th edition of Hear Palmer by the Einar Scheving Quartet has been broadcast on TSF Jazz radio in France on 6th April at 8:30 p.m., and on will be also on RÚV Radio in Iceland on 10th May at 16:05 p.m.

The entire concert can also be listened to now on the website www.hear-palmer.com.

 

Discover
22.03.2018
The first notes of the 2017 vintage
Five months have passed since the 2017 vintage was harvested.

March 2018 – Five months have passed since the 2017 vintage was harvested. In barrel since the beginning of November, the wines have begun their maturation in the estate’s historic barrel cellar, le chai des Marronniers. Over the course of these first months in barrel, the different lots are tasted regularly to better understand the vintage, and to determine which will compose the blends of Château Palmer or Alter Ego.  

Each parcel is unique. Through them, the terroir offers a multitude of expressions. Which is why blending constitutes such a complex undertaking, where we must draw on both analysis and intuition, in a balancing act between rigour and emotion. Five to ten tasting sessions are generally necessary to compose the final blends of our two wines, and thus give expression to every nuance of our estate’s terroir.

Yet this year, certain lots were already fully expressing themselves by the end of vinification, allowing us to appreciate their personality, character, and generosity in remarkable detail, and thus to divine their future – to compose Alter Ego for some, and Château Palmer for others. We were therefore able to immediately pre-blend these lots ahead of their maturation in barrel. Meanwhile, other more reserved, more mysterious lots would demand time, patience, and several tasting sessions before allowing themselves to be defined and appreciated. Only then does the alchemy begin, for it’s this moment of clarity which determines the composition of our two wines.

Having since been validated by the technical team, the final blends of Château Palmer and Alter Ego have now been realised, and are ready to continue their barrel ageing until bottling time in the summer of 2019.

In a few weeks, Château Palmer and Alter Ego 2017 will be presented for tasting during en primeur week, which gathers wine professionals from the four corners of the world. But like every year since 2009, the vintage will be heard as well as tasted at Château Palmer… Listen to Hear Palmer 2017 by Einar Scheving Quartet on the website hear-palmer.com

Discover
22.01.2018
Shear Precision – Pruning
It’s middle of winter, yet there are vignerons and vigneronnes out roaming the frigid vineyards. Step by step...

January 2018 – It’s middle of winter, yet there are vignerons and vigneronnes out roaming the frigid vineyards. Step by step, they pause at each vine to perform what is one of the most delicate tasks in the vineyard, one which will directly influence the next harvest – pruning.

The grapevine is a climbing plant which, much like a bonsai, must constantly be contained. A task of precision and of architecture, wherein every stroke of the pruning shears must land just so if the following year’s production and the vines’ longevity into another century are to be ensured.  

This year, pruning at Château Palmer began on November 30th 2017. The final days of autumn brought heavy rains, making for especially arduous work. The most vigorous Merlot vines are always pruned first, as the grape variety is quite resistant to wood diseases. Then come the Merlot requiring special care, followed at last by the youngest vines. This prioritization pays dividends later, as it helps to harmonise the bud break periods of the vine shoots. The Cabernet Sauvignon vines, more sensitive by comparison, will only be pruned later, at the end of winter.

All the vines, however, are pruned according to the same double Guyot method, in which a vine trunk’s two arms are each left with one long, mature vine shoot called an aste or fruiting cane, and sometimes a cot de retour or renewal spur (a short shoot to be trained as a new fruiting cane in the following season). The method reduces the quantity of grapes on each vine while favouring their quality. An additional pruning method, the Poussard method, is also used to ensure sap flow continues unimpeded over time. When work is done, the vine shoots are collected and shredded for use in producing compost. In this way, the cuttings will nourish the same vines from which they came.

Pruning is a painstaking job, to which the vignerons and vigneronnes must dedicate themselves throughout the winter. But thanks to them, the creation of the next vintage has already begun.

 

Discover
12.01.2018
Jeux d’écriture by Bernard Plossu
A new year of exhibitions begins at Château Palmer with the photographer Bernard Plossu...

January 2018 – A new year of exhibitions begins at Château Palmer with the photographer Bernard Plossu, who from January 13th to April 27th 2018 will present his series Jeux d’écriture ~ Wordplay, organized in partnership with Bordeaux’s Arrêt sur l'Image Galerie.
 
Jeux d’écriture is a series of 37 photographs by Bernard Plossu, accompanied by texts drawn from his published works*, which convey expressions of our modern times. Images captured in a moment’s luck and by a talent refined over time, with poetry, humour, and always by the same techniques: the photographer has remained ever loyal to his 50-mm lens, his analogue film and the black & white image.

Born in 1945 in South Vietnam, Bernard Plossu is a man of letters. Since the second half of the 20th century, his photographs have captured the words of our daily lives around the globe, like visual haikus. “Guns” on an Arizona shopfront, “À l’avenir” on a building in France, “Diablos en el cielo” on a wall poster in Mexico… all these messages and symbols that shape the modern landscapes around us, the photographer frames them in his images, presenting them in a new light, to render compositions both poetic and illuminating.

The exhibition Jeux d’écriture may be seen during estate visits to Château Palmer, from January 13th to April 27th 2018. To reserve, address a request by e-mail to chateau-palmer@chateau-palmer.com.
 
* “Les mots de l’image”, by Jean-Louis Fabiani and Bernard Plossu, Yellow Now
“L’hippocampe et le rétroviseur”, by François Carrassan and Bernard Plossu, Les Cahiers de l’Égaré

 

Discover
05.12.2017
Winter Recipe
Winter. There’s a thin layer of frost this morning, covering the gardens, the houses. The landscape is captivating.

December  2017 – Winter. There’s a thin layer of frost this morning, covering the gardens, the houses. The landscape is captivating. Immaculate. Winter has conquered every nook and cranny. The air is bracing.
 
Walking through the park surrounding the château, we suddenly notice a faint aroma, which titillates the senses and warms the heart. An olfactory awakening. Seiji Nagayama, the chef of Château Palmer, is busy in the kitchen. He’s peeling, cutting, cooking, seasoning… On the menu today is tourte de pigeon – a pigeon pie with ceps and smoked bacon, served with a parsnip purée. A truly festive meal, which Seiji invites us to prepare with him.
 
Tourte de pigeon – Pigeon Pie (for 4 people):
 
- 4 whole pigeons
- 1 egg
- 50g of smoked bacon
- 100g of ceps
- 1 puff pastry
 
Parsnip purée:
- 2 parsnips
- 25g of hazelnut butter
- 50g of semi-skimmed milk
- salt, pepper
 
Remove the pigeon breasts, take off the skin and season to taste.
Sear the four pigeon breasts then place them in the refrigerator. Once cooled, pass the meat through a grinder with the bacon.
Dice the ceps and fry them. Place them in the refrigerator. Retrieve the ground meat, add ½ of a beaten egg and stir until well mixed. Add the ceps.
Wrap the mixture in the puff pastry and brush it with the other half of the beaten egg so that it will turn a golden brown in the oven. Bake the pie in the oven at 200ºC for 15-20 minutes.
Peel the parsnips and cut them into small pieces. In a saucepan, moisten the parsnips with water and a pinch of salt. Simmer. Add the hazelnut butter and the milk. Once cooked, pass the mixture through a strainer.

All that remains now is to invite your guests to table to savour together this succulent, hearty dish, which pairs marvellously with a Château Palmer 2008.  A truly heart-warming holiday meal, to help brave the December chill.

Discover
15.11.2017
A finishing touch
Winter is slowly setting in. The sun’s heat is waning, the leaves dressed in their warm autumn colours have begun to fall.

November 2017 – Winter is slowly setting in. The sun’s heat is waning, the leaves dressed in their warm autumn colours have begun to fall. In the winery, the effervescence of the harvest period has subsided. The malolactic fermentation has finished and the wine in barrels will now begin its maturation.

The 2017 vintage will henceforth lie in the estate’s historic barrel cellar, known as le chai des Marronniers. To walk the corridors formed by the stacked barrels, one may notice how some are marked differently from the others. These are the barrels of press wine.

The press wine is a concentrate of the vintage. It is composed of the wine made by gently pressing the grape pomace. The pomace is made up of the skins and seeds which settle to the bottom of the vats once the “free-run wine”* is drawn off. The richness of the press wine is due to the abundant anthocyanins and tannins present in the pomace. One full winepress will suffice to fill three barrels with this powerful wine. They will then be marked in the following manner: barrel number, vat number. This marking will make it possible to identify the barrels and their contents.
The press wine is aged under the same conditions as the free-run wine. When the malolactic fermentation has finished, the wine in barrels will begin its slumber in the cellar, cooled to 13ºC, the optimum temperature for ageing.

At the end of the month of November, we will begin tasting the press wines. These tastings will allow us to identify the best lots to be added during the final blending of the vintage. A concentrated note. A finishing touch.

*Free-run wine = free run wine is made from the grape juice that is drawn from the vat before the harvest has been pressed in the winepress

 

Discover