Château Palmer derives its English name from Charles Palmer (1777-1851), a former Mayor of the spa town of Bath and Member of Parliament, who rose to the rank of General during the Napoleonic period. A gentleman, officer, and aide-de-camp of the Prince of Wales, Charles Palmer apparently fell under the spell of Bordeaux as well as the charms of a beautiful widow, Marie de Gascq, who convinced him to buy her Château de Gascq estate. From 1816 to 1831, Palmer bought additional land and buildings in the communes of Cantenac, Issan, and Margaux, and by 1830 the property covered 163 hectares, including 82 hectares of vines. Ultimately, the good life did him in financially, and he was forced to sell his magnificent Médoc estate. Purchased in 1853, brothers Isaac and Emile Péreire and their descendents had the château built in 1856, and thereafter battled oidium and phylloxera, survived the Franco-Prussian war, and made it through the First World War, only to succumb to the economic crisis of the 1930s which forced them in turn to also sell the estate. Château Palmer was purchased by several families of Bordeaux, English, and Dutch extraction (the Sichel, Mähler-Besse, Ginestet, and Miailhe families) in 1938, and continues to be owned by its descendants.
Château Palmer’s terroir dates from the Quaternary period, when gravel slowly accumulated on the Left Bank of the Gironde, pushed by the Dordogne and carried along by the Garonne. The two rivers meet a few kilometers downstream from Ch. Palmer to form the Gironde estuary. Among their current 52 hectares of vines, Ch. Palmer has a large percentage of Merlot, almost the same amount of Cabernet Sauvignon, and a small percentage of Petit Verdot. Here in Margaux, the vines are planted on gravely rises several meters thick, consisting of brittle black lydite, white and yellow quartz, quartzite mottled with black, green or blue, and white chalcedony. In an effort to help the vine roots sink deep into the gravelly soil, they till the soil regularly. They also maintain a very high vine density – 10,000 vines per hectare – in order to increase competition between the vines and encourage this deep rooting.
Join us as we talk with Thomas Duroux, CEO of Château Palmer since July 2004, about Ch. Palmer’s fascinating history, along with its vineyards and wines.
For more info on Château Palmer: www.chateaupalmer.com
Sponsor- Millesima, Fine Wine Merchant: www.millesima-usa.com
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